October 17, 2007

“Adventuring” Arts Entrepreneurship Curricula in Higher Education: An Examination of Present Efforts, Obstacles, and Best Practices

By Beckman, Gary D

ABSTRACT. As arts entrepreneurship programs emerge in higher education, many remain idiosyncratic because of a lack of oversight by accreditation organizations. This diversity has spawned a number of philosophical and curricular trajectories in these programs; these different programs reflect the unique microcultures of theater, art, and music units. What has been lacking is a broad understanding of curricular and program development practices and techniques. This article is the result of a national study funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and aims to outline best practices in arts entrepreneurship education and to gain some understanding about the curricular structure, interest in, and growth of these efforts. After interviewing decision makers and students about the topic, it is clear the interest in arts entrepreneurship education is strong, widespread, and rapidly growing.


arts entrepreneurship, best practices, curricular study, entrepreneurship

There are no jobs in the arts; there are only opportunities . . .

-Joseph Roberts, Columbia College Chicago

As a response to poor professional outcomes, accountability pressures, and the potential for meaningful community engagement, the development of innovative career strategies for arts students is a growing priority in higher education. Entrepreneurship-expressed in terms of degrees, initiatives, certificates, academic minors, electives, and workshops-is gaining significant popularity as a method to simultaneously address the realities of traditional arts employment and realize the potential impact students with this training can effect in diverse environments. Yet there is little consensus on the most effective techniques for educating students to these ends. For example: Why does one university require an accounting course for art students pursuing a baccalaureate in art entrepreneurship when music students at another institution attend entrepreneurship classes as electives? Certainly, many students could benefit from such training, which begs a number of questions: Is there a philosophical and/or curricular chasm in arts entrepreneurship training nationally, or are these efforts expressions of localized educational cultures? On a broader level, does the lack of established curricular guidelines and best practices contribute to the myriad of curricular/programmatic expressions? Or is entrepreneurship education, by its very nature, a diverse enterprise?

To better understand the state of arts entrepreneurship education on U.S. campuses and to move toward an understanding of best practices, I conducted a national study comprising informal on-site interviews1 at representative institutions2 with faculty, division directors, deans, and students concerning entrepreneurship and its place in arts higher education. The study had three goals: to survey present efforts in arts entrepreneurship education, determine obstacles to the implementation of this curriculum, and identify best practices. 3 With more than one hundred courses available to students nationally and with private support in the hundreds of millions of dollars in the past decade dedicated to these efforts, the interest in arts entrepreneurship education is clearly growing. With various curricular viewpoints and significant points of consensus, one fact cannot be disputed: decision makers are quickly realizing that the benefits of instituting entrepreneurship education in the arts far outweigh any encountered obstacles.


If we can teach opportunity-scanning skills-the ability to identify and organize resources, see everything in a holistic manner, and be the leader to get everything done-then we have taught the entrepreneurial mindset.

-Patti Greene, Babson College

Distinguishing Entrepreneurship and Professional Development Activities

The delivery of professional development education in the arts is varied. One-time visits by arts professionals, annual or biannual workshops, day- or week-long convocations, job fairs, career services centers, specialized classes, programs, degrees, certificates, minors, and individual counseling by faculty, whether formal or informal, are typical methods in the arts disciplines. Broadly speaking, arts entrepreneurship education is both an aspect of professional development and a discrete educational trajectory.4 For example, a workshop describing how a student can develop an artist portfolio or write an artist statement is a professional development activity. A course that focuses on the innovative delivery of art to the marketplace is a part of entrepreneurship education because it attempts to express the potential of either the undertaking or the individual. For the purposes of this article, I use entrepreneurial and entrepreneurship to mean activities concerned with innovation in a professional environment and entrepreneurship education as training that prepares students to behave in this manner. I have broadly conceived entrepreneurship in this context as a way to approach professional employment in the arts in a creative manner that will generate value for individuals and groups inside or outside traditional arts employment domains.

The Development of Arts Entrepreneurship Programs

Some of the best-known formal efforts in arts entrepreneurship education were the result of either gifts or grants. Larger initiatives such as the Eastman School of Music's Arts Leadership Program (now the Institute for Music Leadership) began in 1996 with a gift from Catherine Filene Shouse. In 1998, a grant from the Louis and Harold Price Foundation to the University of Colorado at Boulder established the Entrepreneurship Center for Music. Another well- known effort, Columbia College Chicago's Arts Entertainment and Media Management program, started in 1992 without external funds. The origins of these programs demonstrate that the funding for these larger initiatives stem from a variety of sources.

Smaller, more localized efforts exist as well. Historically, some institutions have offered the occasional class or workshop in entrepreneurship. Such efforts tend to originate with concerned or interested faculty. Most professional development or entrepreneurship classes in this category suffer from funding challenges or issues in accommodating faculty load requirements or availability. For these reasons, such offerings have appeared only intermittently in course catalogs over the past three decades and have not been sustainable.

The Delivery of Arts Entrepreneurship Education

Today, formal arts entrepreneurship education exists primarily outside of established degree plans. This scenario serves the budgetary constraints of administrators, who introduce the topic into their departments through a path of least resistance with lesser administrative, financial, and committee requirements; students support this stance. Both groups believe that a less engaged student population would both slow classroom tempo and dilute content over time. Arts entrepreneurship curricula integrated into degree plans exist, although they are seldom replicated elsewhere. For example, the University of Arizona and Lynn University require all music performance majors to take at least one course in entrepreneurship or professional development. However, the most popular technique used to create an arts entrepreneurship certificate or a campus-wide entrepreneurship minor is to group preexisting courses from business schools. This method is based on interdisciplinary cooperation and has the added benefit of distributing faculty financial commitments across various units.

Partnerships between arts and business schools are common, especially at universities with strong entrepreneurship programs. The primary role played by business schools has been to assist with program development and provide curricular content. Leaders of many business programs expressed an eagerness to support their arts colleagues' efforts; for example, some are willing to create specialized business courses for arts students. This eagerness is due, in part, to a belief in interdisciplinary outreach and a desire to expose business students to a skilled creative population by bringing both student populations together in the classroom or as a part of an institutionally sponsored experiential project.5

Classroom instruction is the primary mechanism of formal arts entrepreneurship education. For degrees and certificates in arts entrepreneurship, 50-100 percent of the entrepreneurship component credits are taken from existing business school undergraduate offerings such as accounting, management principles, basic economics, or entrepreneurship. At many institutions, the credit hour and course requirements for a degree or certificate in arts entrepreneurship is similar to that of a business minor. Some programs, however, have attempted to tailor entrepreneurship classes for the arts industries. Music business programs with such courses are a typical and frequent example.

Many administrators interviewed emphasized the importance of experiential education in an effective arts entrepreneurship program. Creating opportunities for students to apply entrepreneurial techniques in a controlled environment has emerged as a curricular imperative. Currently, internships are the most common form of experiential education. Frequently used strategies include programs that match students with arts entrepreneurs and student-operated arts ventures (this is common in theater departments). For those units that do not have internship programs, bringing successful arts entrepreneurs into the classroom allows students access to these individuals. In summary, a typical arts entrepreneurship degree plan consists of classroom components drawn from a core business undergraduate curriculum, one class in "entrepreneurship," guest lectures by entrepreneurs, and an experiential component usually in the form of an internship.6

Two Streams of Curricular Thought

Two broad philosophical stances distinguish very different perceptions, applications, and interpretations of entrepreneurship. One is based on "New Venture Creation"; the other focuses on "transitioning" students to professional careers in the arts. New Venture Creation can be defined as a traditional view of entrepreneurship most often expressed in business school curricula were students learn the basics of starting a for-profit business, growing the venture, then selling it at a profit. In contrast, the transitioning philosophy envisions an as-yet undefined and broader view of entrepreneurship that teaches students new skill sets, (for- profit and nonprofit acumen, creativity education, and opportunity recognition, for example) in the context of the arts environment they will inhabit as professional artists. For example, arts entrepreneurship programs (or courses) that cultivate facility in accounting and management techniques (topics traditionally found in business schools) reflect a traditional (New Venture Creation) view of entrepreneurship in which the creation and sustainability of a business venture is the curricular imperative. Programs that focus on the intangible and less explored aspects of the typical entrepreneurial curriculum (innovation development, entrepreneurial behavior, etc.), arts culture, and the contextual integration of intellectual skills to prepare a student for a professional career in the arts reflect a broader view of entrepreneurship that transitions students into the arts professions.7

Although not a perfect generalization, public universities and private institutions can be distinguished by these two philosophies. Overall, public universities have adopted the New Venture Creation model. This tendency may be due to the proximity of business and entrepreneurship schools on campus. Some arts schools and private universities have focused on transitioning students as practitioners in the arts professions. The curricular manifestation of this philosophy, however, is in its nascent stages.8

Both models have drawn criticism. Criticism leveled at the transition model concerns how such a passage could be guided through the classroom without introducing a significant and long-term experiential component integrated into the curricula. The most frequently used argument against a New Venture Creation model is its reliance on an existing curricular model from business schools that panders to traditional perceptions of entrepreneurship instead of engaging a broader intellectual construct better suited to a typical arts student.

Disciplinary Distinctions

Music departments across the country are quickly adopting entrepreneurship education. Art departments, however, appear split. Administrators in computer arts and design programs seem more amenable to entrepreneurship education, whereas those in the studio arts await direction from their peers and accreditation organizations.9 This division may be due in part to cultural differences among the disciplines; older studio art programs tend to be more regimented and susceptible to traditional arts aesthetics, whereas the more recent design and computer arts disciplines are less concerned with these aesthetics.

Theater departments present a completely different paradigm. Students learn and experience many aspects of the discipline (such as acting, lighting operation and design, costuming, and so on) as a part of their undergraduate experience. Additionally, these programs frequently have partnerships with their colleagues in communication departments. This somewhat holistic stance may have been driven by poor professional and post-degree outcomes, yet it has resulted in a predisposition to entrepreneurship education without using the term. The plethora of student-operated theaters and courses in theater management are cases in point.

Placed on a continuum, music departments tend to be the most aesthetically conservative of the arts disciplines, theater the most liberal, and visual art somewhere in between. At a certain level, the reasons seem obvious. Music, as a discipline, contains the greatest number of intellectually based subdisciplines-musicology, music theory, music cognition, and ethnomusicology- whereas theater contains the least. However, music departments have the most entrepreneurship initiatives (through formalized programs, degrees, and certificates). Art departments are somewhat ambivalent about the topic, with some individual classes; for the most part, design and computer arts programs make up the majority of these efforts. Theater exhibits little explicit interest, perhaps for the aforementioned reasons.


The core values of intellectual entrepreneurship (collaboration, teamwork, integration, interdisciplinarity) can be translated into a curriculum that is "owned" by the arts academy . . .

-Richard Cherwitz, The University of Texas at Austin

Almost every interviewee echoed the importance of professional development in arts higher education. For some administrators, improved student outcome is a moral imperative. Likewise, most shared the belief that entrepreneurship will be an important component of fine arts higher education in the near future. Uncertain outcomes from an oversupply of educated artists, musicians, and theater professionals were cited as the most typical and critical factors fueling these opinions.

When asked about parental concerns, many departmental chairpersons admitted that rhetoric designed to highlight the more traditional outcomes for arts students has never struck a confident chord. Increasingly, a simple "we get them into graduate school" no longer suffices for parents absorbing the cost of an arts education for their child or for a student without a financial safety net. Some, however, mentioned that parents now believe that their children will have four to five careers in their lifetime. Thus, enrolling their children in arts programs may engender less angst now than it has in the past.

When queried about the obstacles in developing entrepreneurship programs, most administrators mentioned faculty resistance as the single most critical factor. Some cited faculty training and aesthetic structures entrenched in older models, whereas others thought faculty would be "confused" by such efforts. Others cited faculty "selfishness" and "apathy." Generational differences were also cited, although those centered on faculty training as opposed to age specifically. This points to an uncomfortable position for administrators as arts departments approach the intersection of arts entrepreneurship education, faculty relations, student needs, and a changing face of arts higher education.

Some administrators see a potential conflict between the mission of liberal arts institutions and entrepreneurship education as an obstacle.10 Ever-increasing degree and accreditation requirements were cited frequently, as were lack of support, direction, and vision from higher administration. These issues, coupled with the perception of entrepreneurship education as "vocational," are serious issues for arts departments. The idea that entrepreneurship could be equated with vocational education may reflect the influence of romantic aesthetics in arts training and a narrow view of entrepreneurship. However, some theater administrators and professors bristled at the implication of vocationalism equated with entrepreneurship education, suggesting that this viewpoint may be unique to other arts disciplines. Perhaps by engaging such language as "professional transitioning" and "creating arts practitioners," coupled with a broader conception of entrepreneurship, one could mitigate the aesthetic distaste of "vocational" education.

A last group of obstacles points to even more critical observations. The lack of a predominant curricular model concerned most faculty and administrators. 11 Many also expressed concern that arts entrepreneurship is "trendy." Instructor qualifications weighed heavily on the minds of deans responsible for granting tenure. One decision maker asked, "How do we [as administrators] evaluate the expertise of [arts entrepreneurship] faculty?" The implied question of balance was clear: What do arts departments value more-the practical experience of potential instructors or the academic legitimacy of future faculty?

Perhaps the most cogent, if not the most crucial, concern expressed was the definition of entrepreneurship. When asked how to define or conceive the term, administrators fell into three distinct camps. Most defined entrepreneurship as a synonym for New Venture Creation, whereas others envisioned a broader construct (using such terms as creativity, empowerment, and innovation). A third group questioned the legitimacy of using the term in an arts context. This group saw the word as an obstacle and wondered how it should manifest in curricula and pedagogy. These department leaders viewed understanding "entrepreneurship" as the first step in constructing future curricula and programs.

At present, there is no consensus on an accepted definition of entrepreneurship in an arts context to aid those decision makers who create or initiate such efforts. Despite many attempts to define entrepreneurship in an inclusive manner, it remains in the minds of many arts administrators solely a path toward monetary success at the expense of art. Some faculty, however, were able to postulate a broader meaning of entrepreneurship in an arts context through such phrases as "directing the creative impulse,""nurturing innovative thought,""recognizing opportunity," and "individual exploration and assessment." This group consistently maintained, however, that this rhetoric be presented and taught within the context of disciplinary culture. For those institutions that have not adopted professional development or entrepreneurship education, many administrators identified faculty support and a strong interdisciplinary focus as crucial factors in developing such efforts. Other recurring motifs included education in New Venture Creation (especially for audio recording, music business, design, and film degrees), biannual workshops, and partnering with business schools. Others proposed that capstone classes and portfolio reviews be a part of this endeavor. Some mentioned that, by creating professional development classes, universities would have the ability to create interdisciplinary fine arts minors in entrepreneurship with less administrative effort. This suggests that professional development and entrepreneurship education are somehow linked in the minds of those not engaged in program development. The applied arts are clearly first on the mind of administrators when envisioning entrepreneurship education. This is at the expense of other arts subdisciplines such as art, theater, and music history; composition; music theory; ethnomusicology; arts education; and so on.12

Student Observations

I am glad to find a college where the staff care so much about their prospective students that they will sit down and talk with them about their futures. CU [University of Colorado at Boulder] is my number one choice, and the ECM [Entrepreneurship Center for Music] had a large part in that decision.13

Without doubt, students in the arts are eager for both professional development and entrepreneurship education. Many questioned why the arts academy waited so long to "get it." Course availability and scheduling remain key stumbling blocks, however. With increasingly bloated degree plans, it comes as no surprise that students are finding it difficult to attend entrepreneurship classes. In addition to their liberal arts requirements, music students spend three to eight hours a day in soundproof cubicles honing their craft, art students spend six and sometimes nine hours a day in required studio classes, and theater undergraduates spend most of their nights in rehearsals-all for uncertain professional outcomes.

Given these challenges, it comes as no surprise that student participation in arts entrepreneurship efforts is spotty. Some institutions have waiting lists for classes, whereas others barely make minimum enrollment requirements. The problem is not solely a matter of interest or time constraints. Instead, it is a complex equation involving these issues and such factors as an individual student's entrepreneurial characteristics, disciplinary and departmental culture, faculty support and perception of the topic, scheduling conflicts, and expectation of required work.14 These enrollment disparities, although perhaps not surprising, are noteworthy in that they mirror other professional development efforts in arts education. Fine arts career centers are seldom fully used, and occasional efforts (such as workshops, job fairs, and weekend events) frequently suffer from low attendance. Additionally, many arts students visit these offices in their last semester before graduation, which is too late to effectively develop an arts career. Lastly, the role of arts entrepreneurship educators is sometimes confused with that of career services professionals. This confusion blurs both disciplinary and professional distinctions between the two efforts for students, faculty, administration, arts communities, and potential donors.


As always, context determines meaning.

-Neal Zaslaw

Evaluating Arts Entrepreneurship Programs

Evaluating existing entrepreneurship programs to determine a "best practice" is a somewhat daunting task. Given the diversity of these efforts, idiosyncratic conceptual underpinnings, and the lack of established curricular guidelines, it is best to evaluate these programs as a group instead of identifying a single institution that may meet some arbitrary standard.15 By extrapolating aspects of representative programs, model practices of delivery, program conception, and curricular content can be identified.

Observations in Describing "Best Curricular Practices"

During the course of the study, it became clear that a profound misunderstanding of the purpose of entrepreneurship curricula (as modeled from the business school) has permeated much of the arts academy. Business undergraduates typically learn basic accounting, managerial skills, and (broadly speaking) economics. Entrepreneurship programs in business schools provide context for these skills by focusing their curricular offerings and pedagogy on New Venture Creation. This is a contextual curriculum in the sense that it takes a broad skill set and demonstrates (both in the classroom and experientially) how those skills can be applied in a real-world environment. If arts administrators simply survey entrepreneurship curricula originating from business schools, they will no doubt see entrepreneurship equated with New Venture Creation- a contextual curriculum designed for a specific set of business skills wherein those students are steeped in the cultural and economic environment their ventures will inhabit.

Arts undergraduates learn arts skill sets, but they do not learn how to leverage these skills to create a sustainable career in the arts. Thus, if institutions undertake "arts entrepreneurship" efforts simply to address poor student outcomes based on a curriculum that contextualizes a different skill set, instead of creating curricular context for new and innovative outcomes for arts students, they will not be taking true advantage of an existing model. Ultimately, educators must trust the work of entrepreneurship theorists to inform their efforts rather than relying on business schools to provide curricula.

Best Curricular Practices

This section illustrates a best practices model based on representative programs and efforts. Figure 1 describes a typical "business-based" arts entrepreneurship curriculum composed primarily of courses originating from business schools, such as accounting, economics, finance, business communications, and so on. Figure 2 outlines a best-practice, "context-based" model, which is based on an amalgamation of innovative curricular practices in arts entrepreneurship programs identified in this study.

Business-based curricular models make up the majority of arts entrepreneurship efforts. For most institutions that use this model, the primary goal of the curriculum is to impart business knowledge to arts students through preexisting undergraduate courses typically found in business schools. Premised on the need to improve student outcomes, this model focuses on teaching a singular skill set (New Venture Creation), with some form of experiential education (mostly in the form of internships) as an example of contextualizing what occurs in the classroom. Although institutions encourage students to participate in internships or similar opportunities, many do not do so because of the demands of their degree plans. Because of the design of this curriculum, successful student outcomes are two dimensional. Some students will continue on a course that leads them down a traditional career path in the arts, regardless of their entrepreneurship education, whereas others typically replicate existing arts career or business models, such as developing teaching studios or selling art in the marketplace.16

The context-based model is premised on the idea that arts entrepreneurship curricula should reflect the economic and cultural environments arts students will inhabit when launching entrepreneurial ventures by transitioning them from higher education to a professional arts environment. This reflects an emerging realization across the country that a new curricular philosophy must be created to meet these goals. It is based on a broad conception of entrepreneurship, an integration of entrepreneurial theory, and a commitment to empowering students to self-develop new and innovative outcomes as practitioners in the arts. Similar to the business model, a context-based curriculum encompasses both skill-set acquisition (for-profit, nonprofit, basic business and communication literacy, and idiosyncratic professional development methods) and the contextualization of those skill sets through an understanding of arts policy, arts culture, arts management, and experiential opportunities. Outcomes for these students are multidimensional. Students may find themselves in traditional arts employment, but they will have a new sense of being in charge of their professional careers as practitioners, based on a broader understanding of the arts environment. Context-based curricula are informed by a definition, conception, or perception of entrepreneurship as an inclusive, empowering philosophy that transcends disciplinary bounds and leverages both the intellectual and artistic self.


During the course of the study, best practices were identified in each of the following areas: leadership, curricular philosophy, curricular offerings, formalizing the effort, partnering with other disciplines, and experiental opportunities.


* Envision new and innovative student outcomes, not simply "better outcomes."17 * Create an interdisciplinary team to design the effort.18

* Build consensus (not simply compromise) among administration and faculty.

* Start endowed programs with greater latitude to respond to changing student need and that are less susceptible to financial, regulatory, or curricular pressures.19

Curricular Philosophy

* Create or adopt a broad and inclusive definition of entrepreneurship that both informs and guides the effort.20

* Make empowerment, creativity, innovation, and opportunity recognition key philosophical underpinnings.21

* Consider business acumen as a skill set to be applied within an arts context.22

* Reconsider the place of older arts aesthetics.23

* Envision the effort as transitioning students from higher education to practitioners in arts professions through the contextualization of skill sets.24

* Commit to the entire student population, not just those in the performing arts.25

Curricular Offerings

* Make business curricula accessible and reflective of the needs of arts students.26

* Integrate aspects of arts and nonprofit culture, grantsmanship, arts administration, and professional development.27

* Develop awareness of the entrepreneurial practices of other disciplines.28

* Encourage creativity and innovate thinking through key foundational course offerings.29

* Create, or make available, holistic curricula that center on the creative application of skill sets.30

* Make student self-assessment a part of the effort.31

Formalizing the Effort

* Create programs, degrees, graduate certificates, and academic minors in arts entrepreneurship.32

* Consider integrating entrepreneurship/professional development into degree plans and course structure.33

* Use "entrepreneurship" in the titles of programs and classes.34

Partnering with Other Disciplines

* Business schools can provide exclusive curricula, disciplinary theory, and access to specialized programs and resources.35

* Become a part of a campus-wide effort.36

* Create opportunities for arts students to meaningfully interact with students from the business school.37

Experiential Opportunities

* Give students the opportunity to benefit financially from required experiential opportunities.38

* Design experiential components as effective methods of community engagement.39


What follows are outlines of two integrated and two nonintegrated arts entrepreneurship programs. It is hoped that administrators find these descriptions as useful starting points in developing new efforts. They are offered not necessarily as models, but as demonstrative of the varied expressions of arts entrepreneurship efforts.

The University of Arizona-Camarata Career Development Program.40

This program began as an in-house initiative by the Music Department's Advisory Board in 1996. With little financial resources but enthusiastic leadership, this effort is now integrated into the degree plan in the form of a required course in entrepreneurship for all undergraduates in music performance. The Camarata program is responsible for this class and offers assistance to students through an extensive lending library, student performance opportunities, resume development, one-on-one career consultations, workshops, and an internship program.41 Unique to this program are the wide variety and quantity of guest speakers addressing professional development topics. The program focuses on training students to seek out their own performance opportunities by exposing them to business and marketing skills.

Eastman School of Music-Institute for Music Leadership.42

The Institute for Music Leadership (IML) was created in 2001 with a gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The IML is a stand- alone, nonintegrated program with dedicated executive leadership and staff, separate from all degree programs. It is a hub for Eastman's professional development, entrepreneurship, diploma, certificate, internship, and partnership programs.43 Pertinent to this study is the Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program (ALP), which was created in 1996 and (administratively) resides within the IML. The ALP offered sixteen courses during the spring 2006 semester. These included music entrepreneurship,44 professional development, intellectual property rights, recording, marketing, grantsmanship, and music leadership. Students can earn an arts leadership certificate by taking four half-semester courses and two semesters of internship. In addition to guest lectures, the ALP also sponsors a business-plan competition, the Eastman New Venture Challenge.45 Winning students are eligible for future arts venture funding in addition to the $2,000 first prize. The school also offers the services of the Office of Careers and Professional Development to alumni for the duration of their professional careers.46

Maryland Institute College of Art-Professional Development Curricula.47

The Maryland Institute College of Art's (MICA) professional development program exists as a tripartite effort: integrated professional development education in the classroom, the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development, and a distinct collection of entrepreneurship courses offered through the Division of Continuing Studies.48 The professional development component is integrated into each core course, guiding students through a series of transitions over the course of their baccalaureate career through personal evaluation, acquisition of professional development skill sets, and finally, to a professional career in the arts. MICA has developed a set of specific student competencies at the end of each undergraduate year to guide the effort. The Center for Career Development is available to all students, faculty, and alumni. It offers weekly workshops that are coordinated with the professional development program and administrates MICA's internship program and grantsmanship activities. The entrepreneurship curriculum was designed with input from alumni, and all courses are available to current and former students. This effort is in partnership with the University of Baltimore's Merick School of Business. A recently added course merges business school students from the University of Baltimore with the MICA undergraduate population.

The University of Colorado at Boulder-Entrepreneurship Center for Music.49

Perhaps the most well-known nonintegrated arts entrepreneurship program, the Entrepreneurship Center for Music was started with a grant from the Louis and Harold Price Foundation50 in 1998. The center offers six courses in entrepreneurship and business skills development, internships, workshops, assistance with resume development, and one-on-one consultations. In addition to sponsoring a student interest group, the Music Business Associates,51 the center has expanded its collaborative activities to include all arts areas on the Boulder campus. Their Web site offers an extensive array of professional development aids for students, including marketing, newsletters, and opportunities for funding and student performance. The center has also created a unique community engagement effort, the Emerging Artist Community Outreach program, which matches local musical directors with students acting as both performers and clinicians.


It all starts from a threshold of awareness.

-Michael Ellison, Bowling Green State University

This study has identified three primary factors responsible for the success of arts entrepreneurship programs: reassessing the ninteenth-century romantic aesthetic in arts education, building supportive and visionary leadership, and defining entrepreneurship in a manner that informs and guides the effort.

The romantic perception that financial success defiles art remains a stumbling block for administrators contemplating entrepreneurship programs. In comparing those who were amenable to arts entrepreneurship efforts with those who were not, much of the rhetoric supporting ninteenth-century aesthetics was crafted to defend art. This did not come from an elitist stance but rather from a genuine concern for maintaining a high level of arts presentation. 52 For this group, the benefits of an arts entrepreneurship program did not outweigh the time taken away from a student's arts studies in an already demanding four-year degree plan.53 As suggested below, new definitions or conceptions of entrepreneurship emerging from outside the business school can assist departments in negotiating this issue.

Engaging orthodox belief structures about art and its relationship to entrepreneurship curricula, however, is necessary during the program development stage. Arts educators must reexamine the aesthetic relationship of the art object to its financial inception. Simply put, artists need to eat to create art-and they always have. The decision makers creating arts entrepreneurship curricula must confront the paradigm that views the mere mention of a relationship between money and art as pseudoreligious heresy and aesthetic treason. As one leading administrator opined, "Money does not ruin art, money enables art." For those institutions that have created programs in the past five years, negotiating this issue has proved less problematic than originally imagined. This suggests a profound aesthetic change emerging in arts educational culture that should result in the proliferation of these programs. Certainly, the number of institutions beginning their efforts in the fall semesters of 2006 and 2007 seems to affirm this trend (see appendix A).

Romanticism and entrepreneurship can coexist in arts departments. In fact, some argue that an arts entrepreneurship education not only keeps aesthetic traditions in place, but that it also serves to disseminate the art some believe is at risk. Directing the talent and drive of competently trained and entrepreneurial arts students into building audiences in arts-starved environments would not only increase demand for young artists, but art itself. Through gifted and entrepreneurial students, arts higher education has an opportunity to preserve an aesthetic tradition in new ways, create new and innovative outcomes for students, and build new audiences simultaneously. Leadership, vision, and support at high levels of administration are key to these efforts. It appears that a new guard of administrators (both at the middle and executive levels) is beginning to support and lead this effort. After interviewing those who directly oversee arts entrepreneurship programs, it is clear that these efforts have received complete and enthusiastic support. In fact, some institutions are now planning to expand their present offerings with significant financial support from community leaders and alumni-not large foundations.

Perhaps the most profound finding in this study concerns the definition or conception of entrepreneurship by those who envision, design, and champion these efforts. The lack of consensus by entrepreneurial theorists has forced arts administrators down a path of least resistance by equating "entrepreneurship" with New Venture Creation instead of envisioning the term in an arts context.54 Without a broader meaning informing these efforts, students are hamstrung by myopic concepts of "entrepreneurship." Program designers and committees should develop a broader view of this discourse by investigating theories outside the business disciplines, such as those appearing in the cognitive, behavioral, and social sciences. For example, the theories advanced by Kelly Shaver and Linda Scott can be applied directly to arts entrepreneurship programs.55 Their theory centers on the development of the choice process-that is, the choice to pursue an entrepreneurial venture. If arts departments partially conceive entrepreneurship education in the arts as empowering students to choose this lifestyle through an honest reflection of their potential as an entrepreneur, programs can be created that do not interfere with romantic ideals of art because these conceptions are not based on a fiscal definition of entrepreneurship. Of course, this brief example does not reflect the totality of Shaver and Scott's arguments, but it demonstrates that through new thinking in entrepreneurship theory, some obstacles in developing these efforts can be removed. Additionally, arts educators should deeply consider how fiscal definitions of entrepreneurship guide the development, curricular structure, and potential outcomes for students. A few business classes will not make a student into an art entrepreneur. However, a broader definition could create a larger vanguard of arts professionals whose outcomes can only be imagined.

In an effort to explain the diversity of programs and their philosophical trajectories, it is clear that a tremendous amount of confusion exists. With each arts subdiscipline possessing its own degree of aesthetic imperative, a lack of a unified conceptual underpinning, and no clear definition of "entrepreneurship" (to name but three issues), it is no wonder that arts entrepreneurship education lacks cohesion. Without accepted curricular guidelines and models of good practice, this will continue; the two primary philosophical streams- New Venture Creation and Transitioning- discussed in this article will remain segregated instead of integrated.

Arts entrepreneurship education will remain an idiomatic and diverse enterprise without a concerted effort to gain conceptual clarity. The almost ethereal nature of entrepreneurship will give birth to programs that mimic those unformed perceptions and subjective experiences. In the end, students are the consumers of these perceptions, and their professional success or failure will partly depend on how program designers realize their collective bias. With the stakes so high for students in this present arts economy, they deserve more than a perception of "entrepreneurship"- they deserve the intellectual engagement and foresight of those who make these programs a reality.56


This study was funded by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In addition to the support of the foundation, I thank Interim Dean Douglas Dempster of the College of Fine Arts and Richard Cherwitz, director of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program, at the University of Texas at Austin for their valuable assistance and support during the course of this study. I also thank all who agreed to be a part of this study; the cordial and generous nature of all interviewed is greatly appreciated.


1. Because of the diverse nature of established entrepreneurship programs in the fine arts, onsite interviews were selected as the best method to survey these efforts.

2. Examining every possible permutation of arts entrepreneurial education was not the purpose of this study. Rather, by studying representative programs, or those that were somehow unique, I was able to focus on core issues. Note that the study included institutions that do not offer arts entrepreneurship curricula; the thoughtful comments of these administrators were very helpful in determining barriers to the adoption of these efforts.

3. The "best practice" results of this study reflect an aggregate of these programs and do not attempt to identify a particular institution. See Appendix A for a representative list of institutions that offer some form of entrepreneurial education to fine arts students.

4. Because of the lack of accepted definitions or distinctions, I have used the term aspect. Framework, expression, or context may also describe the relationship of entrepreneurship education to professional development.

5. See Millikin's Blue Connection project (http:// www.millikinblueconnection.com) and the collaboration between Babson College and the Frank W. Olin School of Engineering (http:// www.olin.edu/about_olin/news/pr_single.asp?id=125).

6. Note that this is a rough description of existing programs. Some are adopting unique approaches very different from those described here.

7. Note that there are two additional emergent streams receiving less attention. "Bridging" should be considered a middle ground between the "traditional" and "transitioning" models. It focuses on bridging two skill sets, artistic and business, by exposing students to the vista of arts culture. Another stream using the "leadership" moniker is somewhat distinct from the aforementioned models. In this case, the goal is to create "arts leaders" in communities. Still an ephemeral construct, the "leadership" model incorporates aspects of social entrepreneurship, typical leadership education, and nonprofit acumen. In this case, students become agents of audience development. For more on leadership in arts management, see Anthony S. Rhine, "A Great Confusion in Theater Management," Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society 36, no. 1 (2006): 33-47.

8. See http://www.esm.rochester.edu/IML/ for the Eastman School of Music's Institute for Music Leadership course offerings.

9. Technology may play a part; the larger market for design and computer arts students is clearer than their studio art colleagues.

10. A solution to this problem has come from administrators at Wake Forest University. They, among many others, have recently created a campus-wide entrepreneurship minor that integrates, supports, and augments their strong liberal arts heritage. Faculty members in theater, for example, found little conflict between the mission of a liberal arts institution and entrepreneurship education.

11. It should be noted that, although a number of potential models exist, most administrators were unaware of their existence.

12. See Richard Cherwitz and Gary Beckman, "Re-envisioning the Arts PhD: Intellectual Entrepreneurship and the Intellectual Arts Leader," Arts Education Policy Review 107, no. 4 (2006): 13-20.

13. See http://www.ec4music.com/student_projects.shtml.

14. When asked about solving the delivery challenges of arts entrepreneurship education, students gave mixed responses. However, many agreed that degree plan integration was not the best method. Students suggested dedicated summer sessions or a postgraduation semester/year. Note that the latter proposal exists as a part of the Eastman School of Music's Take Five Scholars Program. See http:// www.esm.rochester.edu/degrees/t5.php.

15. Without an agreed-on definition of arts entrepreneurship education (i.e., programs, curricula, best practices, and so on), there may be informal, long-term efforts in existence that could meet these metrics. Again, this demonstrates the need for a clarification of "entrepreneurship" in this context. For example, when does an informal professional development workshop cross into the realm of entrepreneurial educational practice? What defines a unique or idiosyncratic curricular offering versus a commitment to teach arts entrepreneurship? These are not simply questions of semantics. Without defining what entrepreneurship education in this context means, is, or is not, we simply cannot accurately identify what truly exists as entrepreneurship education.

16. Because of a lack of longitudinal studies on the topic, a discussion of student outcomes is anecdotal. The conclusions concerning outcome given here reflect the interviews conducted during the course of this study.

17. Many institutions studied have implicitly adopted this theme.

18. During the design process of the University of Iowa's BA in performing arts entrepreneurship, David Nelson (then-director of the Performing Arts Division) assembled a team of interdisciplinary faculty to solicit their views and expertise. To date, the University of Iowa remains the only public institution in the United States to offer this degree.

19. For example, Eastman's IML is an endowed program. Note that Joseph Roberts, professor at Columbia College Chicago's Arts, Entertainment and Media Management division, holds a Coleman Foundation Endowed Chair in Arts Entrepreneurship. This is the only endowed chair in the country for the field. See http:// www.kauffman.org/research.cfm?itemID=417 (accessed August 7, 2007). 20. Anthony Mendes, director of the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership (AEL), emphasized the importance of defining entrepreneurship. This program's design and curricular/workshop offerings stem from this broad and inclusive view. Faculty support is particularly emphasized in this effort. At this time, however, only one arts division has taken advantage of this resource.

21. As one of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's eight Kauffman Campuses, Wake Forest University is committed to teaching creativity as a part of this effort. See the University Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts, http://entrepreneurship.wfu.edu (accessed August 7, 2007).

22. Most formal efforts explicitly place business knowledge in an arts context, although in differing degrees.

23. Every entrepreneurship program examined in this study addressed this issue uniquely, yet ultimately balanced their initiatives with these aesthetics in place. It is important to note that according to decision makers, the quality of applied arts instruction did not diminish when arts entrepreneurship programs were initiated.

24. This includes exposing students to emerging economic initiatives, social entrepreneurship, arts culture, audience development, and traditional lines of arts employment. The Eastman School of Music's Institute for Music Leadership is premised on this belief. See also the Maryland Institute College of Art for their extraordinary effort in this regard. Both programs are described further.

25. There is a major gap in these efforts, especially at the graduate level. See Cherwitz and Beckman, Arts Education Policy Review, and Gary Beckman, "Career Development for Music Students: Towards an Holistic Approach," South Central Music Bulletin vol. 3, no. 1 (2004): 13-18.

26. The University of Colorado at Boulder offers specialized business classes through the office of Continuing Education and Professional Studies. See http://www.colorado.edu/ ContinuingEducation/cubic.htm. Likewise, the University of Iowa's BA in performing arts entrepreneurship has two required one-credit online courses in basic business skills for nonbusiness students.

27. Note that these competencies circumscribe the arts environment in which students will operate (the contextual portion of this model's curricular design).

28. Similar courses in disparate disciplines can inform and inspire students to engage in innovative arts enterprises. As a part of its Entrepreneurship in Liberal Arts program, Wake Forest has developed an interdisciplinary roundtable series to identify common entrepreneurship practices. Also, Arizona State University now offers a course on community engagement through the arts. Note that technology transfer offices may provide some modeling in this respect.

29. Wake Forest University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Nebraska offer creativity and innovation courses to all students. Note that these are not included as foundational courses in any arts entrepreneurship degree plan. See Susan F. Lafferty, "Overview of Education in Creativity and Problem-Solving in Four-Year Colleges and Universities," Academy for Entrepreneurial Research, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, 2004, concerning these curricula. http:// www.business.uiuc.edu/ael/resources/interesting_stuff/Creativity .April2005.pdf (accessed August 7, 2007).

30. The University of Iowa's BA in Performing Arts Entrepreneurship focuses on two arts disciplines and has both a for- profit and nonprofit component. Bowling Green State University's graduate degree in Arts Management has recently included New Venture Creation and entrepreneurship courses.

31. The Entrepreneurship Center for Music, artsstart.org, and the University of Texas at Austin's Entrepreneurship in the Arts elective all implement this component as a critical starting place for students considering an entrepreneurial career in the arts. This assists students in determining their entrepreneurial characteristics and suitability for entrepreneurial ventures.

32. The University of Southern Maine's art department has created a BA in art entrepreneurship. Both the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (still in the design process) and the University of North Texas offer graduate certificates, and the Columbia College Chicago offers a BA in arts entrepreneurship and small business management. Formalized efforts can eliminate curricular dilution and assure the longevity of the initiative.

33. Most decision makers, faculty, and students envisioned entrepreneurship education as separate from degree plans. The University of Arizona's music performance degrees (through their Camerata program) and Lynn University, however, require at least one entrepreneurship course in their degree plans. Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) integrates professional development education into each core class.

34. This simple practice can bring attention to the effort and assist students in locating these classes.

35. Most formal arts entrepreneurship efforts are partnered in some way with business schools. The University of North Texas has partnered with the departments of journalism and management to create a graduate certificate in music entrepreneurship and promotion; the University of Colorado at Boulder's Entrepreneurship Center for Music has partnered with the Leeds School of Business, and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has partnered with the University of Baltimore's Merick School of Business. To demonstrate another interdisciplinary connection, Babson College has partnered with the Olin College of Engineering to integrate entrepreneurship into engineering curricula. See http:// www.olin.edu/about_olin /news/pr_single.asp?id=125.

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) worked very closely with the Division of Performing Arts at the University of Iowa to establish a BA in performing arts entrepreneurship. This collaboration was a positive experience for both. In fact, JPEC has offered to develop courses specifically for the degree. Although it has not been required thus far, this demonstrates that educators in business schools can be responsive to the unique requirements that fine arts students (and their departmental administration) demand. The addition of a performing arts entrepreneurship degree was not opposed by JPEC or university executive administration.

36. Campus-wide efforts in promoting entrepreneurial education are not limited to the Kauffman School Initiative. There is a growing trend in which institutions are authorizing campus- wide undergraduate minors in entrepreneurship.

37. Both Millikin University and Beloit College have programs where students design and operate an institutionally sanctioned art gallery. As a part of Millikin's Blue Connection, arts and business undergraduates attend an arts entrepreneurship class.

38. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in addition to it's annual workshop, Entrepreneurship Days, has just such a component in its proposed graduate certificate in music entrepreneurship.

39. Arguably the most entrepreneurially focused school examined as a part of this study, the Arizona State University's Herberger College of Fine Arts supports a plethora of arts and community engagement efforts. Herberger College for Kids, the Herberger College at Large, Artswork, Dance Area Repertory Theater, and the Borderlands Project are a sampling of these efforts. See http:// herbergercollege.asu.edu/community/. Note that the Herberger College of Fine Arts does not have a single course offering with the title entrepreneurship.

40. See http://www.arts.arizona.edu/careerconnections/.

41. "Careers in Music: A Practical Course for Career Musicians" was offered in the spring 2006 semester. See http:// www.arts.arizona.edu/careerconnections/syllabus_online.htm.

42. See http://www.esm.rochester.edu/IML.

43. See http://www.esm.rochester.edu/IML/faqs.html.

44. The entrepreneurship curriculum was funded by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and is new to the Arts Leadership Curriculum. It was offered for the first time in the fall of 2005. See http://www.esm.rochester.edu/IML/kauff.html.

45. See http://www.esm.rochester.edu/IML/ kauffevents.html#newventure. Business-plan competitions are a stock programmatic offering in many entrepreneurship departments. This appears to be the first in a fine arts environment.

46. The Office of Careers and Professional Development is a part of the Institute for Music Leadership.

47. See http://www.mica.edu.

48. See http://www.mica.edu/PROGRAMS/cs/.

49. See http://www.ec4music.com/

50. See http://www.pricefoundation.org/.

51. This is a student organization focused on experiential opportunities in the music industries. See http://www.ec4music.com/ mba_club.shtml.

52. Certainly, the quality of presentation is always a concern, but this quality (or "cream rises to the top") argument suggests that we do not believe our educational institutions are producing students with sufficient artistic skills to thrive in a diverse arts environment. Yet, here lies the intersection of romanticism and reality in arts higher education. It is unreasonable to think that every student enrolled will have the talent and skills necessary to rise to the top of their profession. The moral question, then, is why do institutions invest resources in those who will not reach the top of their profession without preparing them for suitable career alternatives in the arts?

53. To reiterate, the theater academy sees the topic differently. Exposing students to many aspects of theater production during their undergraduate years in an effort to increase their marketability has outweighed this aesthetic concern common in other arts disciplines. 54. Note that creativity, innovation, and opportunity recognition are generally accepted aspects of entrepreneurship.

55. Kelly Shaver and Linda Scott, "Person, Process, Choice: The Psychology of New Venture Creation," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 16, no. 2 (1991): 23-45.

56. "Adventuring" was the first aspect of entrepreneurship proposed by Lynn Book, instructor of creativity at Wake Forest University during my interview with her in November 2005. This simple word describes a critical philosophical construct in arts entrepreneurship education, both for academics creating new programs and for students taking on a changing arts landscape. As we create our discipline and our curricula, through our efforts large and small, we must "adventure" this process. There are no roadmaps in this effort, only opportunities-to paraphrase Joseph Roberts, whose quote appears at the beginning of this article. Those who participate and lead this effort have an unmistakable sense of enthusiasm and deep moral imperative-from deans, to directors, to chairpersons, to professors. Their directive is not simply to improve student outcomes. A shared sense of exploration and excitement permeated conversations with such people, all reinforcing a belief in the students they see every day. What is unique about these individuals is an implicit and sometimes-intuitive sense that students' own artistic capital-long perceived as superfluous in our cultural orthodoxy-will no longer be squandered.

Gary D. Beckman is a visiting professor at the Univerity of South Carolina. He is also the director of academic programs for the Brevard Conference on Music Entrepreneurship, is the founder and editor of the Arts Entrepreneurship Educator's Network, and recently completed the first nationwide study of arts entrepreneurship efforts in higher education, funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Gary's articles on the topic of arts entrepreneurship and leadership education in the arts have appeared in the College Music Society's Symposium, Arts Education Policy Review, and the South Central Music Bulletin. Copyright (c) 2007 Heldref Publications



The universities listed below have classes with "entrepreneurship" in the title or have classes/programs exclusively dedicated to entrepreneurship as a method for arts professional development. I have not included institutions offering generic undergraduate entrepreneurship minors. This is meant to be a listing of representative efforts and should not be taken as inclusive.

Integrated Programs or Curricula

University of Arizona-The School of Music's Camarata Program. Classroom instruction in entrepreneurship is required by all performance majors.

Lynn University-one class in entrepreneurship is required in the degree plan for all performance majors.

Maryland Institute College of Art-professional development is integrated into each corelevel course.

External Programs

University of Colorado at Boulder-The Entrepreneurship Center for Music.

This program offers classes in music entrepreneurship, oversees internships and community outreach opportunities.

Eastman School of Music-The Institute for Music Leadership. This program offers more than twenty classes per year and has been a model from its inception.


University of Southern Maine-Undergraduate major with a concentration in arts entrepreneurship.

University of Iowa-BA in performing arts entrepreneurship. This is offered through the Division of Performing Arts and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Northern New Mexico College-AA in arts entrepreneurship.


Eastman School of Music-certificate in arts leadership.

University of North Texas-graduate certificate in music and visual-art entrepreneurship.

Montana State University-Great Falls-creative arts enterprise program.

Webster University-undergraduate certificate in music or photography entrepreneurship.

Maryland Institute College of Art-certificate in creative entrepreneurship offered through Continuing Studies.

University of Nebraska at Lincoln-graduate certificate in arts entrepreneurship (this program is in the planning stages and is not yet implemented).


The University of Nebraska at Lincoln-Entrepreneurship Day, an annual event now in its third year.

Self-Employment in the Arts Conference (SEA)-an annual event, now appearing across the country.

Arts Departments with Active Participation in Campus-wide Entrepreneurship Initiatives

Wake Forest University-theater

University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign-art

Washington University in St. Louis-art and design

Arts Management Programs with an Entrepreneurship Emphasis

Bowling Green State University

Columbia College Chicago

Arts Policy Programs with an Entrepreneurship Emphasis

The Ohio State University

Colleges and Universities with Electives Dedicated to Arts Entrepreneurship

The University of Texas at Austin

Western Carolina University

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Florida International University

Nascent Programs, Initiatives, Workshop Development, and Electives

University of Nebraska at Lincoln-this program is in the planning stages.

North Carolina School for the Arts

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Kansas

Innovative Courses in Arts Entrepreneurship

Wake Forest University-Border Crossings: Creativity in the Mix and the Margins. (http://www.wfu.edu/organizations/entrepreneurship/ faculty/oldCurriculum.php)

George Mason Univer