UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 15 Winter 21 Library
Olivia Anderson by Leigh Webber
UVA Arts Box Office

UVA Arts Box Office Manager Olivia Anderson Strives to Combine Arts and Education

The recently-hired manager of the UVA Arts Box Office, Olivia Anderson, caught a bug for the arts at a young age. 

“I started playing the flute in third grade,” Anderson said. “My parents made sure to expose me to art, theatre, music, and the arts in general for my whole life, and they encouraged me to be a musician.” She took that encouragement a long way, performing throughout high school and college and majoring in music education at the University of Tennessee, hoping to be a middle or high school Band Director. 

Updated UVA Arts Box Office Logo

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the classroom. Anderson held an apprenticeship with the internationally-renowned Spoleto Festival for three of her college years in Charleston, South Carolina. “The experience at Spoleto helped me open my mind to go beyond teaching band,” she said, “and showed me that maybe I could expose students to art and culture in a different way, and specifically through festivals.” 

The festival experience at Spoleto broadened Anderson’s artistic horizons in a big way. “One of the best things about Spoleto is that it has such a wide range of art available,” she said. “It is most famous for is its opera, which is something that may not feel accessible to everybody. But I like to call it one of those ‘gateway performances.’ I had never seen an opera until I got there, and it really changed my perspective on opera and who it should be catered to, which is everybody.” 

The opportunity at UVA gave Anderson a chance to go back to her original plan of combining the arts and education. “Obviously, UVA is a wonderful, world-renowned institution, and I loved the idea of getting back into the world of education,” she said. 

Anderson said that while that may not be the first place you would think of getting exposure to the vast array of arts experiences, it might be the best. “I really recommend it as a great place to start for anyone looking to gain experience in arts administration. When you stop and think about it, the students who work in our Arts Box Office, our Assistant Manager Kayla Eanes, and I are, in a lot of ways, a public face of UVA Arts. We are the first (and sometimes only) people that patrons interact with outside of attending a performance, and that is something I always stress to our students.” 

UVA Arts Box Office in the Drama Buidling
(Photo: Kayla Eanes)

Jenny Mays, Managing Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Supervisor of the UVA Arts Box Office, a unit newly moved under the Vice Provost for the Arts, says that Anderson has hit the ground running and then some. “We love that Olivia came from an arts festival setting where she dealt with a wide array of programs and performances. She is exceeding expectations in every way, and I could not be more impressed how she is handling a heavy workload and serving all of our different clients with such passion and professionalism. We are truly lucky to have her.”

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As a unit of the Vice Provost for the Arts, the UVA Arts Box Office is the consolidated and centralized box office, supporting the arts departments and programs at the University of Virginia. We service over 250 events each year, and our offices are located on the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds in the lobby of the UVA Drama Building.
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