Review: “Making Art Work,” artistry is entrepreneurship

UMKC professors Andy Heise (left) and Nick Petrella (right)

Soffia Hernandez

UMKC professors Nick Petrella, a man of many words, and Andy Heise, a man of few, have joined efforts in creating “Making Art Work,” a podcast that explores local artistry and business in Kansas City.

A smooth jazz opening signals their clear voices as they introduce their guest for each episode.

One thing both men want to make clear is that the show is for anyone.

“We really want this to be all arts,” Petrella said. “We’re looking at all demographics. We want to be available to people and inspire people who not only grew up in the inner city but what about people who grew up in the mountains of Appalachia where they don’t have art as well? It’s just accessibility.”

Heise specializes in entrepreneurship and arts entrepreneurship in UMKC’S Bloch School of Business. Petrella coordinates the percussion program and teaches arts entrepreneurship alongside Heise. They emphasize that artistry is entrepreneurship, which is the core message of the podcast.

Patrella said “Making Art Work” is “entertainment that educates.” 

“Our first audience that we were thinking of is our students,” Heise said, “We recognize the changing trends of them and how they consume information.”

However, “Making Art Work” is just as much of a resource for Heise and Petrella’s students as it is a means of entertainment and source of inspiration for others. 

In their second episode, they interview Angela Gieras, a woman of many trades who breaks the mold on what an artist can look like. 

Gieras, The Kansas City’s Repertory Theatre’s executive director, talked about the unexpected path she took towards such a prestigious title.

“I grew up without much of an arts background. I did not attend many arts programs as a child,” she said, “My fondest memory is of attending the theater when I was very young, and it remains the best memory I have of childhood.”

Gieras has a degree in finance and minored in theatre, an unlikely combination that proves artistry is a multifaceted endeavor. This is what “Making Art Work” is all about. 

Heise and Petrella are well aware of the stigma that comes with a degree in the arts—the idea that a backup plan is a necessity. They said that most graduating artists will be pursuing careers in entrepreneurship rather than ceramicist jobs.

While the podcast serves as a resource to help others, Petrella and Heise have enjoyed their behind-the-scenes work. 

“My favorite thing is cold calls, hearing people’s passion about, ‘You have to get involved,’” Petrella said. 

“I love to have my preconceived notions proven wrong when I meet a person,” Heise said. “We had Grammy-winning Joseph Gramley come on the show, and it was intimidating until you find out he’s just a person too, trying to make a living like the rest of us.”

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