Arts Administration

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Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University’s Arts Administration program is designed for students pursuing leadership and administrative positions in arts and cultural organizations and for those interested in connecting audiences to the arts. It is designed to prepare students for work immediately following graduation, with a focus on resume and skill building. The core curriculum provides students with foundational courses in performing and/or visual arts, and courses specific to the management of arts and cultural organizations that develop skills in arts programming, marketing, communication, fundraising, finance, venue management, and audience engagement. The curriculum is flexible and customized for each students based on their career goals. Practical application is heavily emphasized through hands-on experiences within the local arts industry.

Goals and Objectives

Principles and Practices
1. Demonstrate understanding of the field of arts administration
2. Apply management principles in an arts environment.
3. Demonstrate awareness of issues particular to arts administrations
4. Practice content learned in the classroom in a working environment; fieldwork is vital
a. Apply principles within situations in an arts org
b. Understand typical functions of an arts org
c. Analyze organizational situations within arts org and predict outcome

Community Engagement
1. Demonstrate understanding of community based art
2. Describe impact of arts and cultural activities on communities

Financial Management
1. Perform basic accounting and reporting functions, prepare a financial statement
2. Demonstrate basic understanding of not-for-profit financial statements
3. Generate, interpret and explain financial statements:
a. Balance sheets
b. Activity/operating statements
c. Cash flow statements
4. Discuss the role of accounting and financial management in mission driven orgs

Institutional Leadership and Management – basic functions of non-profits and board governance; business planning; understand mission/vision; knowledge of marketing/audience development

Marketing and Audience Development


Policy for the Arts
a. Describe current policy issues facing the arts
b. Cite important orgs affecting cultural policy, include governmental agencies
c. Describe relations between culture and society


All students will complete 21 credits in a chosen Fine Arts discipline (Art, Dance, Music, or Theatre). At least 15 credits must be in a single department. At least 2 different departments must be represented. All of this course work will be selected in collaboration with and approved by the advisors in each discipline and the Director of Theatre Arts Management.

Additionally, all students will complete the following 12 credits:

THEA 2900 – Practicum Credits: 1

THEA 2900 – Practicum Credits: 1

THEA 2900 – Practicum Credits: 1

THEA 2600 – Intro to Theatre Arts Management Credits: 3
THEA 3820 – Job Preparation and Promotion Credits: 3
THEA 3900 – Professional Theatre Internship Credits: 3
Professional internship placement can be in a chosen arts discipline.

In addition to the 33 hours of required core courses in an arts discipline, Arts Administration students must select 24 credit hours from recommended courses from the College of Business, the School of Public Affairs and Administration, and/or the School of Communication. Relevant courses from other departments may be chosen, but require approval.


Admission is rolling. Prospective students need to apply to the university and apply separately to the program. Acceptance is based on an interview and requires providing writing samples, an academic transcript, and recommendation letters.

Western Michigan University

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 269-387-3222

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