Arts Management Alumni Profile: Scott Walton '81
Contributed by Cory Isler '12, Arts Management Alumni Network
Scott Walton, ’81, was the first arts management graduate at Baldwin Wallace. Beginning his studies at BW as a Vocal Performance major in the Conservatory of Music, he quickly realized that his interests extended beyond the realm of performance. With guidance from faculty members from a variety of departments, Scott created a program that combined his passion for the arts with a desire to lead and grow cultural organizations. This novel interdisciplinary approach made Scott a forerunner of what would soon become the S/D/A Management program, laying the groundwork for many other students.
Scott’s curriculum in music, theater and management provided him with a solid foundation that launched him into a hugely successful career. The Walton Group, his New York-based PR and Marketing firm, has provided services to an impressive line-up of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Chicago, Cabaret and Death of a Salesman, as well as organizations including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Roundabout Theater Company, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the League of American Theaters and Producers.
Now based in San Francisco, Scott is currently consulting with the San Francisco Art Institute and PBS. Before working with these two organizations, he also held positions with KQED, San Francisco’s well-respected public media organization, and the American Conservatory Theater. Scott has been very active in charitable causes throughout his career, volunteering his time and talents to organizations such as the AIDS Emergency Fund and the New Conservatory Theater Center.
Scott is happy to speak with current Arts Management students to discuss internship possibilities or other career-related questions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 350-5195.
Q: How did you land your job at Boneau/Bryan-Brown, one of the theater world’s best Advertising and PR firms?
A: I was volunteering at an event for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and was checking guests off the guest list as they entered. I had strict instructions not to let anyone into the event whose name was not on the list. A man came up to the door that was not on the list but was adamant that he should be allowed into the party. Of course, I told him “no,” repeatedly, until someone told me that was Chris Boneau, one of the most well-known theater publicists in New York! After we let him into the event, we were able to laugh about the situation. He asked me about my career and what I’d like to do professionally and about a week later, I started as an intern in his office.
Q: With so many clients and projects going on simultaneously, how do you find time in your schedule to do volunteer work?
A: I have too much energy! Actually, I grew up in the 60’s and my parents were all about improving society in nonviolent ways, so it’s always been a part of my life. Finding work that is meaningful and helps the greater good is so important to me. When I left my company in New York and moved to San Francisco, I realized how much I missed mission-based organizations that were really striving for social good.
Q: How have you been adjusting to San Francisco?
A: I really like it out here. Everything feels calmer. In New York, you feel a necessity to own your space – accomplish one thing and immediately move on to the next. But in San Francisco, there isn’t that same feeling. I’ve also been enjoying the weather out here. I like being outdoors so I’ve been bike riding and walking. This year, I participated in the AIDS/LifeCycle event supporting the San Francisco AIDS Foundation where we biked from San Francisco to L.A. – 545 miles in 7 days!
Q: What do you see lacking most from people just starting out on their careers?
A: Grammar and writing. I say this because I’m not the best at it. My courses in college didn’t require me to do a lot of writing, but it’s something that I’ve had to learn over time. If I am looking to hire someone who will write copy for me, I need to know that it will be done correctly.
The other thing people are lacking is experience and a willingness to put yourself out there. We all know how valuable networking is, but you have to force yourself to do it. Opening yourself up to other people and other ways of thinking can be so valuable to formulating your own ideas.
Q: Any last words of encouragement for college students or young professionals?
A: Just keep plowing on! It may seem that life throws you curve balls, but you just have to make your way through them.