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Arts Entrepreneurship, The Class

My spring term class at Drexel, Arts Entrepreneurship has begun. One clear difference this year is that all of the students (15) have come to the class with ideas that they want to pursue. I think this is the result of their asking me in advance, and those who took it last year what the class was about, so came prepared.

We ‘workshopped’ a couple of the ideas during the first class, just to get the juices flowing, and while I was deeply impressed with how detailed each of the plans were, I didn’t think they had begun to really stretch themselves creatively. As such, we’ll spend time in class, as well as in private, one-on-one meetings, to work on this aspect of the entrepreneurial process.

I gave the first group assignment, which is due in 3 weeks. The students have divided into 4 groups, by art area interest (music, theatre, visual arts). They must choose an existing arts organization in their art area, then fully analyze it (mission, goals, programs, structure), then either create a new program or completely revise a current one. The thinking behind this project may be obvious: for students to learn to apply their entrepreneurial skills inside an existing organization, a situation they will almost surely find themselves in soon after graduation.

I have mused that yes, my Drexel students, as students in a program in arts administration, are taking this course as an elective may be expected to enter an existing not-for-profit and use their newly acquired entrepreneurial skills as outlined in this assignment; but that students in the program I have designed for Ithaca College may not have the same expectations. The IC program is centered on entrepreneurship and students will expected, to a high degree, to create a new entity and form it. Yes, some with enter existing NFP’s, but this will not be the focus on the expectation. Interesting…

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