Claremont Gradaute University Arts Management Program Expands With New Leadership

From: Claremont Graduate University
Published: Thu Oct 09 2008

Revamped program is the only of its kind in California, and it aims to keep Los Angeles' creative talent in the arts and nonprofits local. A recent study indicates that the arts and culture are the second-largest generator for the LA economy. (

As head of a municipal agency that funds 300 arts organizations each year, Zucker has long been concerned with the quality of leaders in the field. In 2000 she spurred the County to begin funding the largest arts internship program in the country in conjunction with the Getty Foundation. Close to 300 undergraduates are paid to work in Los Angeles area nonprofit arts organizations each summer. “Two-thirds of our interns want to pursue careers in arts management and they think they have to leave the region to pursue their Masters. And often, they don’t come back,” said Zucker. “Now there’s a great way to keep them home.” Zucker also began the Arts Leadership Initiative which addresses the needs of mid-career administrators.

CGU’s Arts Management program ( is the only one of its kind in the state of California. A partnership of the School of Arts and Humanities and the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, the Arts Management program blends the curricula of both: study in the arts and humanities with contemporary management skills. The course of study allows graduates to get a leg up in a changing non-profit world which demands backgrounds in both business and the arts.

“The program is for anyone who has ever dreamed of turning their interest in the arts into a career,” Zucker said. “The profession has changed since I first started. Learning on the job now doesn’t take the place of up-to-date professional management education.”

The Arts Management program will offer a new executive track for mid and senior-level arts administrators already working in the field.

“This unique collaboration between the Drucker School of Management and the School of Arts and Humanities underscores the strengths of our university: the courage to engage in transdisciplinary teaching and research, the commitment to meet the rapidly changing needs of practitioners in the real world, and the desire to advance effective management and ethical leadership in all sectors of society,” said Ira Jackson, Dean of the Drucker School.

“The MA in Arts Management is a natural outgrowth of our interdisciplinary and pragmatic approach, in addition to being an exciting concretization of Peter Drucker’s vision of management as a liberal art,” said Marc Redfield, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities.

Zucker is teaching the course on the theory and practice of arts management again this spring. Her team is also developing plans for consulting clinics, which will give students real-world experience with the best arts organizations in the region.

“With the opportunities in LA, the possibilities are limitless,” she said.

BusinessWeek and Newsweek have each published articles recently (read them here and here) about the need for qualified arts managers. And, Critical Issues Facing the Arts in California: A Working Paper from The James Irvine Foundation, (2006) notes that, “The majority of current leaders of nonprofit cultural institutions have no formal management training.” Industry leaders agree.

“Cultural organizations in California and across the nation are facing a momentous leadership transition with the retirement of the Boomer generation that is presently leading 80% of arts organizations,” said Stephen Rountree, President and CEO of Los Angeles-based Music Center. “There is a huge need in the arts for a new generation of leaders, managers and policy makers. The Arts Management program at CGU is unique in integrating management education from the superb Drucker School of Management, with arts and humanities policy concerns from CGU's outstanding School of Arts and Humanities. There isn't a better program for aspiring arts leaders.”

Additional new features of the program include courses in: non-profit budgeting, accounting and financing; intensive consulting clinics with LA-area non-profit organizations; and an art policy course that is being taught by the City of Santa Monica’s Cultural Affairs Manager, Jessica Cusick in downtown L.A.
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About Laura Zucker
Concurrent to her position at CGU, Zucker serves as the executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, a position she has held since 1992. The Arts Commission provides leadership in cultural services of all disciplines for the largest county in the United States, encompassing 88 municipalities. In addition to the Arts Internship Program, Zucker oversees a $4.5 million grants program that funds more than 300 nonprofit arts organizations annually, leads the regional plan to restore arts education to all 80 school districts in Los Angeles County, oversees the County’s Civic Art Program for capital projects, programs the John Anson Ford Theatres and supports the Los Angeles County Cultural Calendar on The Commission also produces free community programs, including the L.A. Holiday Celebration broadcast nationally, and a year-round music program that funds more than 50 free concerts each year in public sites.

About Claremont Graduate University
Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.
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Claremont Graduate University
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