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Arts Enterprises: Structures and Strategies


Units: 12


Course Description

Arts Enterprises: Structures and Strategy offers emerging arts managers and leaders a deep understanding of the business structures and strategies involved in running a successful 21st century arts enterprises.  Perhaps more importantly, the course provides students with the opportunity to dissect and understand the complexities of the local, national, and international forces that make running an arts-based business unique.   Almost daily, arts managers are faced with challenges and problems that affect internal operation dynamics and external stakeholder relations.  A solid structure of values and strategies provide the frameworks to find successful solutions. During the course, students discover and analyze the operations of well-run, adaptive arts organizations and investigate moments of failure in order to uncover lessons learned. The course provides a lens into the nexus of institution-artist-audience within a framework of mission-impact and ROI.


This course provides students with both the fundamentals and the emerging practices within arts enterprises. The course also creates a foundation for subsequent, advanced coursework. Students will encounter the economic and sociologic theories necessary to understand for profit and nonprofit enterprises. These theories become grounded by engaging in real-life experience, case studies, and course-exercises.  The course is organized in 5 modules: Introduction / Frameworks; Public Policy/Cultural Policy; Business Structures; Governance & Leadership; Business Strategies & Strategic Planning


For the purpose of this course, arts enterprises will be defined as those that create relationships between artists and audiences. Arts enterprises include, but are not limited to: orchestras, opera companies, music ensembles, museums, arts centers, theatre companies, presenting organizations, multi-media centers, artist agencies, galleries, media and dance companies.

Learning Outcomes

Explain the difference between the arts and the creative industries and how the political, social and economic shift to the latter is affecting the arts.

Understand the varying roles of economic impact, social impact, and intrinsic impact  on arts / cultural policy and practice

Analyze the various trade organizations that encourage and support the professionalization of arts enterprises.

Understand the distinct aspects and differences between mission, vision and value statements for a nonprofit arts enterprise

Recognize & dissect an organization’s business model, management structure, and strategies.

Compare the differences and similarities between various for-profit and not-for-profit structures and operations and the factors that determine business structure choice.

Understand governance and the role of a Board in corporate structures.

Assess an institution’s 990 to determine the financial strategies & health of an organization.

Design an organization’s financial income and expenses

Classify stakeholder positions an organization must addresses for success or failure.

Evaluate the impact of place, geography, economics, politics and various social forces on an organization’s structure and day-to-day operations.

Identify an organization’s strategies with respect to HR structures including guilds, unions, artists and agents against a backdrop of common HR practices.

Understand the role of strategies and planning, comparing strategic and business planning, in a 21st century nonprofit arts enterprise

Create a business pitch with linked strategies, market analysis, income-expenses projections, and human capital required

Prerequisites Description