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External Relations: Arts Marketing and PR


Units: 6


The success of arts and cultural institutions in the 21st century and beyond will depend upon creative, unconventional and coordinated long-range approaches to communicating with their stakeholders. Communication is a core activity of any arts enterprise.  External Relations frames and holds together the brand of all stakeholder communications across earned and contributed income streams (marketing = earned; development = contributed).  Today’s communication professionals are crucial to their arts organizations; they maintain existing audiences, secure new audiences, create future donors, and create the brand for the institution.  They interact with all aspects of the organization, from personnel to fundraising.


This course provides readings and professional presentations to guide the understanding of successful marketing and communication, while following a project-based method to allow students to investigate hands-on the opportunities addressing the changes within the arts audience and the shifting digital landscape for marketing the arts in the United States. The focus of the course is marketing and communications within a nonprofit arts organization, while recognizing that the audience doesn’t typically distinguish the difference; yet, due to budget and purpose, marketing not-for-profit arts organizations is significantly different as compared to a for-profit entertainment venture. This course will provide each student with marketing principles and theories as well as opportunities to actualize theories with assignments and a final project utilizing current technologies.


The course requires active, practical engagement and intellectual rigor. 

Learning Outcomes

To examine and understand the basic principles and theories of strategic marketing and public relations for the arts, including: - Strategic Communication Matrices aka media or communication plans - The ‘hailing’ effect in target marketing and how to segment then target across multiple channels - Loyalty programs (memberships, subscriptions, flex plans, etc) - Branding vs Image vs Position (organization and its products) - Pricing & Discounting approaches to reach audiences - Public Relations: Working with press agents and the press - Paid Advertising Options - Web 2.0 (from the actual web site to strategically implementing social media campaigns across determined channels and email) - Direct mail & other printed items: how to work with a graphic designer, negotiate with a print house, and select logos and images. To spark creativity and experimentation in developing and analyzing marketing materials and activities. To gain skills in marketing as necessary to succeed in the field and your individual career.

Prerequisites Description