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Working in the Arts

A career in the arts seems out of reach for many students after hearing so often about “starving artists”.  It is only natural that many talented students would gravitate towards more seemingly stable career paths.  The Scoop recently chatted with a couple of local folks who are having successful careers at  Springfield Little Theatre.  We talked about their current positions, the paths they took and how young artists can achieve their dreams.

Lexy Saner. (Photo courtesy of Springfield Little Theatre.)

Lexy Saner is a professor at Drury University as well as the Marketing Director for Springfield Little Theatre.  When asked about her role in the art world, she described it saying, “My role is to promote and support passion.”

Saner oversees production and distribution of the theatre’s marketing materials.  She is also responsible for interacting with media and the community in order to spread awareness of what the theatre has to offer.

A Drury University alum, Saner graduated with a major in theatre as well as arts administration.  This allowed her to gain knowledge on the business side of art, while fostering her passion for theatre.

“My current job is not where I planned to end up, but it was no accident.  Despite learning a lot of lessons along the way, I wouldn’t do anything differently,” she explained.

Springfield Little Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz. (Photo by Gerry Averett Photography and Digital Imaging.)

Jessica Bower works with Saner at the Springfield Little Theatre but took a different path.  She graduated with a degree in acting from Webster Conservatory of Fine Arts located in St. Louis, Missouri and works as an Education Specialist.  She directs acting classes for middle school, high school, and college level students and works closely with students individually prepping them for college auditions.  In addition to this, she also directs shows at Springfield Little Theater and works regionally as an actress in her spare time.

Bower also did not anticipate working for the Little Theatre, but calls it her home.  She explains that a path in the arts is never set in stone.

“If you have your mind set on one specific thing, you are setting yourself up for major disappointment,” she says.  “You have to show up, do the work, and trust that whatever investment you are making in creating art and developing strong relationships with those around you in your community will pay off.  It has for me.”

Tulley Beard is a junior at Drury University studying arts administration, design arts and graphic design.  She originally came to Drury undeclared in her major(s), but was lucky to discover the arts administration program through a friend her freshman year.

“I chose arts admin because I love art so much and I have always been involved in different kinds of arts, but I got more fulfillment from helping people create rather than creating art myself,” she explains.

When asked where she thinks she will end up in the art world, Beard did not have an answer.  She is open to options since she’s familiar with many forms of art.  Beard did express concern over the decline of the university’s focus on the arts administration program as a whole.

“Drury has the best intentions, but it feels like arts admin has been pushed to the back burner and forgotten about.  I want more, I want to learn more.”

Though she feels there is more to learn, her passion is strong and she is willing to take anything she can get.

“I do not feel prepared to go out into the world and run an organization yet, but I do have two more semesters.  I hope that by the time I get through those, I will know how to be a professional person.”

The path to success is never easy and there is very often doubt among students who are passionate about the arts.  It can be difficult wanting to work in a field that at times seems to be continuously losing funding.  With the example of those currently in the art realm (specifically at Springfield Little Theatre), there is hope for the art leaders of the future.

Lexy Saner says it best, “I love where I’m at right now and the path that brought me here was worth it.  It’s almost a trophy. People will tell you that you can’t achieve and they will stand in your way.  It is up to you to choose to be capable.  The world opens to passion.  Pursue it.”


Story by Morgan Prosser

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