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Intersection of art and business examined in ‘Art as Business as Art’ course

September 8, 2009

On his recent whistle-stop “Arts in Crisis” tour, the Kennedy Center’s Michael Kaiser bemoaned how much more money goes into training artists to be good artists than to be good managers of their own careers.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is addressing this imbalance by giving arts students a broader perspective on the range of creative enterprise available to them and more tools to advance toward their career goals.

Building on the success of the January Arts Enterprise Symposium, this fall the Arts Institute and the Arts Enterprise of UW–Madison are offering a class titled “Art as Business as Art.”

Andrew Taylor, director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration, and Stephanie Jutt, faculty in the School of Music, will co-teach the course with the assistance of a dozen guest speakers whose careers explore the dynamic interplay between artistic life and business strategy.

“So often, artists and arts leaders consider business, career-planning and community connections to be separate from their art-making, to be chores that must be endured,” says Taylor. “This course, instead, explores these efforts as entirely connected to the artistic intent, as part of the artist’s canvas. It’s exciting to host that conversation and to bring such extraordinary individuals to share how they make those connections in their lives and work.”

Jutt adds, “Arts Enterprise was created on our campus through the generosity of the Kauffman Foundation and the UW Office of Corporate Relations. We are here to serve the needs of our student artists who need much more than mere artistry in their chosen field. As a lifelong working musician, and having learned most of what I know by trial and error, I wish I had had this class when I was at conservatory.

“UW Arts Enterprise is dedicated to helping artists create viable, lifelong career strategies. We’ve made a great start: our fantastic symposium last winter, the Arts Enterprise Student Association, the Arts Enterprise Web site and the New Art Venture Challenge. All of it has one goal: to help artists do more of what they do best. UW–Madison has shown great insight and enthusiasm for this effort, and collaborating with Andrew Taylor and the School of Business is a dream come true. It’s very, very exciting.”

The course will foster new interpersonal connections for an interdisciplinary group of students coming not only from business and all of the arts departments, but also from international studies, curriculum and instruction, biochemistry, Afro-American studies and computer science.

The students will be working from an unusual course textbook.

Taylor and Jutt have selected “The Creative Entrepreneur” by Lisa Sonora Beam, a handbook that uses visual journaling to guide creative people in setting and achieving their business goals.

In addition to their journals, students will complete two team projects in the class — a profile of a local creative enterprise and a proposal for their own new creative initiative.

Beam and other guests, including a costume designer, a music producer and a panel of young local arts entrepreneurs, will share with students real-world career stories. Three younger alumni who have already found success on Broadway and in the film industry will inspire students to dream big with their post-graduation plans.

Three of the course’s most prominent guests will also offer public lectures.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, in Overture’s Promenade Hall, Elizabeth Streb, founder of the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics in Brooklyn, N.Y., will discuss “Where Art and Audience Collide: Smashing Assumptions about Arts Venues.”

Then, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12, at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, arts public policy expert Bill Ivey will speak about “Arts, Inc.: Greed, Neglect, and our Cultural Rights.”

Finally, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, in Overture’s Promenade Hall, arts journalist Douglas McLennan will share his thoughts on “Arts Journalism 2.0: The Next Wave in Arts Conversations.”

The “Arts Enterprise: Art as Business as Art” course is offered by the UW–Madison Arts Institute Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program and Arts Enterprise of UW–Madison, sponsored by the Bolz Center of Arts Administration and the School of Music, and co-sponsored by the Design Studies Program, the Art Department and the Department of Theatre and Drama.

Find out more and interact with students and faculty through the course Web site and blog here or follow course updates on Twitter (, or contact Kate Hewson at or 608-263-9290.