I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.
There were some future nurses and entrepreneurs in the classroom, as well as some educators and police officers.
We also talked about how a career in the arts is not a far-fetched idea for any student, including those with growing skills as welders and carpenters. Think of all the scenery that is built for theater and opera performances.
This discussion inspired me to reach out to someone who was raised in the area that went on to a successful career in the arts.
Incidentally, this person is a twin; her sister also works in the arts locally.
Amanda Rodd and her family moved to Cooperstown when she was 12. She graduated from Cooperstown High School and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in costume design from the State University College at Purchase.
She has served as the costume craftsperson at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City since 2009, working on creating accessories for the stage such as helmets, armor, jewelry, wings, etc. Before that, she worked as a milliner making hats, mostly on Broadway. She also worked on Radio City Christmas Spectacular refurbishing costumes. Before that, Amanda was designing and making lamps. I asked Amanda a few questions about her experiences in the area that led to her current career.
How were you involved in the arts during your youth in Cooperstown?
I was in band and jazz band in middle and high school. I also took a few sculpture classes at a gallery in town. When I was 15, I got a job at Glimmerglass Opera as the props runner. I worked at Glimmerglass every summer after that until I was out of college.
What was the most influential arts-related activity you participated in during your youth?
Definitely my summers as an intern at Glimmerglass. It opened my eyes to a new world of interesting people. At 15, I was by far the youngest intern when I started there. I couldn’t believe that this was something you could do as a career.
When did you decide you wanted a career in the arts?
I don’t remember ever considering a career in anything else. When I was in high school I narrowed down my three options for what to study in college to pottery, music and costume design. In the end, I felt the most connected to the theater.
What are you working on now, and what is your next project?
I am currently on maternity leave until mid-December from the Met, so I am working on taking care of my newborn. When I return to the Met we will be in dress rehearsal for “Die Fledermaus,” which opens on New Year’s Eve. I made some jewelry and a large clock element that is worn by a dancer for this show.
What is your ultimate career goal?
Most days I feel like I’ve already reached my career goal as a craftsperson at the Met. I could see myself eventually working in film or television.
Where do you currently call home?
New York City (Upper West Side).
How often do you get back to Cooperstown?
Usually twice a year.
What are your favorite things to do when you visit?
I like to spend as much time by the lake as possible and go to the opera.
Brittany Lesavoy is director of public relations for The Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown. Column ideas may be sent to email@example.com. ‘Around The Arts’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/aroundthearts.