All Courses

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. View sample syllabus here.

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 work practices and behaviors required in a formal, on-the-job setting by creating a collaborative arts 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.

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, business, 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. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite.  View sample syllabus here.

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. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.

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.  If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.

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. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.

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. This course requires the purchase of one book in addition to the Fundamentals text. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.

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. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite.   View Sample Syllabi here.

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 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 public policy, 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.  If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.

 

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. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite.  View sample syllabus here.

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. Note: *This course does not count towards the online Core Certificate in Arts Management. It does count towards the Campus and online Professional Certificates. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite.  View sample syllabus here.

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 grantwriting, 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 grantwriting, 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. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.

The arts have always been on 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 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. If interested in taking a course a la carte, or UMass campus student studying Sustainability, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.

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?"  If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.

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. If interested in taking a course a la carte, contact AES about waiving the prerequisite. View sample syllabus here.