Jonathan Slawson (IAC 03) was a voice major at Interlochen Arts Camp. He volunteers as a regional ambassador in New York City and serves on the Engagement Council and Annual Fund Committee.
Briefly describe your current job and career path.
I love helping people align their passion with their philanthropy. I’ve spent the past decade in the arts and culture sector -- Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Blair Academy, etc. I now work with several clients in the US and abroad as a consultant. I partner with organizations and families on a range of projects related to nonprofit fundraising, philanthropy, and board development.
What’s your Interlochen story?
Much of my Interlochen story is a blur, frankly, but my one summer there completely changed the course of my life. It was the first time where I genuinely found my people and purpose. I only wish I had found it sooner.
Hugh Floyd had an enormous impact on me. His choir rehearsals were among my favorite, ever. In hindsight, he was one of the key people that led to my decision to pursue an undergraduate degree in music education from Westminster Choir College.
Most of my favorite Interlochen memories were made outside the classroom: pulling up to the cabin for the first time; meeting a close friend by the lake at sunset every evening; walking by the practice huts; attending recitals and concerts of all kinds. The totality of these experiences made for an unforgettable and life-changing summer.
Why do you give back to Interlochen today?
I owe a debt of gratitude to several key people in my life who saw in me the potential that, at the time, I didn’t see in myself. It is a privilege to give back to Interlochen and help bridge the opportunity gap for others to experience the same.
What would you say to alumni who are thinking about ways to give back?
There are many ways to give back to Interlochen – all of which are equally meaningful. As I look back on my life, I feel compelled to reinvest my energy in people and places that have invested so much in me. For me, that is Interlochen.
Why does art matter in our world today?
More important than art are the citizen artists and leaders that come from Interlochen. Regardless of whether you choose to pursue a lifelong career in the arts, you will be changed for the better and, in many cases, society will reap the benefits.
What advice would you give current or prospective Interlochen students?
Interlochen is a place unlike any other. Enjoy every moment of it. And keep a journal.