Friday, December 17, 2010

Are You Ready?

Discussion with Project Advisor Terry Wolverton, Faculty Supervisor for Claremont Arts Management Graduate Program

One of our project advisors on this journey is Claremont Graduate School here in California. Claremont has a Masters of Arts in Arts Management, which “blends the best of the renowned Drucker School of Management and the School of Arts and Humanities to balance business courses with advanced cultural studies. Cultural institutions in the profit and nonprofit sector are seeking capable managers with an understanding of the arts and business to head museums, theatre and dance companies, cultural centers, music and arts education organizations, and to advocate for the future of the arts.”

During the last year in the program, students must complete a capstone project—An Arts Management Consulting Practicum and Final Report. It is approximately a 100 hours semester-long project culminating in a formal consulting report. The required deliverables are status reports during the semester, a final written report plus a final presentation to the organization attended by the faculty supervisor of the student’s consulting project.

The Arts Management department will assist in partnering students with a local art or cultural nonprofit organization. Students are partnered according to their professional backgrounds and interests if possible.

Sample consulting projects can be found here.

When I was listening to Terry speak about the culminating experience for Claremont arts management graduate students I could not help but hearken back to my theatre management graduate days which were not so long ago. I had to ask the question: would I have been ready for this experience at the end of my program? It was a real eye opening question because I would have, honestly, had to say no. I still needed a critical internship experience bridging school to real world theatre work in order to apply all of my school lessons to everyday occurrences. What do you all think? Are you ready? In what ways are graduate level students ready for a consultant project in various arts organizations? What do they still have to learn? Or considering the caliber and experience of the Claremont Arts Management students does it really depend on the student?

Next Steps: More insights from our other project advisors!

Patricia Garza
Center Theatre Group
Department Manager
Education and Community Partnerships


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  2. I am enrolled in the MA in Arts Management program at Claremont Graduate University where I happily discovered that the program is filled with students whose interests reflect the diversity of the arts sector itself (the performing arts, visual arts, arts education etc.). Among my fellow students, passion for the arts is strong but it is the best practices of management we learn that will make a sustainable impact on the arts organizations we join. CGU’s program is a practical program – the shared expertise of working arts managers and the program’s teaching staff exposes us to the realities of working in the arts, particularly in the non-profit sector at this point in our nation’s economy. The capstone project overseen by Terry Wolverton is the culminating project that allows us to apply these best practices within the framework of a consultancy. But this does not necessarily negate the need for an internship – professional experience varies amongst the students and the opportunity to intern at an organization of CTG’s prominence would be unique and beneficial.

    A CTG internship program could create a conduit of expertise that runs in multiple directions. From a student’s perspective, it means being able to take what is learned in the classroom and putting it into practice in a working environment (after all, arts management is an applied program). It means the opportunity to work with, observe and be exposed to best practices in theatre management as utilized by CTG’s working staff. It also means being able to bring real world experiences back to the classroom to use as a foundation or point of reference to enrich the academic experience. For CTG, it means utilizing students with focused knowledge of best practices in management (including non-profit finance, marketing, cultural policy and arts management).

    There is an emphasis at CGU’s Drucker School on leadership and social entrepreneurship. So to answer some of Patricia’s questions, the quality of student from CGU is high but so is the continuing desire to learn. The success of the experience and relationship will always depend on the student, but CTG’s expectations should be high – the knowledge an arts management graduate student brings spans many core aspects of management and by putting them to use, those management practices can crystallize into decision and action.

    A CTG internship also provides an experience for the graduate student that is different from our capstone project. It is an opportunity for professional and personal development at a high-functioning, nationally renowned theatre company.

    We’re ready.