Meadows launches two business oriented minors
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Ever heard of the old stereotype of the starving artist? The well-qualified, jobless dancer, musician or actor struggling to make a living with nothing more than his or her art to get by on?
With the introduction last fall of two new interdisciplinary minors, arts management and entrepreneurship, Meadows School of the Arts offers students the chance to back their artistic talent with the practical business skills needed to navigate the arts world. The new minors are a part of Meadows’ movement toward innovative learning emphasizing the importance of an interdisciplinary education in the arts.
“From my perspective, this discipline serves to be a new standard in arts education,” James Hart, the newly appointed director of the entrepreneurship program, said. “The current standard, the status quo that is, is one of all arts technique and no business skill.”
An SMU graduate himself, Hart founded The International Theater Academy of Norway (TITAN) before returning to SMU to lead the entrepreneurship program.
“I’m very much dedicated to helping students realize what [they] want to do,” he said.
While the minor in arts entrepreneurship focuses on giving students a foundation to begin their own business ventures, the arts management minor focuses on how to work within or manage already existing arts organizations. Although the minors are based in Meadows, students from other schools within SMU are free to study either minor also.
“I think it’s really cool and makes us stand out,” junior Derek Hawkes, studying orchestral management, said. “It’s not enough to be a good player, you have to understand how this industry works.”
Jakeem Powell, a theater major at SMU, hopes to one day open his own theater company. He chose the arts management minor because of this, and he hopes it will give him insight into the administration side of the arts.
“I feel like it is also giving me the skills that I need to manage and market myself as an artist,” Powell said.
In addition to the new minors, Meadows has also added new graduate degrees: a dual master of arts/master of business administration in arts management and the master of management degree in international arts management.
The master of arts and master of business administration in arts management is a 75 credit-hour degree that offers courses from both the Cox School of Business and Meadows, making it the only program of its kind in the U.S.
For the masters of management in arts management, SMU collaborated with the HEC Business School in Montreal, Canada and SDA Bocconi in Italy to provide a one-year program during which students interested in studying international arts management can travel abroad.
Despite the large number of schools offering prestigious undergraduate degrees in the arts, only a handful of colleges are offering programs in arts management and entrepreneurship. SMU will join the likes of New York University, Yale University, Boston University Carnegie Mellon University and other universities.
Hart said that although it is a growing discipline, entrepreneurship is essential for artists to make on impact on the community.
“It can really change the cultural landscape,” Hart said.
“Creative individuals learn how to create opportunities for themselves, and inevitably they end up creating opportunities for others. So they become very real contributing factors to the economy.”