Luther alumni featured in panel discussion on 21st century artist-citizens


From left to right: panel host Professor of Music Andrew Whitfield, Gillian Constable (‘17), Jaime Webb (‘17), and Luigi Enriquez (‘17). Photo courtesy of Verena Mueller-Baltes (‘26)

Jaime Webb (‘17), Gillian Constable (‘17), and Luigi Enriquez (‘17) share more than just a grad year and a status as Luther alumni. The three also share a passion for music. This passion was featured on Wednesday, March 1, at a panel on the evolving role of the artist-citizen in the 21st century.


The panel was the second to focus on the topic of 21st century artist-citizens. Professor of Music Andrew Whitfield, who hosted the first panel, once again functioned in the same role. 


Webb, Constable and Enriquez have continued their connection to music after graduating from Luther. Webb has worked for a variety of opera companies and even gone abroad to sing. Constable, a dual citizen of the US and Australia, works as a Community Engagement Manager at a theater in the Twin Cities and is currently looking into becoming a dialect coach, while Enriquez is a choir teacher at Iowa City West High School. 


In their panel discussion, all three emphasized multiple times that their respective professions go beyond money-making. Enriquez is a board member of a non-profit organization started by a friend of his, called Voices for Social Justice. He explained how he contributes to his community.


“I used to think that being a citizen just meant voting, but there is more than ourselves and now I wonder how we can use our gifts, talents, and privileges as artists,” Enriquez said. “There’s a communal aspect about music that can help respond to the traumas and violence of the world.” 


Webb, among other projects, is working on creating ‘Queer Pop’, a gathering place for LGBTQ people in the small community in Nebraska where she lives. She believes in creating values beyond her performances. This mindset is one that she follows in other areas of her life as well, namely her involvement in opera.


“It is important to create things that last after the performance,” Webb said. “Storytelling is one of the best ways to enact social change. That’s why I love opera so much.” 


For Constable, the theater was her main influence and changed her view on the relationship between the ideas of being an artist and being a citizen. As Community Engagement Manager, she has found ways to help her community be more inclusive. For instance, she implemented wider seat options in the theater to make it more accessible for disabled audience members.


“Growing up I thought that being an artist was entertainment,” Constable said. “Now I think of art on a bigger scale and of citizenship on a smaller scale. I’m a citizen of my friend group, or my neighborhood, or my city, but art has expanded and is way more universal.” 


Accessibility was another common theme among the alums. They acknowledged that theater, opera, and classical music are often areas that aren’t as welcoming to people from minority backgrounds. 


“Representation matters a lot,” Enriquez said. “I’m maybe the first non-white teacher somebody has ever had.”


The audience of the panel came from many different disciplines, including non-artistic ones, but still enjoyed the value of the discussion. Clara Wodny (‘25) was in attendance to observe and get information on art as a career. As an English major and Communication Studies minor, she isn’t as familiar with music and theater but nonetheless appreciated the panel event.


“I always enjoy opportunities to learn more about different art forms,” Wodny said. “When you’re creating something, it is good to know about what other people are creating. As a writer, I just need information on everything.” 


The event also attracted the attention of community members. Tina Shedinger, an audience member, enjoyed connecting with her old relationships and learning about the alumni’s careers and life experiences.


“I knew Luigi when he was a student and wanted to see where he’s at,” Shedinger said. “It is good to see how they were able to use what they learned here at Luther to make a career, while also finding that there’s more to life.” 


The Center for Ethics and Public Engagement (CEPE) is always hosting and sponsoring multiple platforms of discussion on campus, celebrating the exchange of ideas from many perspectives. On Saturday, March 12, CEPE is sponsoring for TEDx Luther College, which will also take place at the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall.