Arts & Culture Patron: Malia Rivera

Malia Rivera is a native of Berea, Ohio and acts as the Affiliate Fund Event and Volunteer Coordinator at Akron Community Foundation. Malia has a background in the performing arts and holds an undergraduate degree in Clarinet Performance from The University of Akron. Malia has worked for institutions such as The Cleveland Orchestra, Greater Akron Musical Association, Tuesday Musical, and Children’s Concert Society. She is currently pursuing her Graduate Degree in Arts Administration from The University of Akron and is serving on Ideastream Public Media’s Community Advisory Board. Malia is passionate about helping to invest back into the Greater Akron Region and enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her dogs, Wolfgang and Lydia.

Have you ever volunteered or contributed to local arts and cultural organizations in Summit County? If yes, how?

Working with The Akron Symphony was where I got my start with local arts organizations in Summit County. I had the pleasure of working alongside Orzella Matherson, the Director of Education and Outreach, to help facilitate educational programming such as the Akron Symphony Youth Orchestra Program, The North High School Project- where ASO musicians lead sectionals for high school students, and volunteering at the I Promise Concert– where the I Promise students had the opportunity to learn about and demo various musical instruments and attend an Akron Symphony Orchestra Concert. I have also had the opportunity to work with Tuesday Musical as an assistant to help behind the scenes with their annual Scholarship Competitions Final Round/Winners Concert and perform alongside my former professors at The University of Akron, Stanislav Golovin, and James Wilding, at the Members Program. Furthermore, during my master’s degree, I interned with the Children’s Concert Society, whose mission is to to educate and enrich the lives of school-age children in the Greater Akron community by providing access to live, high-quality performing arts experiences.

How do you think exposure to arts and culture at a young age can shape a person’s development and worldview?

Exposure to arts and culture at a young age can have a profound impact on a person’s development and outlook of the world. I have had many teachers in the performing arts that have positively impacted me and have acted as mentors to help me grow in my confidence as a clarinetist and as an individual. The arts have a way to transport you from your daily life to see the world from others’ point of view. Oftentimes, music or a piece of art can communicate more clearly than words can convey. That’s the beauty of having the arts accessible; that one could gain perspective of history, life events, and culture without having to physically be in the time period or place depicted.

Furthermore, participating in the arts is a great way to build connections with fellow musicians and learn valuable skills such as time management, discipline, resilience, and teamwork to obtain a greater goal.