UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 11 Winter 19 Library
Jack Looney
Hoos for Arts

Hoos for Arts: Sarah Cain (College ‘13)

Tell me about your career since leaving UVA and what you are currently doing…

Until very recently, I’ve spent my career in Charlottesville working for UVA. I was the Operations Manager for the Virginia Film Festival. I also worked on and helped produce events for UVA Arts, including the Bicentennial Launch Celebration, the President’s Speaker Series for the Arts, and the National Geographic On Campus festival. 

I just moved to New Haven, CT to start my MFA in Theater Management at the Yale School of Drama. It's been my dream to pursue a career in theater, and I'm incredibly excited for this big opportunity!

What about your UVA experience and your UVA Arts experience prepared you for what you are doing now?

I was exposed to so many different art forms: from opera to theater to museums to visiting artists doing performances or giving lectures. I didn't have that opportunity growing up in a small rural town. Charlottesville and UVA have a vibrant arts community, and there are a lot of people working in the arts in ways you might not realize. I think the biggest impact was being exposed to the different types of jobs you could have in the arts. It opened me up to the realization that I could pursue a career in arts management.

Were there any particular people or classes at UVA that inspired you or prepared you for what you are now doing?

I took two music classes with Professor Michael Puri while I was a student and he still stands out as my favorite teacher. He always found ways to make the material relevant and interesting (even when it was 18th-century music). He is so kind and cares about his students.

My supervisors and coworkers at the Virginia Film Festival have had a profound impact on me. They helped me build my leadership skills and grow my career as an arts administrator. They supported my decision to go back to school even though it meant leaving the VAFF and have been cheering me on in my journey!

How have you relied on the UVA network of arts professionals and how has that helped you to get where you are?

I have been incredibly lucky to be immersed in the UVA Arts community both as a student and in my career. I’ve been able to learn from and collaborate with the vast network of both local and national professionals on events both on and off Grounds. I worked most closely with the amazing alumni who make up the Virginia Film Festival Advisory Board. There are UVA alumni working in various artistic industries all over the country that you can connect with through Alumni Association or the Virginia Alumni Mentoring program.

Is there any advice you would give a current UVA student looking to have a career in the arts?

It's okay if your career path to the arts isn't linear. Sometimes there are ups and downs, or you even branch off into another career for a while. You can always come back to the arts, and every turn along the way will only help you grow to be a better artist in the end.

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