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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Allison Quensen Blatt, titan of the arts, to retire in June

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
Allison Quensen Blatt has juggled a number of jobs in the college’s arts program over her two decades at the college.

Allison Quensen Blatt, the longtime director of operations and patron services for the Williams Center for the Arts, will be closing the curtain on her Lafayette career on June 30. Blatt’s departure caps 23 years of managing everything from performers to ticket sales for the college’s performing arts program.

“I’ve had a great time,” Blatt, often referred to by those who know her as AQB, said. “It’s totes rewarding to put people together with the really amazing performances we have here. I mean, this is an award-winning program … but I’m just tired.”

Blatt came to Lafayette in 2000 after “bopping around” between jobs in the Lehigh Valley – she formerly held similar positions at Lehigh University and Kutztown University. Achievements under Blatt’s belt include the 2019 founding of the Lafayette Arts Alumni Association – which helps alumni connect with and support the college’s arts programs – and the establishment of the Larry J. Stockton Scholarship. Built from a cache of Marquis Players dues and alumni funds, the scholarship allows students to pursue music lessons.

“When we were little kids, everybody sang and danced and made up plays and painted and drew, and we might have just sucked at it, but it was fun and that’s the point. So we want people to exercise their creativity and to keep it with them after college,” Blatt said of the scholarship.

Blatt has been an advisor for the Arts Society since she joined the college in 2000 and took on advising the Marquis Players in 2013, two student programs that Blatt said she is “so proud of.”

“I will miss the students a whole lot because they’re awesome,” Blatt said. “I mean, most Lafayette students are, but as we all know, students who are involved in the arts are smarter, more organized, more interesting and better looking.”

While Blatt looked fondly upon her work with students and alumni, she pointed to a purported lack of respect for the arts at the college as contributing to her retirement at only age 61.

“I’m sick to bits of seeing the arts portrayed as a place for engineers to blow off steam. I’ve seen that in official college publications,” Blatt said. “This is an academic field of study.”

Blatt said that her job is really that of three people.

“She does so much for everyone … When she tells you she works three jobs, she does, and it’s absolutely insane,” Cormac Hurley ‘24, an employee of Blatt’s at the box office, said.

That workload has caused Blatt to feel burned out.

“There’s could be so much more, but there’s nobody to do it. And there’s nobody at the top to value it,” Blatt said, noting staff vacancies and purportedly lackluster funding for the theater department.

“Who makes these value judgments about the unimportance of the arts, and on what basis?” Blatt asked. She hopes that her role will be filled by several people when she leaves.

Blatt looks forward to retiring in her native West Virginia – she has already joined her county arts council and plans to attend girls’ sports games and create mosaic art in her spare time.

“My house that I’m moving to has an extra little old garage that I’m making into a workshop,” Blatt said. “It’s gonna be so cool.”

In the meantime, Blatt has to sell off the plethora of knick-knacks she has accrued in her quirky, triangular office, a room initially designed to be a closet.

“Starting May 8, I’m going to set up a bunch of tables in the lobby [of the Arts Center],” Blatt said. “I’m going to load them up with stuff and it’s going to be ‘pay what you will.’”

All proceeds, in true AQB fashion, will go to the Arts Society.

Correction 03/25/23: A previous version of this article stated that the Larry J. Stockton Scholarship was in part funded by unused Student Government funds. No such funds were used in creating the scholarship.

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About the Contributors
Trebor Maitin
Trebor Maitin, Managing Editor
Pennsylvania enthusiast.
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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    AQBMar 24, 2023 at 11:13 am

    Thanks, Trebor! One tiny clarification: the scholarship fund was built from the Arts Society’s excess earned income; unspent StuGov allocations are always zeroed out and returned to SG.

    I should also have noted that MAFia and WJRH have also contributed earned income to the scholarship fund.