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UI Introduces Arts Management Emphasis Area for Students

In response to student interest, the University of Iowa is offering an exciting new academic path for students wanting to pursue management careers in the arts. The Interdepartmental Studies Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has developed an arts management emphasis within its business studies track.

Acknowledging the specialized combination of expertise required to run an arts organization -- such as a dance troupe -- or a gallery, performance hall or other arts venue, the emphasis area will equip students with a solid business background, along with skills specific to the fine and performing arts. Students will be able to declare this emphasis area starting in fall 2007.

"Arts management is an area that has not been offered by any department or college here at the university," said Helena Dettmer, associate dean for academic programs and services in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). "This is one of several areas the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is creating to help students interested in the field of business and fine arts."

Interdepartmental Studies: Business Studies Track, an undergraduate bachelor's degree, is a pre-approved plan of study that combines a generalized business background with one of three emphasis areas: "Workplace Practices and Perspectives," "Values and Ethics" or the new "Arts Management." Students also have the option of proposing a self-defined emphasis area to an advisory committee.

Those who choose the arts management emphasis will take courses in arts administration, art history and production. Examples of history courses students can choose include "History of Jazz," "World of the Beatles," "Introduction to Museums" and "Arts in Africa." A sample of available production courses includes "Theatre Design," "Digital Portfolios in the Arts," "Dance Production," and "Exhibition Planning." The emphasis area also calls for an internship and for electives on topics ranging from drama to grant writing for the arts.

To coincide with the new emphasis area, the UI is introducing three new arts management courses, each for three hours of credit. The courses are open to all students, with some seats reserved for interdepartmental studies students.

"Introduction to Arts Management" will be offered this fall. The course is a study of nonprofit, performing arts management and administrative principles, practical applications and trends. It will focus on existing arts organizations and the functions and responsibilities of key administrative positions.

"Arts management adheres to the basic organizational and management principles of the business world, but the creative nature of the arts adds a unique twist," said David McGraw, a lecturer in arts management who is teaching the course, and production stage manager for theatre arts. "So while the issue of cash flow appears in many business courses, we will examine how season subscriptions, memberships and box office practices address the challenge. We also explore administrative career paths and how they all lead to the creation of art."

"New Ventures in the Arts," an analysis of management principles used to create an arts-related enterprise, will be offered in spring 2008. Students will examine case studies and create a business plan for a new arts endeavor.

"This course will help students explore business options for the wide range of projects that fall under the umbrella of arts management: dance academies, concerts, tours, festivals, galleries and museums, theatre companies, performing arts centers, artist cooperatives, etc.," McGraw said. "Whether you see yourself as an artist, teacher, promoter, presenter, or all of the above, we will examine methods for transforming your vision into a functional business plan."

"Arts Leadership Seminar" will be offered in spring 2008. This advanced-level course, open to students who have taken one of the other two courses, studies current trends in the field. Topics include advanced marketing techniques, using emerging technologies, arts advocacy after the Culture Wars of the 1990s and the role of the arts in cultural heritage and educational programming.

"Surveys are predicting a large turnover in the leadership of arts organizations in the next five to 10 years," McGraw said. "This course will address opportunities and challenges that the next generation of arts leaders face."

The courses were created with collaboration from CLAS, the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) and the Center for Credit Programs. Principal players in the project were Dettmer, McGraw, Alan MacVey, director of the Division of Performing Arts, and David Hensley, JPEC director.

The arts management emphasis area was developed after considerable consultation with faculty, academic advisors and students. The Academic Advising Center is handling advising for this track. For more information on the business studies track, visit www.uiowa.edu/~indepart/biz.


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