The Grand is an active part of the community in Macon and as a part of Mercer University. We often take on college students as interns and student workers, showing them the ropes at our historic home. Over the summer, we have Leah Duval coming on as a marketing guru intern. Here’s more about Leah:
Hello! My name is Leah Duval. I am currently a senior at Florida State University studying to obtain BA in Music and a BS in African American Studies.
Growing up in Macon, I was immediately engulfed into the arts culture here. As a little girl I took ballet lessons in the heart of downtown, took art classes at many art centers, and eventually, ended up taking voice lessons at Mercer University, where I discovered my love for singing. Performing at the Grand Opera House has always been a big dream of mine. Ever since I was a little girl, I have admired the Grand. It was always a special treat when I got the chance to see the annual Nutcracker of Middle Georgia with my whole family and watch the magic happen on the stage. In 2018, I finally got the chance to perform on the Grand stage. It was such an honor and privilege to be able to perform right where so many icons had performed before me.
When I started studying in college, I realized there was a big disconnect between professional music spaces and opportunities for people of color. The arts can be used for educational enlightenment, mental health coping mechanisms and a form of self-expression – and I want everyone to have access to that. I wanted to find a way to bridge this gap between the arts and people of color and I’ve found that through arts administration. With arts administration, I can help more people of color get into arts programs that will help elevate them all the way through professional music. With this career, I will also be able to decrease the stigma that only certain types of people can be a part of art spaces. With more diversity in the arts world, there will be endless possibilities!
I feel like the Grand is truly at the forefront of this change in the community. They have really transformed the narrative that only certain people are allowed in their space. Working behind the scenes, I have discovered that they have a diverse line-up, special events for all types of people, and making sure the Grand is truly a place for everyone. I am so excited to keep working with the Grand to learn more and also do more for my community!