The field of arts is one of the significant products of human culture. Efforts to enrich and transmit culture essentially require preserving the arts and creating more avenues for artists to express themselves. Moreover, as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) explains, cultural goods, services, and activities are not just “vehicles of identity, values and meaning”, they also “have important economic value…the mainspring for sustainable development.”
Deborah Thiagarajan, an ardent supporter of the arts in India, believes that entrepreneurial and business strategies are instrumental in broadening the market reach of the arts. She further says that ““Culture is a multi-billion dollar industry. Over the next 10 years culture — theatre, visual arts, performance, music, film and heritage — will assume increasing importance.” Thus, art management plays a critical role in this regard.
The Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE) describes art managers as mediating agents between an artist’s work and the public. Peter Bendixen (2010) notes that it is necessary for these managers to fuse their passion for the arts with their ability to handle related “material resources and equipment…ensuring economically reasonable utilization…” Additionally, as Janet Summerton (n.d.) writes, they “need to anticipate and deal effectively with change.”
To prepare those who are interested in promoting artists and the arts, there are several schools in the United States (US) that offer various programs on art management. Find Your Art School (FYAS), an online resource guide, defines art management as “a field where one has to be proficient in… marketing, program development, facility management, sourcing of funds, and the personnel management of art related ventures and art agencies.” It identifies “curricula, the opportunities for building communities, and the standing of their chosen college over all other schools offering the same course” as basic criteria of a good art management learning institution. Correspondingly, the development of business and communication skills should be integrated in courses offered by art management schools. A student also needs to consider the school’s location, roster of qualified or expert art teachers, and tuition rates, among others.
Aside from providing “comprehensive training opportunities”, art management schools should also enable their students to visit art-related venues, such as “galleries, studios, museums and the like.” They also have to forge partnerships with other institutions within and outside the US. Building this kind of network will facilitate the sharing of resources in terms of management technologies, practices, and tools among professional and budding art managers.
FYAS advises prospective students to first ascertain that the art management school they intend to go to has already secured accreditation from the US Department of Education. Accreditation contributes to an art management school’s integrity, for it satisfies “certain quality standards.” It serves as a reminder for school administrators to ensure that the school’s standards “must be improved on as advances are made in the arts.” An accredited art management school likewise supports a student’s eligibility to request for financial aid. It also gives graduates of the school a better chance of finding work and pursue further studies.
Visit the website of FYAS for the list of accredited art management schools in the US.