CSU East Bay Launches California’s first On-line Professional Certificate in Arts Management

Responding to demand for skilled leaders 
in changing not-for-profit arts sector

The not-for-profit arts field faces an urgent need for trained leaders with management skills, partly the result of a generational change as those who entered the field in the 1970s and 80s are now retiring.  As organizational founders leave and the field matures, arts organization managers, board directors and foundations ask where the trained leaders of the future will come from.  There are few college undergraduate programs in arts administration, and graduate programs that exist focus mainly on academics and research.

The project team for development of the Arts Management Career Development Certificate includes Thomas Hird, Chair CSU East Bay, Theatre and Dance, Kathy Ferber, Program Director, CSU East Bay, Nonprofit Management Certificate Program Division of Continuing and International Education; Margaret Perry, Chair, CSU San Bernardino, Theatre Arts;  Anne Smith, Ph.D. Course Syllabus Developer; and C2Arts associates Sabrina Klein, Ph.D.  Creative Education Consultant and Belinda Taylor Marketing, Communications and Branding Consultant. Amy Kweskin will be teaching Leadership in the Arts - The Arts Sector beginning February 22.

In response to the changing needs of the profession, Cal State University East Bay has designed a new online Arts Management Career Development Certificate program that launches in January, 2010.  According to Thomas Hird, Chair CSU East Bay, Theatre and Dance, this is one of the first professional arts management certificate program West of the Rockies, and one of the nation’s first on-line certificates in arts management.

Professor Hird attended the national meeting of the Association of Arts Administration Educators in April 2009, where he was able to gauge the value of the proposed online certificate.  “Every session I attended at the conference and often in the hallways between sessions, the conversations returned to the pressing need to identify and encourage emerging leaders,” Hird reports. “Career development and enhancement is an urgent and ongoing call from the professionals in the field.” 

Hird notes that while the commercial arts represent a significant business in California, the USA, and the world, the average growth rate of employment in the nonprofit sector already outstrips that in the business and government sectors nationally.  The arts themselves comprise a growing segment of the nonprofit sector.  As the needs of arts organizations grow, there will be  an increasing need for qualified, knowledgeable board members, administrators, staff and volunteers.

Hird and his colleagues surveyed nearly 100 California arts leaders as part of designing the new program, and they confirmed the need, with a consensus that such a certificate would be of significant value to the field.  Survey respondents identified a need for both emerging and mid-career arts administrators to have access to professional development.

Bruce Davis, director of Arts Council Silicon Valley, points out that many have entered the nonprofit arts field from “a narrow-discipline background, and eventually they will need a broader more expansive background to succeed, especially with fundraising, marketing and community relations.”           

The Arts Management Career Development Program will engage students in practical lessons that apply directly to issues and practice on the job. Classes will be taught by professionals recommended by a network of professionals from our affiliates network.   East Bay residents will have the opportunity to take advantage of onsite classes when they can be offered at the CSUEB Oakland Professional Development and Conference Center, easily accessible via public transportation or car. The program will also partner with a network of CSU campuses and affiliated arts organizations that offer related subject matter.

The first course to be offered online in the CSU EB Arts Management Certificate will focus on Arts and Culture Policy Making  taught by Anne Smith, Ph.D.,  former Chair of the Arts Administration Department and Professor of Arts at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.  The class will pay particular attention to the scope and impact of related federal, state and local government legislation and budget appropriations on artists, arts organizations and arts education.  The deadline to register for the course is January 8 and start date is January 11.  For more, go to CSU East Bay website http://www.Ce.csueastbay.edu/certificate/arts_management/.
To register online: https://www.conted.csueastbay.edu/ec2k/Heading.asp?heading_id=222.   The fee is $646 for the 6-week class, which earns 3 units. 

To complete a certificate, students are required to take 9 core CSU EB courses in leadership, marketing and communications, human resources, and development, and an additional set of courses depending upon their choice of concentration in management, development or marketing. 

The new arts management certificate program has the potential to alter the landscape of arts administration practice and training, and fill a currently unmet need.  The certificate is targeted to three groups of potential students:  1) employees and volunteers in nonprofit and commercial arts organizations who do have discipline-specific training in the field;  2) undergraduates with a major or minor in an arts discipline but without training in arts administration (currently not part of the curriculum); and 3) business students training in business or public administration with a strong interest in the arts.
At the national level, there are only 18 recognized arts administration programs in the country, none in the western United States.  There is a heavy emphasis on graduate programs with a focus on research over practical application, so a need exists for undergraduate programs with hands-on experience.  Young people are particularly challenged to find jobs in the field, and mid-career professionals are often siloed in their single area of expertise, with little chance for comprehensive experience and limited upward mobility. 

Today’s arts manager faces a continuing need for updated skills, particularly in financial management and technology-supported marketing and audience development.  Career development needs are ongoing, where audience development, artist rights and relationships, and advocacy on behalf of both artists and the value of arts engagement in each community fall outside the training in other nonprofit administration programs.

The CSU EB program addresses the broader California State University’s New Framework for Action objectives, which include workforce development, reaching broader constituencies, personal/lifelong learning opportunities, alternative instructional delivery, and creativity in development.  Because of its on-line format, the new program also has the  potential to reach international students in arts administration.