Nov 20, 2012
Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College and the College of Fine Arts recently kicked off the yearlong 25th anniversary celebration of its Masters of Arts Management (MAM) program with the inaugural Symposium on Arts Management and Innovation. The one-day event featured a series of interactive lectures and workshops led by 12 local and national MAM alumni, a keynote presentation from ArtsJournal’s Doug McLennan, and a cruise of Pittsburgh’s rivers.
“We are thrilled to celebrate 25 years of cultivating innovative arts managers by showcasing the groundbreaking work of our alumni in this inaugural symposium,” said Kathryn Heidemann, MAM program director.
Offered through a joint partnership between CMU’s Heinz College and College of Fine Arts, the MAM is designed to create innovative leaders in the visual and performing arts. The program combines rigorous finance, marketing, technology and fundraising coursework with practical experience to prepare graduates to excel in public, private or nonprofit arts environments. The MAM program also offers two innovative education experiences: Future Tenant, a downtown Pittsburgh gallery and performance space, and Technology in the Arts, a nationally recognized research initiative.
"The symposium was a neat view into the wonderful work MAM alums are doing, and the boat party was a fun way to celebrate those accomplishments,” added Rachael Wilkinson, a current MAM student.
The groundbreaking MAM program boasts nearly 600 graduates who work at some of the most prestigious arts institutions in the United States and beyond, including The Guggenheim Museum, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Opera, The Smithsonian, The National Endowment for the Arts, Edinburgh Festival (UK), Mori Art Museum (Japan) and more. With a rigorous management degree that transcends all disciplines, many MAM alumni have also landed successful roles at organizations such as Google, eBay, Amazon, and others.
On the Symposium and the challenges arts managers face, Heidemann said:
“As arts managers in the new era, we are faced with the challenge to redefine audience engagement, change the experience of how we consume artistic content, deliver new best practices in the field, and work together to develop a sustainable model for today’s arts organizations.”
“This Symposium is merely a conversation-starter to address these shifts, foster peer partnerships, and cultivate future action,” she said.
Alumni who attended agreed that the Symposium and evening cruise served as excellent kickoff events for the 25th anniversary year.
“The MAM 25th Anniversary Symposium connected me to colleagues past, present and future,” said Brad Carlin, the managing director of the Austin-based Fusebox Festival and a 2006 MAM alumnus. “Gatherings like this are excellent reminders of how important the Heinz School and the MAM program are in strengthening and defining your professional network.”
“Good food, drink, and conversation, even a spending a few hours in Hamburg Hall, made for great experiences and I look forward to next year's Symposium,” Carlin said.
Sarah Benvenuti, also a 2006 MAM alumna and a current member of the Heinz College Alumni Association Board, said the Symposium provided an opportunity to get a deeper look at the amazing work being done by MAM alumni around the world.
“The MAM program has such a fantastic reputation and history, but to see in person the breadth of talent and creativity amongst the alumni was really inspiring,” said Benvenuti. “And of course, there really ain't no party like a MAM party, cause a MAM party has flash mobs and funny hats."
The Symposium was extremely well received by local, national and international media outlets including Pop City, Americans for the Arts, India Education Diary, and International Arts Manager Magazine.
Moving forward, the MAM program, along with the College of Fine Arts, will be honored to host a pre-conference for the 2013 Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders event. The Emerging Leaders Pre-conference will take place on June 13th and 14th and will feature arts leadersfrom across the country for a special pre-conference dedicated to helping emerging leaders in the arts advance their careers.
Interested in supporting Heinz College students and initiatives like those featured in this story? Click here for more information.