A 2016 Fresno State Theatre Arts alumnus, Miguel A. Gastelum is a part of the Graduates of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) Committee. Working in tandem with the College of Arts and Humanities Advisory Board, the group represents alumni voices and work to advocate for the needs and concerns of alumni as well as encourage alumni support for the college through volunteer activities, philanthropic giving, and attending events.
Gastelum is also a G.O.L.D. Dean’s Council member, a program that enables recent alumni to support the college through membership for as little as $10 per month. He’s always been passionate about Fresno State and, as a G.O.L.D. level donor, he believes in providing students with opportunities to enrich their education and time spent at the university. He hopes students will also be able to take advantage of more opportunities outside the university.
“Nothing beats real-world experiences and I hope that we find new ways to afford students those opportunities,” says Gastelum.
His interest in the arts started in elementary school where, despite coming from a long line of soccer players, he joined band in fifth grade. It was thanks to this connection that pulled him into theatre in middle school. His band director also directed the annual spring musical and asked him the day after the first auditions why he didn’t attend it.
“I told her I had no idea why I didn’t,” recalls Gastellum, “and [then] that afternoon I was standing in front of the audition panel!”
Since then, theatre has been his passion. Theatre is a unique form, he says, in how it only exists in that one iteration for that one night. The audience members take part in art being created right before their eyes.
“Everything comes together to create a uniquely visceral and raw experience. That’s pretty damn cool.”
Gastelum has worked with several local theatre companies including StageWorks Fresno, The Motley Fools, Selma Arts Center and even started his own theatre production company, Open Book Productions, with several other Fresno State alum. It was during these times that he realized how much he enjoyed working on the administrative side of a theatre company.
On a daily basis, Gastelum does a wide range of duties for the Theatre and Dance department. In addition to being the communication specialist writing press releases and curating social media content, he’s the Box Office Manager located in the Speech Arts building where he designs key artworks for mainstage productions, schedules appearances by actors and directors on local media outlets and supervises the student staff. He’s also the Front of House Manager, supervising all the Front of House activities during mainstage performances.
“Miguel has done such a wonderful job welcoming our theatre patrons and sharing his passion for all of our productions with the audience,” said Dr. Honora Chapman, interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “We truly appreciate all of his efforts, including his pioneering membership in G.O.L.D.!”
For why he gives back, Gastelum says it just makes sense. He has seen student artists churn out impressive works.
“Artists and humanists are such a vital part of our society and culture. They are what gives it meaning, let’s not lose that.”