Andrea Hansen

Andrea Hansen is the arts administrator and president at the Kern Dance Alliance. She is one of this year's 20 Under 40 for Bakersfield Life Magazine. 

Name: Andrea Hansen

Age: I just turned 39 (my birthday is Aug. 26).

Occupation/Business: Arts administrator - president, Kern Dance Alliance

Hometown: Bakersfield

Tell us how you got into your field. A dance studio opened next door to my home in Old Town Bakersfield when I was 7 years old. I still remember my first class — it changed my life! Today, I celebrate 32 years in the performing arts industry where I have worked as a professional dancer, educator, choreographer, and currently, an arts administrator.

What is your "why?" (Why do you get out of bed every morning and do what you do?) Because there is always a better tomorrow. . . as long as you put in the work today. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? “Education is the key to success.” (wise words from my father)

What is the biggest challenge in the marketplace/business that you’ve overcome? The arts are not always the first thing on the minds of those who shape communities and making a case for the arts can often come with pushback. The greatest professional challenges I have experienced have inspired me to dig deeper in an effort to better understand the cause I support so vehemently. To do this, I research data pertinent to the arts, listen to experts in the field, and fine-tune my messaging so that others may understand the arts are not a luxury, they are a necessity.

What is your proudest achievement of your career thus far? Watching the arts in Kern County thrive because our community acknowledges and supports their work is what makes me the most proud. As a champion of the arts, nothing gives me greater satisfaction than watching others succeed because they feel valued.

What’s next for you in your career? I cannot specifically tell you what is next in my career, but I can guarantee that it will be a creative journey filled with purpose and positive outcomes. Luckily, my passion is my career and my career is my passion. As long as I am on Earth, I will continue to advocate, fundraise, promote and support the arts.

What advice would you give to other young professionals and entrepreneurs in Bakersfield? Live a life of purpose by utilizing your gifts — you will be fulfilled.

How do you hope to help improve Bakersfield, or bring to the community overall? I wish to contribute to Bakersfield by helping to make our arts scene culturally vibrant and economically successful. People want to live in a community where there is an exponential amount of things to do and experience. A thriving arts and culture scene promotes livability, tourism, economic vitality, and establishes a community’s identity.

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What is one thing you wish you would have known before starting your career? Creativity is the catalyst to success.

Prior to starting my career, I did not realize how important creativity was to the success of every industry. Often, people do not identify as artists because the do not work in the arts, but I would argue that everyone is an artist because they use their creative talents to embark upon new endeavors. The longer I work in the arts the more apparent it becomes that support for the arts is intrinsic to the triumph of enterprise.