TROY student wins inaugural Kennedy Center arts leadership award

May 1, 2018

A TROY student who has “worn several different hats” in the theater and graphic design departments has become the first recipient of the John Cauble College of Fellows Award for Arts Leadership from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

The national award recognizes students who demonstrate leadership in the arts.

Veshonte Brown, a junior theater and graphic design double major from Gautier, Mississippi, represented the Southeast during an all-expense paid week in Washington D.C. that was dedicated to art administration.

“It was a surprise because this was the first year they had given the award,” Brown said. “There is no winner in art because art is subjective.

“When they announced the award, I thought me being there was the award.”

Veshonte BrownThe award included $5,000 cash and a one-year paid internship at the theater of her choice, which she said is the Williamstown Festival in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Her journey started at the ASPIRE program in February, where she was selected as the District 4 representative out of 13 other people.

Although there is no art administration major at TROY, Brown said the university has a “really great theater department,” which helped her get to the Kennedy Center.

Brown said the week in D.C. included workshops and afternoons meeting with professionals.

“We had the great opportunity to meet with those professionals and get their stories and their journeys,” she said. “That was really important to me to see how people got to where they were, and I saw that each person had a different path.”

Brown spent the week with eight other representatives from around the country.

“They were all such amazing, amazing people,” she said. “We literally still have a group chat.”

Brown said she aspires to become an artistic director by the time she turns 35.

“I believe that art is important and needed in society,” Brown said. “I am interested in advocacy because I want to change the culture of theater so more people can experience and enjoy it.”