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After Benefitting from an Arts Education, Kayla DeSouza Hopes to Spread It to Others

By Jacob Nelson

Kayla DeSouza’s professional path was set in motion when she interned at a public arts performance high school in Chicago.

The program offered free arts education to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get it, and the experience working there inspired DeSouza to pursue a career in arts nonprofit organizations.

“I was fortunate enough to have a really well rounded education,” said the MSLCE student, pointing to her experience in Chicago Children’s Choir, and her time in private school. “Interning there made me want to give back to kids who aren’t as fortunate.”

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate and Chicago native is a big advocate of arts education, which she sees as a way to “broaden students’ horizons.” She thinks its unfortunate that currently many public schools lack arts education, and aspires to bridge this gap.

“Without arts education, you’re missing half of a well rounded scholarship background,” she said.

DeSouza studied jazz as a college student, and still sings and performs, and aspires to continue performing regardless of what her day job ends up being.

One of the aspects of the MSLCE program that appealed to DeSouza when she was looking for a master’s program was the diversity of knowledge she would acquire as a student. She knew she wanted to learn about arts administration, but also knew she wanted more than that. The diversity of the student backgrounds she saw on the MSLCE website indicated she had found the right program.

“The common thing was they had majored in something in the arts and then wanted to work in an arts organization or a company,” DeSouza said, “and I thought, ‘This sounds exactly like me. Not only would I get an arts administration education but I would also learn about the creative industry.”