In September 2005, Founding Director Dr. Ruth Bereson asked a simple question: why manage the arts? She posited that “the study of arts management is important, not because of economic indicators, or even because a university endorses it, but because of the very questions which the subject itself engenders.” This question was placed at the forefront of the inquiry in the UB Arts Management Program; it still drives us today.
We know the “how to’s” of arts management – sound business acumen, marketing, public relations and communication, fundraising, grantwriting, advocacy, law, cultural policy and more. These skills are necessary for an arts manager to function. But only through a critical lens can we begin to examine why these skills/systems and their application are important. Critical inquiry helps us understand the social, political, and economic pressures that influence the day-to-day management of the arts and prepares us to better forecast, adapt to, and create changes that will ensure sustainable arts environments.
There are no prescriptive methods in arts management; each context is different. Arts environments need critically informed managers that can evaluate and analyze contexts in order to reshape, leverage, and transform systems to benefit artists, arts organizations, and audiences. Prepare yourself to make an impact; join UB Arts Management.
The Program helped prepare me for my career by empowering me with the resources to think independently and speak authoritatively on social matters. Additionally, the diversity of the coursework helped to sharpen my professional acumen.
-Joshua J. Myers (2012)