Artists make art, but many others are necessary to get it seen and heard. A host of professionals in various fields provide all manner of behind-the-scenes assistance to musicians, actors, painters, sculptors and designers. Whether you love the visual arts, theater, music or fashion, arts administration at Albright allows you to express your creative genius while gaining valuable business acumen, industry knowledge and technical skills that will give you an advantage in today’s competitive arts market.
The arts administration faculty includes curators and directors of museums and performing arts organizations – educators who have worked in the field and want to share their experiences with you. Through classroom study and experiential learning, you’ll learn about front-of-house and box office management, curatorial and registration methodologies for museums, marketing and public relations, non-profit governance, strategic planning, fundraising, contracts, legal issues, finance and budgeting, human resource and volunteer management, evaluation and assessment, education and outreach, and much more.
Undergraduate study in arts administration at Albright College prepares students for most entry-level positions in arts and cultural organizations. Students who complete the undergraduate program should expect to advance within the organization to levels of supervision and management much more quickly because they will have a better understanding of how these types of institutions operate successfully. The program also prepares students for graduate studies in the fields of arts administration, art history, museum administration, curatorial studies, cultural entrepreneurship, and more.
Student Learning Outcomes/Department Goals
- To provide a basic understanding of organizational theory, management techniques and operating systems for non-profit visual and performing arts organizations.
- Success indicators: learning retention measured with pre- and post-tests in ARA 220, as well as overall grades in all ARA undergraduate courses.
- To present real-world examples of successes and failures, and examine best practices in the field of arts administration.
- Success indicators: number of faculty teaching who have been practitioners in the field, and the number, variety and quality of positions held by these practitioners representing valuable experiences that are shared.
- To enhance and test critical thinking skills and leadership qualities that will give students an edge in their future careers.
- Success indicators: evaluate leadership for currently enrolled students by tracking e-board positions in clubs, fraternities, sororities, etc., and evaluate critical thinking anecdotally and observationally through conversations with students and other faculty.
- To present usable and valuable tools that will help students be successful in their future positions, and to test students’ understanding of those tools.
- Success indicators: regular review of syllabi and Moodle to evaluate the relevance of hard copy, digital and online resources, templates, samples and examples assigned or used in classes; success of student internships.
- To expose students to professionals currently working in the field who can serve as mentors and who can offer a wide range of experience.
- Success indicators: number and diversity of guest presenters and field trips offered in all courses; success and variety of student internships.
- To help students examine and test their own skill sets and knowledge base in order to help each determine the type of organization and career track that matches his or her own individual strengths and goals.
- Success indicators: ratio of students in the introductory course compared to the number of students enrolled in the program; anecdotal information should also be reported from advising sessions.
The Arts Administration Co-Major and Minor
Both the co-major and minor options offer flexibility in your course of study, allowing you to tailor the program to your interests, whether it’s visual arts or performing arts, and, within performing arts, theatre or music. If you’re interested in business, you can choose marketing, finance, leadership/management or legal concepts. Co-majors in history, education, science, digital media or even fashion can benefit from an arts administration co-major, especially if you want to pursue a career in museums, historic parks/sites/homes, science centers, symphonies, ballets, public radio/TV or any other non-profit cultural organization.
Minor in Arts Administration
- ARA 220 – Introduction to Arts Administration
- Production/Practice Course (choose one from the corresponding list below)
- History/Theory Course (choose one from the corresponding list below)
- Business Course (choose one of the following, see course titles below)
- ACC 101
- BUS 250, 346, 347 (ECO 105 prerequisite)
- MAT 110
- ECO 207
- ARA 282 or 382 – Internship in Arts Administration
Co-Major in Arts Administration
- ARA 220 – Introduction to Arts Administration
- ARA 390 – Project Management or ARA 270 – Exhibition Development/Gallery Management (choose one)
- ARA 382 – Internship in Arts Administration
- ARA 490 – Senior Seminar in Arts Administration
- ACC 101 – Financial Accounting (for Business co-majors the sub is BUS 250 – Business Law I)
- Elective 1 – Production/Practice Course (choose one from the corresponding list below)
- Elective 2 – History/Theory Course (choose one from the corresponding list below)
Arts Administration Courses
- ARA 220 – Introduction to Arts Administration (required for minor and co-major)
- ARA 282 or 382 – Internship in Arts Administration (required for minor and co-major)
- ARA 490 – Senior Seminar in arts Administration (required for co-major only)
- ARA 270 – Gallery Management (co-majors must take this course or 390)
- ARA 390 – Project Management (co-majors must take this course or 270)
Business and Business-Related Courses
- ACC 101 – Financial Accounting (required for co-major; for Business co-majors the sub BUS 250)
- BUS 250 – Business Law I
- BUS 346 – Management Principles
- BUS 347 – Marketing Management (ECO 105 – Principles of Economics is a prerequisite)
- ECO 105 – Principles of Economics
- ECO 207 – Statistical Analysis
- MAT 110 – Elementary Statistics
Production/Practice Courses (one of the following is required for minor and co-major)
- ART 101 – Drawing
- ART 103 – Design I
- ART 112 – Painting I
- ART 113 – Sculpture I
- ART 114 – Printmaking I
- ART 212 – Painting II – prerequisite: Art 112 or permission of department
- ART 213 – Sculpture II – Prerequisite: Art 113 or permission of department
- ART 216 – Photography
- ART 265 – Computer Graphics Art & Design
- ARA 270 – Gallery Management
- FAS105 Visual literacy
- FAS112 Fashion Fundamentals
- FAS200 Textiles
- THR 150 – Acting Studio I
- THR 210 – Design Fundamentals
- THR 211 – Stagecraft
- THR 212 – Stage Electrics
- THR 213 – Audio Engineering
- THR 250 – Acting
- THR 255 – Improvisational Theatre
- THR 311 – Scenography (THR 210 – Design Fundamentals is a prerequisite)
- THR 312 – Designing with Light (THR 210 – Design Fundamentals is a prerequisite)
- THR 350 – Directing Studio (THR 150 – Acting Studio I is a prerequisite)
- MUS 103A – Symphonic Band
- MUS 103B – Chamber Ensembles
- MUS 104 – String Chamber Orchestra
- MUS 105A – Concert Choir
- MUS 105B – Women’s Chorale
- MUS 109 – Applied Music Lessons
- MUS 342 – From Demo to Distribution
History/Theory Courses (one of the following is required for minor and co-major)
- ART 104 – Survey of Art History
- ART 105 – Art History I: Ancient through Medieval
- ART 106 – Art History II: The Renaissance to Early 19th Century
- ART 107 – Art History III: Survey of Modern Art
- ART 253 – Art of the Renaissance
- ART 254 – The Italian and Northern Baroque
- ART 255 – Art of the 18th and 19th Centuries
- ART 256 – Modern Art and Design Concepts in the 20th Century
- FAS203 Fashion History I (Prehistoric to 18th Century)
- FAS204 Fashion History II (19th to 21 Century)
- THR 287 – American Musical Theatre
- THR 288 – Great Ages of Theatre I
- THR 289 – Great Ages of Theatre II
- THR 388 – Postmodern American Drama
- THR 389 – Postmodern British and European Drama
- ENG 354 – Shakespeare
- MUS 113 – Rags, Rock and Rap: Popular Music and American Culture
- MUS 120 – Music Appreciation: Introduction to Western Music
- MUS 122 – Music in World Cultures: An Introduction
- MUS 125 – All That Jazz
- MUS 287 – American Musical Theatre
Introduction to Arts Administration
In order to serve their communities well, today’s successful arts administrators must possess exceptional business acumen, excellent leadership traits and in-depth knowledge of the creative side of the field in which they are working. They must be able to determine why the arts are important, then, build, lead and manage diverse teams that can illustrate this mission and engage the public. This course will provide an introduction to the field of arts administration by focusing on the following areas: operational structures, governance, strategic planning, human resources, finance and fundraising, marketing/PR, guest services, facility management and design, information technology, legal issues and evaluation techniques. Examples and case studies from museums and performing art venues along with organizations that provide support to such institutions will be examined. Typically offered each fall.
Gallery Management & Exhibition Development
Course will introduce students to all aspects of exhibition and gallery management. Using the Freedman Gallery as a resource, students will gain hands-on experience about how to organize an exhibition from start to finish. Particular attention will be paid to the concept of the exhibition, production schedules, writing didactic materials, and installation. Students will gain knowledge and understanding of educationally related programming as well as registration and collections management. Practical experience will be offered in the Freedman Gallery through the introduction of the gallery’s permanent collection, which will include topics related to database management, storage and loans. Readings for the course will include critical texts surrounding the discourse of exhibition and curatorial strategies. Assignments throughout the semester will focus on sharpening critical writing and thinking skills by analyzing a selection of articles and exhibition reviews. The final project will include an exhibition culled from the gallery’s permanent collection. Through research, writing and analysis of exhibition case studies, students will learn about the broader context of how exhibitions play a role in the dialogue of the contemporary art world. Prerequisites: ARA 220 and/or consent of the advisor/instructor. Typically offered every other fall semester.
The arts administration introductory internship provides an experiential learning opportunity that allows students to apply basic knowledge and skill sets developed through academic study. It may allow students to explore different areas of administrative work in visual and performing arts and cultural institutions. The internship may be comprehensive, meaning it provides opportunities for learning and work in all areas of administration, or it may be specific to a division: executive leadership (governance, directorship, strategic planning), human resources, finance/accounting, marketing/PR, development (fundraising), visitor services/front of house (including box office), education/public programs, special events, facilities/security, auxiliary services (café, concessions, gift store, merchandising). As a learning experience, the internship goes beyond an entry-level job by the instruction provided by the student’s site supervisor, who should incorporate time to explain the theory and structure behind the work assigned. The student’s faculty advisor also will provide educational content and assessment throughout the process. Prerequisites: ARA 220 and 270 or 390 or consent of ARA advisor. Requires at least 130 hours.
The arts administration intermediate internship provides experiential learning opportunities that allow students to apply knowledge learned and skill sets developed through academic study. It also allows students to explore different areas of administrative work in visual and performing arts and cultural institutions. The internship may be comprehensive, meaning it provides opportunities for learning and work in all areas of administration, or it may be specific to a division: executive leadership (governance, directorship, strategic planning), human resources, finance/accounting, marketing/PR, development (fundraising), visitor services/front of house (including box office), education/public programs, special events, facilities/security, auxiliary services (café, concessions, gift store, merchandising). As a learning experience, the internship goes beyond an entry-level job by the instruction provided by the student’s site supervisor, who should incorporate time to explain the theory and structure behind the work assigned. The student’s faculty advisor also will provide educational content and assessment throughout the process. Prerequisites: ARA 220 and 270 or 390 or consent of ARA advisor. Requires 150 hours or more.
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to achieve a specific goal. By nature, projects usually have a well-defined beginning and end, and are constrained by time, funding and the expected outcomes (deliverables). The temporary nature of project management as well as the personal and humanistic approach to creating artistic products often conflict with professional business operations. In practice, project management in the arts often requires the development of a distinct set of skills. This course will enhance and test students’ knowledge of budgeting, marketing, human resources, planning/time management, and project implementation and evaluation within the framework of the creative process. It will introduce and refine concepts of leadership and team-building skills. Prerequisites: ARA 220 and junior standing. Typically offered every other year; may be in either the fall or spring or offered as a January Interim class.
Senior Seminar in Arts Administration
Course serves as the capstone for the undergraduate co-major in arts administration. It provides directed and self-directed study of the field, and opportunity for self-reflection about career goals, serving as a forum for discussion about both. Strategies and skills for job-hunting, interviewing and negotiating will be presented. Finally, hands-on experience will be provided in order to help students build a portfolio of projects that document their skills and accomplishments as arts administrators; in particular, students will help plan and create the following season of events and accompanying promotional publication for the CFA. Prerequisites: permission of the CFA director/department chair. Offered each spring.
What Can I Do With a Major in Arts Administration?
Facilities, Equipment & Technology
In 1990, with a lead gift by philanthropist Doris Chanin Freedman and a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Albright College launched a $6.5 million building project under the direction of architect Adele Santos, who collaborated with sculptor Mary Miss to create the central plaza and amphitheater that form the heart of our Center for the Arts (CFA).
Around this central artwork, Santos designed a south wing to house the Art Department, with studios for drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics and woodworking. The north wing houses the Freedman Gallery, with a small outdoor sculpture court separating it from the northeast wing, which is home to the Music Department and its studios, practice rooms and Roop Hall performance space. The costume and fashion sewing lab connects this floor via a breezeway to the Campus Center. On the second floor of this wing sit the Wachovia Theatre, box office and mezzanine, where special events and receptions are held. Klein Hall, which serves as a space for class lectures and is home to the International Film Series, directly connects the CFA to the Campus Center on this level.
- Freedman Gallery | The main gallery and project space comprise 2,000 square feet; 1,500 items in the permanent collection; 9-12 exhibits per year.
- Klein Hall | A 100-seat auditorium used for lectures, larger classes and weekly screenings of the International Film Series, which Albright has hosted for more than 30 years.
- Roop Hall | The multiuse classroom/recital space seats 150 and includes a small stage and Yamaha C7 grand piano purchased in 2013 in memory of Rebecca Gass Butler; home to 3-4 Concert Series events per year and used as practice space for 4 choral ensembles and 4 instrumental bands offering 8-12 student concerts per year.
- Wachovia Theatre | A 270-seat proscenium theatre with adjacent workshop, control room, box office, green room/dressing rooms and costume/sewing lab; home to the Domino Players, Albright College Thespian Society, Albright’s two improv troupes: Soviet Purgatory and Less Than or Equal To, the Albright Dance Team and the Xion Step Team; producing 4-5 main stage productions per year.
- WXAC 91.3 FM | With new studios and offices located on campus in the Berks Community Media Center, which also includes BCTV, Albright’s award-winning radio station offers first-hand opportunities for students to learn about marketing, public relations and communications, as well as the delivery side of the music business industry.
- Other facilities and events | The CFA helps the Fashion Department coordinate three major annual events: the Business of Fashion Forum, the Fashion Ball and the Annual Fashion Showcase & Runway Show.
Equipment and Technology
Depending on the courses taken and experiential learning opportunities in which you partake, you may come into contact with and develop skills using the following databases, programs and equipment:
- Constant Contact (web-based tool for e-newsletter design/dissemination)
- Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint
- PastPerfect (collections management and donor database software used by the Freedman Gallery and CFA)
- SchoolDude (online space/venue scheduling software)
- University Tickets (online ticketing system and subscriber database)
- WebPort and Citrix (financial accounting and budget reconciliation software)
In visual and performing arts, students create portfolios, both hard copy and electronic. These portfolios document their work through digital images of paintings and sculptures or with videos and sound clips of performances and concerts. Our goal in arts administration is similar. The curricular assignments and experiential learning opportunities provide opportunities to document learning and skills acquired. Students create posters, programs and playbills for theatre performances and concerts, research and write exhibition labels, install exhibitions and learn how to properly handle and transport fine art collections, design and administer surveys and collect and interpret data for evaluation or financial reporting.
For co-majors, this experience culminates in the capstone course, ARA 490, in which students assist the CFA’s director in working with arts department faculty and student organizations to plan and organize the following year’s activities, and to create and help design the next season catalog.
Sheldon Carpenter ’13 graduated in December 2013 with a co-concentration in arts administration and theatre. Upon his graduation, he continued working for The Reading Musical Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to pursuing excellence in youth music education, and directed Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things for the Domino Players in completion of his senior honors capstone. In June of 2014, Sheldon moved to northern New Jersey where he pursued a part-time career in the restaurant industry and through a contact at Albright, landed an internship with the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation in Manhattan. In the spring of 2015, he left the internship and formed a new theatre initiative called Torrent Theatre with a few Albright alums in the area. Since the company’s formation, Torrent Theatre has successfully produced two off-Broadway productions including Neil LaBute’s Reasons To Be Pretty and a short-play project entitled Mindflood, comprised of ten-minute plays by playwrights from around the country. Sheldon and the members of Torrent Theatre use theatre as a medium to push social boundaries and challenge the way we live as a society. Provoking the status quo by shedding a different light on topics is something Sheldon has been very passionate about and he firmly believes that his education and immersive training at Albright as both an artist and an administrator has encouraged him to take risks and become his most authentic self, all while pursuing his craft and dreaming bigger. As an undergraduate, Sheldon completed internships at the CFA and Walking Fish Theatre, and served as president for the Domino Players and Albright College Thespian Society for which he also directed A Steady Rain by Keith Huff.
Holly Flynn ’13 graduated in May of 2013 with a B.A in art and a minor in arts administration. After graduation she continued her education at Kent University in England, where, along with earning her masters degree in history and the philosophy of art, she had the chance to travel and experience other cultures. Upon returning to the U.S. she first volunteered at a local history museum to gain more experience. While searching for a full-time position, she landed a part-time position at the Mercer Museum, Doylestown, Pa., as an Interpreter in the education department. She then took a full-time job as the Student Services Coordinator for GoggleWorks, Reading, Pa. Her long term goal is to work in a museum or art center as part of the Education department. Her time at Albright gave her the opportunity to explore different aspects of the art world by working in the Freedman Gallery and with the CFA staff.
Karina Grossman ’13 shined onstage as a theatre co-major in numerous Domino Players performances, but she notes that her internship as a production assistant with Sprout’s The Sunny Side Up Show left her “totally bitten by the TV bug.” It also left her with an appreciation for her arts administration co-major. During her senior seminar, she noted, “Looking at job ads, I realize that I’m qualified for these jobs. I haven’t just learned a skill set at Albright. I know how to communicate and adapt to be what the job needs me to be.” Karina is currently employed by Albright as an Admission counselor.
During her time at Albright, fashion merchandising major Bethany Warn ’13 was a merchandising intern at Anthropologie in New York City and was a marketing/social media intern for Vielet Performance Merino. “Both of these internships exposed me to crucial skills that I still use, even as an employed graduate,” she says. For her senior seminar capstone project, she was the marketing director for the 2013 “Convergence” Fashion Showcase and Runway Show. “I worked closely with both the Fashion Department and the Center for the Arts to assist in the marketing aspect of the showcase,” she says. “The experience was unforgettable.” Bethany now works as an assistant buyer at Paul Fredrick, a menswear company based in Fleetwood, Pa.
After graduating in may 2015, Catherine “Cat” Hupp ’15 took a few months to travel and work doing caricatures before taking a full-time position as the manager for all art operations at Sesame. She attributes her easy transition into management to the business and administration classes she had at Albright.
Shanna Ramsdell ’13 graduated in May of 2013 with a dual major in arts administration and theatre. Since graduation, she has moved to Philadelphia where she found a job at a small software company. Using the skills she learned from Albright’s arts administration program (and some theatrical magic), she was promoted and was soon traveling internationally to oversee new business developments. Her travels took her to the Dominican Republic where she lived for three months while opening a new center of business. Currently, she is finding adventure in Center City Philadelphia as a Project Manager for Comcast where she is guiding the maintenance and improvement of their company-wide intranet system. Shanna’s “master plan” includes working for a theatre company as a Stage Manager, and using her talents to teach other business-minded folk that theatre and the arts can play a big part in team and company success. She would credit her current path, in large part, to the professors and mentors she met while at Albright, who taught her the value of “Yes…And…”; saying yes to the opportunity in front of you, and using it to move the story forward.
Amanda Santiago ’14 graduated in May of 2014 with a co-major in art and arts administration. Since graduation, Amanda has been included in her first art exhibition, Emerging Women Artists, showcased at the Jewish Community Center, Seigel Art Gallery, Wilmington, Del. She also worked in a preschool as a teachers aid, where she made art lesson plans for everyday activities. Since leaving the preschool, Amanda has been working part-time as the front desk attendant at the Woodmere Art Museum, and has been a private art teacher. She has recently been accepted into Ameri Corps City Year program, one of her life long goals, where she will be placed in a intercity public school in Philadelphia in the fall of 2016. There, she will be working along side students and teachers to achieve academic goals, such as reaching higher reading levels, classroom participation and attendance. She says her time spent at Albright taught her how to be better oragnaized, helped her with time management skills, and has given her vast amounts of knowledge and insight into the art world.
Robin (Vacek) Balmer ’11 graduated in May of 2011 with a B.A. in theatre and minors in arts administration and art history. Since graduation, Robin has lived in Minneapolis, Minn., Eastham, Mass. (Cape Cod), and New York City, working on theatre and film projects while maintaining jobs in retail and office setting. She spent this past year in Reading, Pa., volunteering with Artists Striving to End Poverty, and completing applications for graduate school. In the fall of 2016, Robin will be moving to Boston to pursue her Ed.M. in Educational Leadership & Policy Atudies with a concentration in Higher Education at Boston University. While in school, she will be the Public Service Fellowships graduate assistant at MIT and a graduate intern at the Center for Career Development at BU. The semester she spent abroad in Moscow, Russia, and her wonderful college experience at Albright led her to change her career trajectory to pursue a career in higher education. She wants to help students make the most of their college experience through her work in international education, academic advising, or career development. Ideally some mixture of all three.
Makenzie Witter ’14 graduated in May of 2014 with a co-major in arts administration and art. After graduation, Makenzie worked part-time at both the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY and volunteered in the Rockwell Museum’s education department. It was during this time that she realized museum education was the route for her, and decided to apply to graduate school to continue her education. Currently, Makenzie is pursuing her M.A. in Museum Professions and working as a graduate assistant at Seton Hall University. She is also interning in the education department at the Allentown Art Museum and working on her thesis, which focuses on educational programming for at risk teens. Makenzie’s long term goal is to open her own art center that specializes in programming for at-risk and underprivileged children and teens. She says that it was her time spent as an art administration student and CFA intern that nudged her in the direction of museum studies and she’s never looked back. The hands-on training provided by Albright has yet to be matched, and her overall experience as a student really helped her prepare for her future.
Graduate Studies, Internships and Employment
Students who have completed the arts administration program have gone on to graduate studies at:
- University of Kent, Canterbury, England
- Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore
- Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
- Boston University, Boston, MA
Students in our program or who have worked for the Center for the Arts and Freedman Gallery have completed internships or found employment with:
Local Arts Organizations:
- GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (interns and full-time work)
- Berks Opera Company (interns)
- Historical Society of Berks County (interns and part-time work)
- Reading Music Foundation (part-time work)
- Reading Public Museum (interns and full-time work)
- Reading Symphony Orchestra (interns)
- WXAC 91.3 FM (interns)
- Yocum Institute for Arts Education (interns)
Regional and National Organizations:
- Office of Admission, Albright College (full-time work)
- Ameri Corps City Year, Philadelphia & Boston (full-time work)
- Comcast, Philadelphia (full-time work)
- Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY (part-time work)
- Ephrata Performing Arts Center, Ephrata, Pa. (interns)
- The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (full-time work)
- Kimmel Center, Philadelphia (full-time work)
- Live Nation, Philadelphia (full-time work)
- Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences, Loveladies, N.J. (interns)
- Michener Museum of Art, Doylestown, Pa. (interns)
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (interns)
- PBS Kids Sprout, Philadelphia and New York (interns and part-time work)
- Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY (part-time work)
- Sesame Place, Langhorne, PA (full-time work)
- Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, New York (intern)
- Walking Fish Theatre, Philadelphia (interns)
- Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia (part-time work)