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Lex Leifheit, press and marketing coordinator for the Center for the Arts, stands inside the Zilka Gallery. Leifheit works to increase media coverage for the CFA.
 
Posted 07.13.05

Press and Marketing Coordinator Promotes Center for the Arts Events

Q: Your position as press and marketing coordinator is fairly new. How long have you been at Wesleyan?

A: I have been here a little over a year, since March 2004. I showed up on a Saturday during one of the CFA’s annual season highlights, DanceMasters Weekend, and immediately started taking photographs. It was a great introduction to the constant activity of the CFA.

Q: What were you doing before you came to Wesleyan?

A: From 2001 to 2004, I was the communications director at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford. I also directed and produced numerous plays and arts events in downtown New London, Connecticut, including the Hygienic Cabaret and a performance art series designed to increase awareness about local issues.

Q: What are your degrees in and from where?

A: I have a BFA from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and a Certificate of Study from the Moscow Art Theater. Right now, I’m taking classes through Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program.

Q: How would you describe your role in the Center for the Arts? In a nutshell, what are your objectives?

A: The CFA is always looking for ways to let more people know about our events. My job is to increase media coverage and make the CFA easily accessible to the communities it serves, within the university and throughout the region.

Q: When you started at the CFA, how were performances advertised, and how has that changed with you being here?

A: One of the most noticeable changes is increased press coverage. There are a lot more photos popping up in regional newspapers and magazines, and the New Haven Advocate recently declared our 2005-06 dance programming the “best and most diverse” in the state. Of course, none of this would be effective if we didn’t actually have great programming by students, faculty and guest artists. I also do a lot of targeted marketing, for example advertising our Outside the Box Theater events in the Hartford Stage programs or sending flyers about our jazz events to jazz festivals in the region. It’s time-consuming but worth it—once people find their way here they tend to come back again and again.

Q: Who generally attends the CFA performances?

A: Plenty of people come to the CFA from well beyond Middletown—we have recently had an increase in attendees from Fairfield County but Hartford and New Haven area residents are also quite familiar with the CFA. It is hard to estimate who comes to our many free events, but for the ticketed series events the breakdown is approximately 54 percent Wesleyan students, 40 percent community members and 6 percent faculty and staff.

Q: What’s your favorite part about working in the CFA?

A: I feel very lucky to work at something I really believe in—helping people discover things about themselves, their community, and other cultures through the arts.

Q: Do you attend many of the CFA events? What have been some of your favorites?

A: I am very excited about our upcoming theater season—The Neo-Futurists, Sarah Jones and the SITI Company—all artists I would drive an hour to see without thinking twice. One of my favorite performances last year was Music Professor Alvin Lucier’s I am sitting in a room. He performed in the midst of a Sol Lewitt installation in Zilkha Gallery. It was very magical to hear that historic work with people filling every corner of the space.

Q: What are other hobbies or interests of yours?

A: Last month, I moved into the North End Artist Cooperative on Main Street, so my main “hobby” has been getting to know my new neighbors! I also enjoy swimming at Miller’s Pond and have, surprisingly, run into some Wesleyan folks there.

Q: Does your family live around here too?

A: My family moves around a lot. Currently they are in Kansas. Here, it’s just me and my cat, Stella.
By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor