September 12, 2019

Spotlight Series: Naomi Davidoff

Get to know Naomi Davidoff, M.A.A.A. 19

  •  Photo: Megan Elyse Lloyd

Our spotlight series highlights a student or graduate of the Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies. We asked these individuals about their careers, hobbies, and what they love about their program.

This week's feature is: 
Naomi Davidoff, M.A.A.A. ’19 
Development Director of Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS) 
Baltimore, Maryland

What is your current job title and workplace?

I wear many hats, but my current job within the field of arts administration is as the development director at the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS). BROS is a passionate community of artists who create unforgettable experiences through live original rock theater.

As the development director, I work with a small team of volunteers to fundraise for the organization's annual fund and capital campaign. I work on grant writing, individual giving, membership, sponsorship, and special events. BROS incorporated as a nonprofit in 2015, and I started working as interim-development director in late 2017. Since we've been a nonprofit organization for a short time, I've been working to create new internal systems that will help the company to sustain and grow.

Do you have any other job titles you would like to mention?

As the project manager at Balti Virtual, I work closely with our production team from start to finish on custom augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) projects. The most common projects we do are for marketing and entertainment applications. We have also done some great work using AR and VR for education and training. My role is to facilitate communications between clients and the production team, manage expectations, gather creative resources, resolve technical issues, and hit deadlines to reach our goals. 

Depending on the time of year, I also teach as an adjunct faculty in the Fiber Department at Maryland Institute College of Art. I worked as a freelance designer for many years and occasionally work backstage for touring Broadway shows.

What do you like most about your program?

The M.A. in Arts Administration Program is great because you learn about a wide range of topics across the field. The classes range from finance to marketing, development, art law, and managing arts organizations, to name a few. All of these topics dovetailed nicely into one another. The common thread throughout is learning how to effectively provide meaningful, accessible arts and culture experiences to the public while improving your skills as a conscientious leader. I appreciated how this program focused on leadership training.

Tell us about your first job in the arts administration field?

My first job working in the arts administration field was at Maryland Art Place (MAP) in Baltimore. I held a dual position as the program manager at MAP and as the registry coordinator for the Maryland State Arts Council.

How do you plan to apply your arts administration degree to your work as a fashion and costume designer?

Eventually, I would like to manage my own costume shop for theater and film. Although the M.A.A.A. degree focuses on nonprofit management, many of the topics in the program can be applied in a for-profit setting and across disciplines. The program has taught me the skills that I've already used in my freelance business. By deepening my knowledge of organizational management, I'm able to work more productively with my collaborators, contractors, clients, and organizations. These individuals include theater directors or production managers, designers, and stitchers that help me sew garments. 

What is the best advice you've ever received?

One of our professors once told us that you don't have to be at the top of the organizational chart to create change. Her advice was to "lead from the middle." I thought that was a brilliant concept—almost like a leadership hack. That little piece of information has inspired me to look at leadership differently. It's not always from the top down, but sometimes from the center up.