“Did I bomb? Did I answer those questions right?”
His mind flooded with questions as he left the interview. Questions that almost made him second-guess himself, but he knew that everything would fall into place.
He could feel it. The organization’s energy, creativity and passion matched his ambitions. It was as though all of his prior experiences were intentionally designed to help him with this step.
“Nothing has ever felt so naturally as good of a fit as that opportunity,” said ArtsQuest’s chief operating officer Curt Mosel.
He not only needed a career he was passionate about, but one in which he could give back to the community. At his ArtsQuest interview, he found a position at an organization that could help him achieve his goal.
Through collaborative work, learning from experiences and overcoming challenges, Mosel has established himself as a leader. His current role has given him an even greater stance to shape an engaging and interactive community by allowing him to manage events and foster partnerships with local businesses.
Mosel works at the heart of a company that serves the community. In his role of connecting ArtsQuest and businesses, he has given back through hiring local food vendors and artists, who especially need help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patrick Brogan, ArtsQuest’s chief programming officer, witnesses Mosel’s efforts firsthand by working alongside him to advance ArtsQuest’s initiatives.
“A community leader is someone who reaches out into the community, finds out what needs, wants, desires are from the community and helps them attain it,” Brogan said. “Curt (Mosel) does that particularly within the business community here in the Lehigh Valley … He is a conduit for businesses to reach new audiences here in the community.”
Collaboration is one of the ways Mosel fosters an interactive community.
After working with Mosel, Laurie Gostley-Hackett, director of philanthropy and community relations at Air Products, recognized him for “his true spirit of collaboration.”
“He’s always willing to share his ideas to brainstorm with others and to see how we can really promote the arts, not only in Bethlehem, but across the whole Lehigh Valley, and he’s at the center of all of those conversations,” Gostley-Hackett said.
Since the first FIFA World Cup SoccerFest at SteelStacks in 2014, Mosel has collaborated with Nick Swartz, director of brand strategy at Klunk & Millan Advertising.
A community leader is “someone who leads and leads by example,” Swartz said. “There are lots of people in leadership positions, but I think an actual leader is somebody that is making things happen, is action-focused or action-oriented, and I think someone like Curt (Mosel) absolutely is like that.”
After changing his major six times in college, Mosel graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in communications studies. It wasn’t until his second job with the Minnesota Timberwolves that he recognized a greater value in building a better community than in building himself.
This job taught him that working in something entertainment-oriented was about putting on the show, not being the show.
“That was my first big life lesson,” Mosel said. “You don’t go work somewhere like that to get to know the players. You go work somewhere like that so people can come down and enjoy themselves every time they’re there.”
ArtsQuest was on his radar to utilize his skills in selling sponsorships and ticket sales. He became the director of marketing and public relations in 2010 and worked his way up to chief operating officer by 2016.
Since his interview with the company, he knew this was where he would make a difference.
“I want to continue to be a contributing member of our organization and to the community, and I think that means always continuing to try to better myself and learn from those around me,” Mosel said.
Mosel said the most challenging part about being a leader is being willing to have hard conversations and stepping into the line of fire when there is a problem because that’s key to developing loyalty with employees and the community.
COVID-19 is an example because, without programs forthcoming, the organization has to make difficult decisions that impact staff, Mosel said.
“We’re constantly facing challenges, especially this year, and Curt (Mosel) is always willing to adapt and think of creative solutions to get through obstacles,” said Michael McCreary, owner of Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, who has worked with Mosel for 13 years.
Before COVID-19 hit, ArtsQuest entertained crowds with concerts and glass blowing classes. To keep the organization active during the pandemic, Mosel restrategized, offering online videos and safe outdoor activities as alternatives.
Mosel also thought to provide Lehigh Valley residents with outdoor dining and live “toe-tapping music,” as he calls it, courtesy of ArtsQuest.
“The arts helped heal people at a time of uncertainty,” Mosel said.