Beznoska Bases Career on Belief that People Need Art

by Jennifer Joyner ([email protected]) 165 views 

Relocating from Arkansas to Boston more than two years ago has meant some big changes for former Walton Arts Center communications chief Jodi Beznoska.

She adapted to a much harsher winter climate, and the higher cost of living prompted her to trade a three-bedroom home with a garage in Fayetteville for a two-bedroom apartment in Boston.

At the same time, Beznoska enjoys Boston’s expansive parks system and the fact that she can walk everywhere.

“It has been a huge adjustment, but it is fantastic,” she said.

Beznoska said that, as she gets older, she cares more about her quality of life outside of her career and now devotes more time to travel and visiting family.

“I have a healthy life that I enjoy outside of work,” she said.

Shortly after the move, she took up running, and counts that among her favorite pastimes, along with a continued effort to familiarize herself with the area. 

“Growing up in small-town New Hampshire, Boston is your big city. It’s where you would go to a Red Sox game every three years or so. It’s got the big lights,” she said. “It’s a huge city. There are lots of neighborhoods to explore and lots of art.”

To Beznoska, that last part is key. She believes people need the arts and creativity. That has been the cornerstone of her career in her current position as director of communications and marketing for the nonprofit children’s music company From the Top, and during the eight years she worked at the WAC in Fayetteville.

Having grown up in the Northeast, Beznoska never considered living in Arkansas before she was offered a job at the WAC in 2005.

She had recently graduated with a master’s degree from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin, and a position in communications at such a well-support arts organization appealed to her.

She quickly fell in love with the job and the region and now says the work she did at the WAC is what she is most proud of, so far.

It was during that time that she was featured as one of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 in 2011.

She is especially gratified by her role in creating the WAC’s 10X10 Arts Series, which offers high-quality performances at a low cost.

“I felt really good about that,” she said. “It symbolizes the ability we had as a team to think up new things and build programs that make a real difference.”

Having started at the WAC as a “wide-eyed, young administrator,” Beznoska said, “I always think about how much I learned and got to experience. How much it shapes what I believe in.”

The level of support from the community the WAC receives remains unique, she said. “The cities in Northwest Arkansas are united around growing and becoming a new and exciting place. There’s a real forward momentum. It’s still very exciting to watch.”

Beznoska said the quality of the arts in Northwest Arkansas is high. “I worked for a while with TheatreSquared [in Fayetteville], and it is as good as anything I’ve seen in the city.”

And the first show she attended in Boston was a dance company she had already seen in Arkansas.

As a WAC administrator, she was tasked with presenting a wide range of art and performances. Before that, her experience was in theater, where she was both a performer and backstage worker at different times.

However, at From the Top, she has immersed herself into the world of classical music.

The organization promotes and celebrates classically trained musicians, ages 8 to 18, by giving them platforms on which to perform.

Most notably, it produces the NPR radio show, “From the Top with Christopher O’Reilly.”

In her current job, Beznoska enjoys her interaction with children, some of whom she says practice up to six hours a day and travel all over the world for competitions. “They are so warm, gracious and inspiring.”

Most of all, Beznoska appreciates the effect the children’s performance can have on an audience.

“Things are pretty tough in our country right now, and there are a lot of people who don’t have a lot of hope, but when they watch a performance and meet the children, they say, ‘Wow, things are not as bad as they seem,’” Beznoska said.

“These kids are representing something that is good, and it’s something we need for the future.”