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Arts Administration
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University
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The Program


The Arts Administration program reflects the conviction that the management of cultural institutions and arts organizations requires strategic planning, artistic creativity and social commitment. Arts managers capable of responding to the challenges and responsibilities of the arts must possess integrated management and financial skills, knowledge of the artistic process in which they are involved and sensitivity to the dynamics and educational needs of the communities they serve.

The program represents an alliance of four disciplines: arts, education, business and law. It is designed to help professionals meet the challenges of the next decade: these challenges include questions about the long-term health of arts organizations, their missions, governance and management, sources of income and tax regulations. Such issues as freedom of expression, First Amendment rights, censorship and government intervention in the arts have important implications for international, educational and cultural policy, and are integral to the Program. Today, arts administration training in the United States is a model in the field, addressing worldwide concerns.

The objectives of the Program are to:
  1. Train new leaders to manage and administer arts and culture venues
  2. Raise the standards of arts administration to a new level of social responsibility
  3. Broaden the horizons of arts educators, facilitating their interactions with the arts community
  4. Give arts educators new management and administrative tools
  5. Strengthen advocacy roles for artists
  6. Provide the theoretical and practical preparation for students whose professional objective is a career in arts administration, arts education or a combination of the two

Program History

The history of this program differentiates it from others of its kind in the country. Since its inception, the Program has been able to draw on the resources of Columbia University. The Program is uniquely positioned to offer its students access to ideas and coursework which are vital to what is currently happening in the arts field. At the same time, its legacy and leadership assure that students are learning about the arts’ most compelling and timeless issues, not just short-term trends.

In 1975, the first course was created at Columbia University in the School of the Arts. An interdisciplinary offering, it was team taught by arts and business professors in Columbia Business School. In 1980, the Program in Arts Administration was created at Columbia’s School of the Arts and established the interdisciplinary mix of business and law that continues to be integral to the core curriculum. In 1991, the Program was expanded at Teachers College to include education and arts education. In more than a quarter of a century, the Program has produced leaders and managers around the world and in every artistic discipline.

Image: Butler Library - the main library of the Columbia University campus