The importance of the arts

Abigail Manns speaks on ‘Arts in Bloom’


Jose Gamboa, Staff Writer

The following is an interview with the Arts in Bloom director, Abigail Manns. The interview highlights the relevance of Arts in Bloom within the Bloomsburg University community and it shares information about some of the upcoming events. 


Tell us a little about yourself. What is your history with Bloomsburg University?With Performing Arts Facilities? 

I was a student at Bloomsburg University from Fall 2004 to Summer 2008. It was early in my freshman year when I was just bored. One of my friends knew somebody in the Performing Arts Facilities (PAF) and they asked if I wanted to work for them. I began my student employment with PAF in 2004 and worked until I graduated. 


What is your position now? What was your title when Randall Preswood was still here? Are there differences? 

My title is now “Technical Director for PAF”. When Randall Preswood, the now retired “Executive Director for PAF” was here, my title was “Media Technician”. However, I was doing what an “Assistant Technical Director” would do; I would have been Randall’s assistant. I got a little bump in title because I took on some of his duties that were in his position. 


Do you schedule the touring artists for the main Arts in Bloom events? How does the University go about booking each group? 

Dan Knorr is the driver of this whole thing. What he’ll do, in conjunction with me, we sit down and call some agents of what can potentially be in the Bloomsburg area. Then we look at specific dates. Once we pick a date in the area, then we’ll take it to the arts professors and say “we have a couple options here, what events do you think your students can gain academically and technically?”. This is why we always try to invite touring groups that students can learn and gain experience from. We want to tie those disciplines in with their students, instead of just picking random shows. 


What happened to the Celebrity Art Series? 

The Celebrity Artist Series (CAS) was a great program. When the program was active, students were allowed to see professional dance companies to touring acting groups, and everything outside and in between. The University wanted to see how CAS shows benefited students and their academics. The CAS shows did benefit academics but the University wanted a much robust and stronger tie. As a result, we know have Arts in Bloom (AIB). AIB takes the resident producers, such as students and faculty, and directs it to academics. Taking multiple different arts programs at BU: Music, Theatre and Dance, Arts, and the Literary Arts, and putting them under the umbrella to be able to market them to BU and the surrounding areas as a whole. This new rebranded program gives a way to highlight our students in a way that we have not been able to do as easily as before. 


With this new rebranded program how would you describe Arts in Bloom to the common student?[Text Wrapping Break]One of the driving forces behind AIB has been the support from the President’s Office. More specifically, Dan Knorr, who is the “Director for External and Government Relations”. He has spearheaded the whole process of reviewing CAS and gathering a committee to see what is the best and new direction it could take. Dan likes to call AIB “your one-stop shop for all things arts at Bloomsburg University”. 


What can students expect to gain from experiencing Arts in Bloom events? 

There are so many things that students can gain from the arts. They can easily see what their student counterparts are up to in the music, theatre and dance, art and literary arts areas. There is never going to be another time in a normal students life where they are going to have this kind of access to art and culture in such a pinpointed location – and for reasonable prices. Even if you do not think that you will enjoy a show, just give it a chance. And this is very well for the arts students as well. We all do not know what all our arts counterparts are doing. Learning for the sake of learning is only ever beneficial. There is something to learn about the human condition through these events. 


Why should students in the Zeigler College of Business and the College of Science and Technology attend Arts in Bloom events? 

For the Zeigler College of Business, there is something to know about etiquette for seeing a show, If you have to take a potential new client to a theatre and you have never been to a theatre, you do not know what you are doing, you do not seem professional. As far as for the College of Science and Technology, the theatre and music industry are constantly advancing. As soon as you buy a piece of equipment there is already something better, faster, and more advanced out in the market. Learning about the engineering for making a piece of scenery, a piece of lighting equipment, a sound console, all these things are engineered to perfection. 


Which events are you most excited for? 

I get excited for events based on how my work-study group gets to learn from. Seven was super interesting to have because it is a straight play and we do not often do straight plays. I am legitimately excited for Trinity Irish Dance, coming Sunday, March 29th at 7:30 P.M., because of all the moving parts: the musicians, the dancers, the technical parts. I have Music majors (and minors) and Theatre majors working for me. There is a lot to learn from working an event like this. The more they learn from the professional industry will make everything they are learning in the classroom come together. That is why I have been very vocal about the propelment with the former CAS and the now current AIB. In its current state, there is an intense formal education and technical education with this job. 


Oppositely, I also have English majors, Psychology majors, Biology majors, Philosophy majors, and even Business majors working for PAF. They get to see things they never would have seen before. That is why I know that all the students at BU have to give these shows and events in AIB a chance – it will just benefit them. 


What are any of the social media handles for Arts in Bloom so students can stay up-to-date with upcoming events? How is your team able to balance all these events? 

I am the sole person running all the social media accounts. The Facebook is Arts in Bloom of Bloomsburg University (@artsinbloombu). The Instagram is @arts_in_bloombu. And the website is 


Is there anything else you want the students of Bloomsburg University to know about Arts in Bloom? 

AIB is succeeding from the support it is receiving from the President’s Office. They have been very supportive of AIB and what we are trying to accomplish. Especially, Dan Knorr and Denice Wengryn, the “Assistant to the Council of Trustees and Coordinator of Special Events”, and the actual President, Bashar Hanna, have all been very supportive of AIB as well. The Music Faculty, Stephen Clickard, Theatre and Dance faculty, Ethan Krupp, have been instrumental in shaping the direction of AIB, as well as supporting its cause – its purpose.  


The management of AIB is not the labour of one person. This is a labour of my student crew, the box office staff, Dan Knorr and Denise Wengryn, the President’s Office, the President himself, Scott Roper, the Art department, the Music, Theatre and Dance department, the English department, this is such a massive undertaking. Never before has our University done something like this. I am proud to have a fraction of input into Arts in Bloom.