“I’ve always loved to draw,” says Jade Henning-Cantrell.

“Since I was a kid, people said, ‘Oh, you’re going to be an artist.’ I thought I needed more structure and to be able to work around other artists.”

She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Visual Arts from Missouri Southern in 2015 and now serves as administrator of the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts in downtown Joplin.

On Saturday, she’ll become the first to complete the new Arts Management and Leadership certificate program.

Launched during the Fall 2020 semester, the unique program focuses on how to run an arts program – whether it be art, music, theater or museums – rather than simply be a part of one. The 18-credit-hour certificate provides students with an understanding of areas such as fundraising, marketing, budgeting and audience development.

Henning-Cantrell says she learned about the new program just days before the Fall 2020 semester began.

“COVID was happening, and it seemed like it was perfect timing,” she says. “I thought I would be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

“The first class I took for it was Principles of Arts Management and Administration, and it really touched on the actual application of running an arts organization or arts nonprofit. I also took Fundamentals of Organizational Management, which has taught me a lot about leadership in general and has been extremely helpful.”

Having completed the program in one year, Henning-Cantrell says she is excited to put what she has learned into practice.

“I want to take on a leadership position in Joplin’s up-and-coming arts district,” she says. “I want to do what I can in this area with what I’ve learned, and what I’ll continue to learn … because learning is never over.”