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Course Details

Course Number: 93-812

Planning and Managing Performing Arts Programming

Units: 6

The performing arts industry has had a varied and lively history in the United States for the last 150 years (essentially once train travel allowed for broad distribution of artists across the nation). Performing arts organizations produce works to transform audiences via one or several intersecting art forms. Success in selection (planning) and implementation (managing) of these programs is neither easy nor consistent. Driving and complicating the situation is an Artistic Director – an individual with an aesthetic framework and artistic goal set within the physical, geographical and financial situation of the company. Combining and mixing these forces is frequently messy and always an adventure. Organizational history provides some structures to the process, but each season brings new artistic and managerial challenges. If a career of ‘doing the same thing’ is the goal then a different field might be recommended.

The first half of the course will examine considerations and approaches to planning and managing with an eye on performing arts programming. The second half will be an investigation into the frameworks of season selection (programs) and the process as experienced by local companies (including interviews with leaders in the organizations) and case studies of select artistic leaders across the country. Successful planning and managing must accept, embrace, and celebrate the unique caliber of each organization’s leader and artist – hence, readings and experiences about the performing arts as aesthetic projects are critical to successfully planning and managing performing arts programs. How can you take an artistic framework into a program, articulate it through a lens of a theory of change and/or a logic model and create a plan to achieve then document success?


Brett Ashley Crawford