Rosa Raarup is steeped in the arts. She is the daughter of two professional arts educators and small business owners. She attended the Perpich Center for the Arts, where she met her future husband, who is also in the arts.
She studied theater arts as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, with a focus on applied drama and social change, and is now an Arts and Cultural Leadership graduate student with a museum studies focus.
Raarup’s immersion in the arts and cultural world touches every part of her life. Initially hired as a lead associate in Visitor Services at the Walker Art Center, she was recently asked to join the department full-time as the Performing Arts Specialist. She also serves as an intern at the Weisman Art Museum.
“The nice thing about the ACL program,” Raarup says, “is that it’s geared toward people working full-time, so you can take the next step in your career. Many of the classes are in the evening, so it’s very accommodating.”
At the Walker, Raarup does the event managing for all the performing arts events, along with other duties supporting the Performing Arts Department. The Walker is the first museum Raarup has worked at. “It’s great to see how everything works,” she says. “It’s really interesting to be in the classroom studying this at the same time.”
Raarup already has impressive experience teaching and fostering engagement. She has worked at SteppingStone Theater, the Children’s Theater Company, Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater, and the U of M Landscape Arboretum, where she taught science skills to elementary students through their Children’s Garden in Residence Program.
“The nice thing about the ACL program is that it’s geared toward people working full-time, so you can take the next step in your career."
While she loves to work with children and interact with communities, Raarup felt that her career had stalled. The ACL program “sounded like a perfect option” for her to advance her leadership skills and develop her education beyond the performing arts. She met with an adviser and “fell in love with the program.”
Soon after being admitted, she landed the lead associate job at the Walker. “I was looking to open up new doors, which this program definitely has. You are surrounded by so many great thinkers here.”
Raarup should consider herself among that group. She recently sat on a panel at the Women in Public Service Conference. She and her classmate, Lauren White, discussed self-care in nonprofit organizations. “I’m really passionate about it,” Raarup says. “Self-care can be performed at any level; anyone can practice these skills and learn more if they want.”
“Both of my museum classes offered great connections to people. We meet with them, then see them out in the community and can talk to them. The class takes field trips to places like the American Swedish Institute, the Bakken, the Bell Museum, and others, to learn what organizations are doing and to make connections.
“The class Creative Leadership in Practice with Gwen Freedman talks about different leadership styles and how to be the best leader possible. People from the community come in, and we have great discussions. This is why I wanted to do this degree, to become a better leader.”
Pro Tip for Students
Raarup wishes she had a slightly better grasp of what she wanted to do early on in the program. She felt her projects could have been more focused. “Think about what you want to do,” she advises. “Have a clear path if you can.”
Rosa Raarup is a recipient of the Ceil T. Victor Scholarship.