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An Emerging Pedagogy of Arts Entrepreneurship


  1. This is a great idea. Along the same lines, practical courses for arts entrepreneurs are offered at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Short non-credit workshops to semester-long for-credit courses cover every aspect of running an art business, from the creative processes, manufacturing and marketing to legal and financial issues, web presence and press and publicity. FIT’s “Enterprise Center” offers non-credit courses targeted at emerging and mid-career arts entrepreneurs, and the courses are taught be people who actually are out there in the field. Speaking from experience–FIT is an incredible resource to anyone looking to run an arts business!

    • As an artistic, non-linear thinker trying to launch my arts pedagogy expertise into a venture creation, I find this VERY important. I am trying to sprout a theatre teaching company that focuses on bullying prevention and conflict resolution, yet I’m weak with building budgets. I have “How To Build A Business Plan” tacked to my bulletin board, but it just isn’t clicking. EB, I live in Vermont. Does FIT’s Enterprise Center offer distance learning classes? Mr. Undercofler, would this proposed MA in Arts Entrepreneurship be available to distance learners?

      • Thanks for the good comment. I don’t know if FIT offers distance learning courses, am sure you can find this out online. The MA at Ithaca won’t be operational, or online for a couple of years, and you need something now. Check out the work of Osterwalder and Pigeur (, and their book, Business Model Generation. I’ve found their approach to building business plans to be compelling for most arts learners.

        • You can take Arts Entrepreneurship online as part of a Masters in Arts Administration at Drexel University. This online program includes a brief on-campus residency as students enter the program. This year, for the first time, we are offering students an opportunity to start online in the Winter term (starting in January), without the residency.

          You do have to be matriculated in the program to take the Arts Entrepreneurship course. The course will be taught this summer by Neville Vakharia, who was the founding Executive Director of the Cultural Data Project, and has also worked in the for-profit sector.

          Please let me know if you’d like to hear more about this program:

          – Jean

    • Jim Undercofler’s analysis of entrepeneurial activity in the arts hits the spot! Not only did I identify with it in my own work as an entrepeneur in dance of 40 years, but also in the notion of weaving it into my teaching on a dance degree from which I recently retired here in New Zealand. Encouraging students to associate business with dance could sometimes be quite an undertaking as the two seemed to be separate in the students’ minds. Throughout the undergraduate year, students gradually took on more of an entrepeneurial outlook, but it possibly would not fit into the business school model. For one thing the ethics were often discussed, and in the back of my mind was the role of the arts as gifts to the human condition. Balancing the roles of dance in society and financial gain is a fascinating area. Perhaps our striving for an ethical business model that is creative and stimulates the creativity of others could inform our friends in their business ivory towers. I for one became fascinated by how dancers can adopt suitable business practices and I still am intrigued about how I can continue doing this in the community projects that I run in my “retirement”.

  2. I agree that entrepreneurial thinking needs to be fully integrated into the graduate AND undergraduate curriculum. Performers need to be taught to think less in terms of “jobs” and more in terms of controlling the means of production themselves. But most importantly — and I fear least likely to happen — young artists need to be encouraged to think in terms of disrupting the current business model equilibrium in the same way that iTunes disrupted the recorded music “industry.”

  3. Great points all around, thank you. As a creative entrepreneur, who formerly worked in entrepreneurship education (in all sectors) your post had a lot of resonance with my experience. I wonder how you feel about the term artrepreneur? It was something bandied about by my non-arts colleagues that I found ill-fitting…

  4. Just read your article. You’re right on all counts. Almost everything that makes me a creative artist and composer is contraindicated in the world of business. And it’s almost impossible to find someone who will help me do the business work that needs to be done for my career to generate the income I need to survive.
    Looking forward to your next post.

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