Not one, not two, but three of our team members have been inducted into the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Foundation’s 30 UNDER 30 Class of 2018.
This recognition is given to 30 promising venue industry professionals ages 30 and younger who have illustrated their commitment to the industry and to furthering the operational and mission-focused goals of the venues they serve.
30 | Under | 30 Interview With:
Shannon Thomas, Events Manager
Meghan Foehl, Engagement Coordinator
Taylor Hight, Senior House ManageR
(Pictured left to right)
What does being an arts professional mean to you?
"Working as an arts professional in the learning and engagement department means that I must continue to champion the value of the arts and arts experiences for all communities. Walton Arts Center’s commitment to providing quality arts education is at the forefront of our work - not just the learning and engagement team, but across every team here. For many students who come through our doors, this is their first and possibly only experience with performing arts. When they step foot into our atrium, their jaws drop and their eyes widen, and that sense of magic continues through the performance and until they finally climb back aboard their bus. My childhood was filled with arts experiences. My parents loved and supported the arts. My school teachers valued arts education opportunities, and my community was filled with venues that showcased theater. I am incredibly honored to be part of a team that works hard to champion arts education experiences in schools and to be part of a venue that is a cornerstone of our community. I hope that for even one child who comes through our doors we can imbue in them a love for the arts and a feeling of connection to Walton Arts Center." -Meghan Foehl, engagement coordinator
What project or success are you most proud of at Walton Arts Center?
My proudest accomplishment is that I had the honor and privilege of reviving weddings at Walton Arts Center (WAC). In 2016, WAC completed a $23 million renovation to the facility, so the last wedding at WAC was in 2012. It now has the perfect settings and spaces to host a ceremony, reception or both! I am passionate about weddings because they are very exciting, stressful, emotional, and memorable days. I thrive in a fast-pace and ever-changing environment. I was asked to take lead on coordinating the weddings that had been booked for 2017 until our new events manager was hired. I jumped at the opportunity! -Taylor Hight, senior house manager
How do you align with Walton Arts Center’s mission?
"Specifically, what I love about my job is the ability to provide the ‘connection’ that is in WAC’s mission of “connecting and engaging people through inspiring arts experiences.” When I bring artists into schools or community groups, I’m able to provide an arts experience outside of the traditional theatre and engage with new audiences who may never have considered Walton Arts Center as something they could be a part of or participate in." -Meghan Foehl, engagement coordinator
What does it mean to you to work at Walton Arts Center?
"It means everything to me! Growing up I would come see shows at WAC with my family. I left for school, gained experience in event management and then came back here after the renovation and there is this deep sense of community growth here. I get excited to share with people about where I work and what I do because I truly feel honored to work at WAC. Walton Arts Center is one of the best entertainment venues in the region and getting to work here with a huge tie to the community is beyond rewarding." -Shannon Thomas, events manager
What do you Appreciate about working here?
"Employee appreciation was clear from day one at WAC. I think that combined with the diversity of our staff with various backgrounds, knowledge and talent is really incredible. People are so creative and passionate about what they do. That’s an every day motivation for me.” -Shannon Thomas, events manager
What does the 30 Under 30 recognition mean to you?
"Being a part of the 30 Under 30 Class this year is such an honor! I am thrilled that I get to represent Walton Arts Center on a national level and am really looking forward to learning more from my fellow classmates and colleagues on how we can continue to make WAC accessible to communities across Northwest Arkansas. " -Meghan Foehl, engagement coordinator
"I have prided myself on being adaptable and being able to take on whatever has been thrown my way. I’m sort of a jack-of-all-trades, and it allows me to learn something new every day. Personally, I was thankful to be nominated. Even if I didn’t receive the award, it meant a lot that I was considered, but actually being recognized has been an honor. There was a group of strangers who saw my potential - maybe more than I do." -Taylor Hight, senior house manager
"To me, this award means that hard work does pay off. I’ve always felt driven to push myself, having grown up in a family that taught the value in it. This honor is mind-blowing to me, and it is is an achievement to know that the work I do and the hours I put in have been recognized at this level." -Shannon Thomas, events manager
Any advice for new employees just getting started in this field?
"Sit in on every meeting you can – across departments, especially. It takes such cohesion to make a performing arts center run smoothly and learning the success and challenges of other departments has helped me to understand how I can better support my team, and also how we, as an organization, can continue to make Walton Arts Center a valuable resource and asset to NWA." -Meghan Foehl, engagement coordinator
"Work hard. Learn something new every day even if it isn’t in your job description. Ask questions - LOTS of questions! Try something new. You work with and around people every day who have experience and are willing to teach." -Taylor Hight, senior house manager
Our Vision at Walton Arts Center
Walton Arts Center is proud to be a leader in arts education in Arkansas and the mid-South. By sharing program formats, ideas and results with other arts and education organizations in the state and nation, we strive to insure that arts participation is valued and supported by communities in and beyond Northwest Arkansas.