Andrea Blanken shares her career in the arts and nonprofit development


Students chatted with Andrea Blanken ('02, Culture, Literature & the Arts) about her career in nonprofit development.  Andrea’s passion for the visual arts has translated into 9+ years of development and relationship management experience at a broad range of cultural institutions. These include her current role as Director of New Business Development at ArtsFund, whose mission is to strengthen the community by supporting the arts through leadership, advocacy, and grant making.  She has also contributed her talents to the Pacific Science Center, Seattle Art Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, and Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

Andrea’s time at UW Bothell revealed a deep love for art history.  Encouraged by Professor JoLynn Edwards, she decided to “go where the art is” and moved to New York City to pursue a Master of Arts in Museum Studies at NYU. Over the years, Andrea has sought new challenges and welcomed opportunities.  Responding to the interests and questions of the students, Andrea provided many takeaways, such as:

  • An IAS education is unique in bringing different world together, both across disciplines and through the diversity of students.
  • Volunteering and internships are where it’s at.  Actual experience builds skills and knowledge while helping you determine fit.
  • Maintain your network.  Throughout your career, relationships often play out in unexpected ways that benefit you and others.
  • For those considering nonprofit careers, spend time on the inside through volunteering.  It provides valuable exposure to the sector’s culture and structure.
  • Nonprofit development professionals interface with a variety of stakeholders. Internally, they work across departments, and externally, they work with donors, volunteers, companies, and coalitions.

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