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News & Events

Advocating for artists: Meet Olivia Dahlquist

Olivia Dahlquist ‘18 the marketing manager for NINE dot ARTS, an art consulting and creative placemaking firm in Denver, Colorado. In this Q&A conversation, Dahlquist shares what she values most about her job and how her educational experience in the Community & Nonprofit Leadership program (now named Community & Organizational Development) prepared her for a meaningful career.

How do you describe your work role?

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Olivia Dahlquist, Community & Nonprofit Leadership ’18

As the marketing manager, I am responsible for researching and developing internal and external content marketing strategies that align with the company’s vision, business goal, and the ever-changing commercial real estate market. I work cross-functionally with everyone from the executive leadership team to the go-to-market directors and the curatorial department. I lead creative marketing solutions that contribute to the company’s strategic vision of being the nation’s leading art consulting and creative placemaking firm. My role combines content development, brand strategy, and sales enablement to support the firm’s revenue goals, national expansion and growth in our target regions.

How did your undergraduate major prepare you for your current role/career?

NINE dot ARTS performs mission-driven work in a for-profit setting. We aim to leverage art and culture to produce engaging places where people want to be, all while uplifting local, underrepresented and emerging artists. My undergraduate major in Community & Nonprofit Leadership (now named Community & Organizational Development) prepared me for this work by helping me understand how to promote projects and their outcomes—social and economic impacts— in ways that uplift the integrity of artists and ensure they remain at the forefront of our business. Additionally, the major taught me valuable skills in fundraising, marketing and communications, and program and event planning that I leverage often.

What is the most exciting or unexpected aspect of your work?

The most exciting aspect of my role is promoting the work of local, underrepresented and emerging artists—particularly those who may not have a formal arts background or professional training. It is rewarding to see these folks get paid equitably for their work and have it showcased in high-traffic spaces like hotel lobbies or public plazas. Further, it’s been a joy to experience the ripple effects of these installations. From creating career-building opportunities for the artist, to sparking conversation amongst people of different backgrounds, these interactions add up and make a real difference in communities.

What do you find most gratifying about your work?

I get to be around creative people all day! I am consistently in awe of our curatorial team and the many innovative collections they produce that truly transform the way audiences engage with a space. Similarly, I get to witness the exceptional talent of these artists and be part of telling their stories and the positive outcomes associated with their work.

When do you know you’re making a difference? Is there an example you might share?

I know I’m making a difference when my content marketing strategies have garnered the attention of reputable organizations like the Urban Land Institute. My team and I are currently working with their Art in Place Initiative, which aims to amplify community voices and artist perspectives to drive more inclusive and participatory real estate development processes. I’m excited about the research and projects that are coming out of this program, which I hope will spark more intention and funding around creative placemaking as real estate leaders learn the value of art and culture to advance social trust, community connection and development success.

Olivia Dahlquist ‘18 is one of more than 16,000 alumni of the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

More than a degree. A difference.
Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Community & Organizational Leadership.