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Indiana University

Abby Henkel (MAAA '11)

The Art of Service
MA Arts Administration


Lifelong Hoosier Abby Henkel is convinced that artistic expression can change the world. A gay student and gay rights advocate, Abby is involved with the Bloomington PRIDE Film Festival, and she works as a graduate assistant at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, an art nouveau-style facility in Bloomington. “Widespread access to and appreciation for the arts is paramount to me, as I’ve come to see through arts jobs that let me work with underserved and disadvantaged populations,” Abby said. “I believe in the power of arts to strengthen communities.”

Abby studied music her whole life, and for a while, she aspired to teach and perform. But her interests broadened, and she developed other passions. “I began to recognize the role that public service was playing in my life,” Abby said, “and at some point I knew I couldn’t avoid that calling any longer.” The Indianapolis native enrolled in SPEA’s Master of Arts in Arts Administration program, with the ultimate goal of influencing national arts policy in Washington, D.C.

Abby has long aspired to live in Bloomington and attend IU, and the choice to further her education here was a no-brainer: “I’ve always known that going to SPEA at IU would give me the chance to study with phenomenal professors and students, surround myself with amazing musicians and creative minds, and enjoy the thriving arts scene that permeates the whole town,” she said.