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Courses: Fall 2018

1-Credit Mini-Courses

EXCEL mini-courses, for undergraduate and graduate students, meet one evening a week in only the first two months of a term – check each description for precise meeting dates. They allow you to learn new skills and strategies that will amplify your artistry, taught by a variety of experts from the U-M community!

Arts Entrepreneurship Forum

ARTSADMN 410/510, Section 001
Choose 10 EXCEL workshops per term + two in class sessions TBD
Instructor: Prof. Jonathan Kuuskoski, Director, EXCEL Lab


Learning entrepreneurship is in part learning from the examples of those who are blazing the trail in the arts industry. EXCEL provides an extraordinary wealth of visitors throughout each semester to offer workshops and talks. Topics vary, but range from copyright, personal management, finding your artistic identity, and principles of leadership to career skills such as networking, interview basics, how to apply for grants, and representing yourself in a CV and cover letter. Students receive 1 credit for attending a minimum of 10 qualifying EXCEL workshops and completing post-workshop reflective exercises, attending an introductory and a final discussion session, and submitting a final essay.

Grant Writing & Fundraising Basics

ARTSADMN 423/523, Section 001
Wednesdays, 6:30–8:30,9/12-10/24, Moore 2044.
Instructor: Carrie Throm, Deputy Director of Development and External Relations at UMMA


Fundraising is critical in the arts today and, fortunately, individual artists have an unprecedented set of tools at hand to raise money to make their artistic visions come true. A broad range of government agencies and private foundations offer grant programs, and enterprising artists who have the skills can secure these grants to fund their ideas. In this course, you will learn to argue for the importance of your work, to create budgets, and to customize your proposals to fit the criteria of the granting agency. Additionally, you will learn about when and how to effectively use crowd funding tools to solicit financial support and to create a fan base. Through a look at current events, students will also learn what skills are required to succeed as an arts development professional. Students will complete the course with a fundraising plan to put a project into motion.

Writing About Your Art: Bios, Blogs, Websites & Grants

ARTSADMN 422/522, Section 001
Tuesdays, 6:30–8:30 PM, 9/11-10/23, Moore 2044
Instructor: Dr. Andrew Kuster, Executive Editor MUSA


Artists today not only have to perform compelling work at the highest level, but must be advocates for their creative vision. Writing well about your art can both help you identify your creative voice and inspire others to support your work by attending performances, donating to your cause, or approving grant funding to advance your artistic mission. In this course, you will explore how artists today are giving voice to their creative activities through traditional vehicles such as professional bios and grant proposals as well as new technology-enabled conduits such as tweets, blogs, websites, and crowdfunding appeals. Writing is an old technology but remains a vital skill for the twenty-first century artist who must serve as his or her own agent, publicist, development director, and program note annotator. In this mini course, you will develop a suite of small projects and exercises geared toward identifying your own artistic vision and sharing that vision with strategic audiences. Students will complete the course with a personalized advocacy plan targeting their own professional goals.

DIY Marketing and Social Media

ARTSADMN 421/521, Section 002
Mondays, 6:30–8:30, 9/10–10/29, Moore 2044
Instructors: Sara Billmann, Director of Marketing & Communications, UMS


The Internet presents an array of low- to no-cost tools from email, websites and blogs to Facebook fanpages, Twitter feeds, and online survey tools that individuals can use to share their stories and promote their own career opportunities. Yet such democratization has also fragmented the mass media, in an era where public arts coverage is also dwindling. This course addresses both marketing theory and best practices that will allow enterprising individuals to create a professional virtual toolkit that showcases their strongest assets. Students will learn which self-marketing strategies serve what purpose and how to prioritize the development of various materials and resources, as well as develop a customized plan based on individual goals. Classes will include a look into the backend analytics of the various tools to gain a full understanding of how to assess success. The course will be led by veteran arts marketer Sara Billmann, who has worked with hundreds of different artists of all kinds for the past 20 years as marketing director for UMS. Coursework will include in-class activities and several short papers designed to help students apply their learning to their own professional goals. At course’s end, participants will be on their way to developing a promotional tool, polished through peer and professional feedback.

The Recording Industry: Selling Your Music to the World

ARTSADMN 432/532
Thursdays, 6:30-8:00,9/13-10/25, Moore 2044
Instructors: Jeremy Peters, Ghostly International & Quite Scientific Records


“How do I sell my music on iTunes? Do I need a commercial recording label? Can I release an album on my own? What rules and laws do I need to think about? How hard is it to get an album on Spotify?” Musicians of all stripes face these questions when considering how to release and promote the music they’ve created in audio or video format. This class will answer these questions (and more), focusing on the real-world application of entrepreneurial, legal, business, and artistic considerations required to promote and sell music digitally today. You’ll learn basic music industry standards and the necessary legal considerations that come into play when releasing music online. We’ll delve into the process of preparing recordings for release in digital formats, how to decide which service providers are most effective for your goals, and ultimately release your recordings online! You’ll also learn about promoting your work and how to track your business efforts. Finally, we’ll explore current trends and future directions in the music business. Active engagement and participation is vital to success in this hands-on, experiential class. Come prepared to participate and bring your recordings and videos! The course will be taught by Jeremy Peters, a director of Ghostly International and owner of Quite Scientific Records.

2-Credit Courses

Fundraising and the Arts

ARTSADMN 426/526 (also listed as THTREMUS 426)
Mon/Wed 4:30–5:30 PM, 2443 WDC
Instructor: Prof. Greg Poggi


This course provides a review and analysis of philanthropy and development in America's cultural life, and the role of both the public and private sectors in supporting the arts.

3-Credit Courses

Arts Entrepreneurship Essentials

ARTSADMN 450/550, Section 001
Tuesdays, 2:30–5:30 PM, 2439 Walgreen
Instructor: Prof. Aaron Dworkin


Arts Entrepreneurship Essentials is a comprehensive journey that begins with developing one's entrepreneurial mindset (conceiving, vetting and formulating an idea) and then implementing those ideas into successful, sustainable creative ventures. Students explore entrepreneurship through the prism of their own disciplinary specialization. Required texts, coupled with class lectures, collaborative projects and engaged discussions are designed to help develop the core skill sets necessary to awaken and develop young creative entrepreneurs. As an overall philosophy, this course demystifies entrepreneurship and illustrates how an authentic passion and commitment to creativity and learning serve as key pillars for a successful, fulfilling life. The final Capstone Project ties together the material covered in all modules, showcasing each student's ability to formulate and make the case for a creative venture.

Arts Leadership Forum

ARTSADMN 406/506, Sec. 001
Tuesdays, 10:30–1:30 PM, 2443 Walgreen
Instructor: Prof. Aaron Dworkin


This course is designed to provide access to the greatest leaders from the fields of performing arts, arts administration, arts leadership and philanthropy. Every week students engage in deep, seminar-style discussions with a visiting guest arts leader, after processing weekly required materials (readings, videos, etc.). Students also write response pieces based on each speaker’s visit, providing their own perspectives and takeaways from the discussion and material. Finally, as the final project, students present a mini-lecture, engage in a peer Q & A and provide critical feedback. The response papers are submitted after each visit and will serve to jump start the first hour of discussion the following week. Each visitor may also assign a reading for the preparatory discussion, and, possibly, for the visit itself. Through this course students develop insights to executive-level strategy, philosophy, and tactics directly from professionals in active leadership roles. They also learn how to engage such leaders effectively, and to probe the underlying values guiding each leader’s work.

Producing in the American Theatre

Mon/Wed, 1:30–3:00 PM, 2443 Walgreen Drama Center
Instructor: Prof. Greg Poggi


This course is a survey of the evolution of the producer's role in the development of the American theatre as an art form, a profession, and a business. Significant producers and productions of plays and musicals are explored, along with their impact on the field and the larger culture. An understanding of the historical perspectives of theatre management practices, both commercial and institutional, are emphasized.


ARTSADMN 491/591
1-4 credits, by permission of instructor


Supervised internship in cooperation with a professional arts organization; by permission of the instructor only. Typically offered for 1-2 credits proportional to 35-70 hours of work, plus a final report. Specifics of evaluation to be worked out by supervising instructor in cooperation with the host institution


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