Role: Within the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), we have two performing arts venues – the Center for the Arts on the Fairfax Campus and the Hylton Performing Arts Center on the Science and Technology Campus – that present elaborate, compelling events. I provide ticketing services as well as do community and audience outreach about the upcoming performances. Transitioning to the stay-at-home lifestyle, we are still making the arts accessible by bringing alive the new initiative, Mason Arts at Home. This brings audiences livestreamed performances, releases of previously recorded content, and interactive activities from across the CVPA!
Live and learn: What has been wonderful since starting at Mason is the opportunity to take classes to complete a degree. I had not finished my undergraduate career but was encouraged by my supervisor and colleagues to complete it at Mason. Currently I am enrolled in the Bachelor of Individualized Study (BIS) program, an adult completion degree that allows students who have had different paths in education finish what is rightfully theirs – a bachelor’s diploma and a chance at advancement in our careers. As Mason staff, I encourage all to take advantage of what is offered through the Tuition Waiver Benefit program, an initiative started by the Mason Staff Senate. Much of what I have learned in the classroom has enhanced the skill that I bring to my job at Mason.
Best thing about working at Mason: I have had the pleasure to work with superb colleagues, including my brother, MacKenzie “Mac” Dillon, who works with our Front of House staff at the Center for the Arts. He greets people at the Concert Hall, assists them to their seats, and makes sure people are enjoying their experience with the arts. Mac is also a person with intellectual disabilities, but that is something that has never stopped him from being a warm, active conversationalist. We all talk about how diverse Mason is that we sometimes forget that it leads to diversity in our staff as well. The best thing about working at Mason is that I get to work with my brother and see him smile at every shift.
At the end of the day: CVPA is not just a place to have an education in the arts, but also a place to engage with individuals. It’s amazing to see how creative and adaptive each employee is in their role and how they succeed because of their engagement with the arts. In difficult times of social distancing, I urge staff members to take advantage of the benefit that arts can give you. Some recommendations would be to try classical music or opera, submit a dance on TikTok with your kids, find an image you like and try to trace it, and most importantly, give yourself a moment to engage in the diverse communication medium called art.