The Night of the Artist’s Open Mic

How Micaela Taylor turned pandemic stillness into a creative explosion at the Wallis Annenberg Center

I first had the pleasure of encountering Micaela Taylor at a Wallis Annenberg Center event last year.

The evening, which was held in partnership with Google, was part lecture, part performance piece and part open mic for artists and musicians to mingle. In short, it was the night of the artist’s open mic. And it was an evening of deep conversation.

But, most importantly, it was a night that was all about collaboration.

Micaela Taylor is a curator, writer, artist, founder, curator and the artistic director for a new performing arts initiative, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

As a former member of the Annenberg Fellows Program, one of the largest arts programs at the University of Southern California, Taylor has worked for decades to strengthen the University’s relationship with the arts. The program, created in 1967, is the University’s major annual arts programming vehicle for the years before school is in session. In 2015 she was named a 2019 American Academy of Arts and Letters Scholar-in-Residence.

Now in its 11th year, the Annenberg Fellows Program is an essential element of the University’s cultural life. The Fellows Program encourages artists to pursue careers in cultural arts while the School of Performing Arts serves as an incubator for creative innovation and innovation in the visual and performing arts.

The program is unique for the University, where the most ambitious projects are realized by an annual cohort of 20-25 students who work for five years in their creative pursuit at UC.

I’m not sure how to define the program, or even whether it exists. It is simply a place where students go. And what I’ve always considered to be its most defining characteristic is its mission to provide a creative environment for students of all majors to “build and define the future of our communities.”

Which is why, when she invited me to attend the June 9 event, I was

Leave a Comment