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All Courses

Arts Extension Service offers courses in Introduction to Arts ManagementArts and Culture Internship PrepArts FundraisingArts MarketingArts ProgrammingBoard DevelopmentCreative Community LeadershipCreative Economy and PlacemakingCultural Equity in the ArtsCultural Policy and AdvocacyFinancial Management in the Arts, Foundations in Arts EntrepreneurshipGrantwriting for the ArtsGreening Your Nonprofit Arts Organization, My Creative FutureProgram Evaluation, and Strategic Planning. Learn more about each course below.

Introduction to Arts Management


Arts Managers perform the work that is required to bring the arts and cultural programs to audiences, organizing programs such as festivals and exhibits, performing arts events, and film screenings.  This course will introduce you to the "business of the arts," providing you with an overview of the careers in arts management, the types of work that arts managers do, and the current issues and trends now affecting arts management professionals.

This course is designed for individuals who are new to the field of arts management, are considering an arts management career, or are interested in arts management principles for the purposes of starting one's own nonprofit.  This course is a requirement for all students joining the Arts Management program who have no prior experience in the field.

Arts and Culture Internship Prep

Internships are a vital way to build student’s resumes and their skills, yet few arts and culture students are prepared to make this transition from ‘work-study to work’. This course prepares students for arts and culture internships by introducing them to careers in institutions such as arts organizations, museums, and performance venues and teaching students to work practices and behaviors required in a formal, on-the-job setting by creating a collaborative art event. This course will be blended; weekly face-to-face presentations and group projects plus online discussions, readings, and assignments. This class is only available on campus.

Arts Fundraising


Recent statistics show that while most nonprofit arts organizations will earn half their income, the rest of the money it will take to sustain their operations must be raised from individual donors and grants. Other than earned income, the largest source of revenue for arts organizations continues to be individual donors. Now, more than ever, it is essential for arts managers to know how to develop and implement an effective fundraising program that draws its strength from a variety of sources, and focuses on building relationships as its foundation.

This course will present the principles and methods of raising funds for nonprofit arts organizations from individuals, businesses, government agencies, and foundations. Practical assignments will focus on identifying potential sources, positioning the organization for fundraising, and developing effective strategies for acquiring funds. The course will culminate in the development of a fundraising action plan for your own nonprofit or a case study organization of your choosing. Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Arts Marketing


Marketing is the most important tool to build awareness of your programs and services, and—if properly planned—can help you to reach new audiences and cultivate loyalty in your current audiences. This course will introduce you to the fundamentals of marketing for arts and cultural programs. You will learn basic marketing concepts, such as understanding the marketing mix, utilizing environmental analysis, developing positioning statements, and branding an organization to help you formulate effective marketing strategies. Emphasis will be placed on understanding audiences and building participation in your programs and services.

Assignments will culminate in the development of a marketing plan for your own nonprofit or a case study organization of your choosing. This course is designed for individuals with all levels of marketing experience in arts organizations and nonprofit agencies.  Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Arts Programming


Quality arts programming is at the core of all arts and culture organizations, yet many arts managers struggle with how to present a program once they have developed an idea. In this course, you will learn how to develop an arts programming philosophy and plan programs that connect the arts with audiences. The course will examine culturally specific and controversial programming, explore exemplary programs, and review technical and logistical support requirements. The course will conclude with the development of a program plan for your own nonprofit or a case study organization of your choosing.  Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Board Development


Boards of directors are vital to the operation of nonprofits, but many organizations do not understand the role of board members, nor do they prepare board members to assume their responsibilities effectively. This course will examine the role of the nonprofit board of directors, how they can best relate to the professional staff, and how to identify volunteer leadership needs. Recruitment and orientation of new board members will also be discussed. Practical assignments will be focused on your own board of directors or you will interview board leaders of a case study nonprofit organization to fulfill course requirements.  Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Creative Community Leadership


Creative Community Leadership teaches art-centered activities that contribute to the sustained advancement of human dignity, health, and/or productivity within a community. This course teaches how to use the arts and the creative process as a tool for social change, as well as the skills to practice effective creative community collaboration and partnership development. In this course you will: explore the structure and dynamics of social and cultural ecosystems and strategies for working effectively within them; develop an awareness of how race, rank, and privilege affect community cultural development; and acquire and practice adaptive leadership and inquiry-based learning skills as keys to successful work in change-constant environments.

Issues from Black Lives Matter, DAPL and Climate Change unrest, and COVID-19 disruptions have exposed a need for new support systems (training, research, advocacy, funding, networks, etc.,) to advance the further development of the expanding and diversifying Creative Community field. Research has shown the most effective community arts partnerships are painstakingly developed over time. These exemplars have also taught us that working across sectors in fast-changing communities is complicated and messy. As such, fostering agile, assertive cross-sector leadership will be an essential component of effective community arts infrastructure. This course will provide leadership training to support cultural practice as an overarching resource for advancing collaborative, creative problem solving and innovation across multiple community sectors.

Collaborations provoke a wide range of new and intriguing questions about the role of the arts in society and the future of community cultural leadership. How do the arts contribute to safe communities? How can cross-sector arts partnerships help planners, police, health care workers, community organizers, and the like be more effective in their service to their communities? And, what is the argument that the arts community must make to advance the integration of cultural resources into the heart of community life?

Creative Economy and Placemaking 


The Creative Economy and Placemaking has proven itself to be a powerful force where the arts are increasingly recognized as a valued community resource with the potential to stimulate economic growth and build social capital. It is important to understand the possibilities as well as the pitfalls. This class will demystify the term, uncover why the creative economy is a major force in stimulating communities across the country, and explore how each is unique. You will examine the key assets in your community; determine its creative and culture strengths and potential; discuss the important role in establishing and building lasting partnerships with artists, business leaders, and government officials; strategize on how to attract investment and diversify an economy; learn to build social capital, and much more. Course participants will leave with a Creative Economy and Placemaking plan unique to your community.

All course work is applied to a community, not a single organization. Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Cultural Equity in the Arts


Today’s arts and culture organizations are confronting the multi-faceted issues of cultural equity and need to understand the role that inequity has played in decision making, hiring, programming, funding, arts policy, loss of audience, and audience participation. Arts leaders are now looking at their own institutions, and need the information and tools necessary to address biases and create equitable and just institutions with deep connections to their surrounding communities. This new course will explore the history of inequity in the arts, how “the arts” came to be defined through a Western European lens, how cultural funding affects opportunity, and how systems in our culture and society have prevented building diverse staff and board leadership. Topics will include how to create authentically-inclusive programming, how to partner and cross-program with organizations that serve different demographic communities, how to expand audiences for the traditional arts in a time of demographic shift, how to advocate for change, and how to create an organizational infrastructure that promotes equity and diversity. This course will explore the role of personal biases and will help students find new solutions that fit the needs of their community.  Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Cultural Policy and Advocacy


Cultural policy is the aggregate of what governments do, or fail to do, to encourage the arts and humanities to apply creative/cultural solutions in the arts and other civic sectors. Cultural policies of governments in the United States have evolved from being centered on artists, arts organizations, and arts audiences, to more widely apply the arts and humanities into civic affairs. With a backdrop of progressively diminishing funding for the arts and a move toward embedding the arts in social change, community engagement, and projects from the Creative Economy to Creative Placemaking, it is policy that determines focus - and advocacy can push policy. 

Changes in the political climate and value-driven ideologies have spurred this shifting of the lens through which governments view the arts. In this course, students will learn the basic principles behind the public policy, the historical and current development of cultural policies, the gatekeepers who enforce cultural policies, and how they can deftly position themselves through advocacy to address intended and unintended political forces.  Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Financial Management in the Arts


Designed especially for those who are intimidated by or unfamiliar with financial concepts, this course will introduce you to how to develop a budget, as well as how to read and interpret financial statements, such as income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. Through discussion and hands-on exercises, you will explore ways of developing and sustaining fiscal responsibility throughout an organization, including the understanding of roles and responsibilities of the board of directors, management, and staff. The course will culminate in the preparation of a financial plan for your case study organization. Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Foundations in Arts Entrepreneurship


This course is designed as a primer in arts entrepreneurship and explore creating your own artist-based business. Students will examine the breadth of professional opportunities and explore strategies for pursuing them. Students will construct a personal mission statement, build an individualized portfolio of materials appropriate for professional development purposes, and begin a journal to formulate, collect, and grow creative venture ideas. Topics will include creative visioning, an introduction to the for-profit and non-profit economies, budgeting and relevant arts policy.

Grantwriting for the Arts


Grantwriting is one of many tools in fundraising and is a necessary skill for arts managers and artists who seek to support their work with grants.  This course will teach the nuts and bolts of grantsmanship, including introducing the vocabulary and philosophy of grant writing, the hallmarks of a well-written proposal, and the basics of grant searching. 

The class will use a Common Grant application as its organizing principle, selected because it is comprehensive and reflects a growing trend in grantmaking.  Students will learn the essential skills of grant writing, how to describe a cultural program’s mission, goals and program to grantmakers within space limits, writing in teams, critiquing a grant, and planning a budget. Students will conclude the course by writing a comprehensive and ready-to-submit grant for their nonprofit or a case study organization.  Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course. 

Greening Your Nonprofit Arts Organization


The arts have always been at the forefront of change, and never has change been more required than today. Whether your organization needs to cut its facility costs, be first in line for donation dollars, or serve as a 'green' model for your community, this class is for you. Determine which changes are easy to institute, provide the greatest cost-saving, reduce your carbon footprint, and build credibility with your audiences. This class concludes with a final green plan to be tailored to the unique needs of your institution.  All course work is applied to a case study organization, which may be your own organization or one where you volunteer.  Studying Sustainability or a similar field of study? Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course.  

My Creative Future


In this course, you will explore your role as a professional in your field through an internship at an arts/ humanities/ cultural organization. It asks and attempts to answer the questions: How will you continue your art? Your passion? When you graduate, how will you make a living? Why is the economy of the arts the way it is? You will think both critically and practically about the economic environment into which you will graduate and how this environment will shape your economic and artistic future and the ways that you in turn shape the culture and economy in which we all live.

This course is only open to those in the Semester @ Mount Ida Internship Program and is required for students in that program.

Program Evaluation

It is no longer sufficient to promise that you will change people's lives with an inspiring performance and then report that the program seemed to go well. While accountability drives much evaluation, you will learn how evaluation can help you to improve your programs. Using the tools of outcome-based evaluation, you will learn how to design and implement evaluations and convert intangible intentions like "delight our audiences" into outcomes that can be measured.

The course concludes with the development of an evaluation plan for your case study organization. We will evaluate the course by asking if you can write a convincing answer to a funder's question: "How will you know if your proposed project will succeed?"  Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course.  

Strategic Planning


Strategic plans are essential to the long-term health of nonprofit organizations, allowing board members and staff to agree on a common direction for the organization to help guide future activity. This course will introduce you to the principles and methods of strategic planning for nonprofit organizations and will introduce you to various types of plans and planning terms. You will learn a system for strategic planning, will critique existing plans, and will design a planning process for your own nonprofit or a case study organization of your choosing. Suitable for beginning or advanced non-profit managers. Contact AES about waiving the prerequisite if you are interested in taking a course.