The Next Step
Arts management programs broaden students’ perspectives of the dance world.
There’s more than one way to be involved in dance, and understanding the business side of things can open doors to a wider range of opportunities. “Many years of training made me well-versed in the artistry of dance, but I was also interested in the business and management side,” says Shardai Taylor, a recent graduate of the international arts management program offered by Southern Methodist University and HEC Montréal, in collaboration with SDA Bocconi. Graduate programs in arts administration give students the training they need to pursue careers in development, marketing, production, education or finance in arts organizations.
Taylor got real-world advice from companies like Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Photo by Joris Jan Bos, courtesy LGBC.
Carnegie Mellon University
Degree offered: Master of arts management
No. of students: 55. Most come from arts backgrounds.
Curriculum: Courses cover arts marketing, fundraising, communications, producing, cultural economics and audience engagement.
Hands-on experience: Students complete a full-time internship in the summer, and can do apprenticeships at Pittsburgh-area organizations during the year. The program has a gallery and performance space, run by arts management students.
Global perspective: CMU offers dual degree and exchange programs with the University of Bologna in Italy, and an exchange program with Ludwigsburg University in Germany.
Final project: Students work in teams on a management consulting project with a real client. Past clients have included Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Americans for the Arts.
Alumni: Graduates have worked at American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
Degrees offered: MS in arts administration, graduate certificate in arts administration or fundraising management
No. of students: Approximately 100 in the MS program. About 70 percent have a performing arts background, about a third of which studied dance as undergraduates.
Curriculum: Required courses cover topics like nonprofit financial management and legal issues in arts administration.
Hands-on experience: All students complete a 150-hour internship at an arts organization. They also organize conferences at the university and create a series of talks in which they interview artists and arts administrators from around the world.
Global perspective: Students are required to take at least one international course in Cuba, Spain, Ireland or the UK.
Final project: In addition to the internship, students may opt to write a thesis or complete a cultural project.
Alumni: Graduates have worked at Boston Ballet, commercial theaters and performing arts schools, among other places.
Southern Methodist University and HEC Montréal in collaboration with SDA Bocconi
Dallas, TX; Montréal, Québec; Milan, Italy
Degree offered: Master of management in international arts management
No. of students: 10–14. The program is designed for students with undergraduate arts degrees or previous cultural management experience.
Curriculum: Students complete a third of their coursework at each school. They study fundraising at SMU, marketing at HEC Montréal and strategic arts management at SDA Bocconi.
Hands-on experience: Students visit cultural organizations in all three cities and learn from arts leaders, like the executive director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal.
Global perspective: In addition to the program’s international focus, students take a 10-day trip to Bogotá, Colombia, where they visit organizations that work to empower children through the arts.
Final project: Students complete a thesis focusing on a business plan or theoretical ideas.
Alumni: Graduates have worked for Cirque du Soleil, Skirball Cultural Center and Teatro Mayor Julio Santo Domingo in Bogotá, among other organizations.