MA in Arts Management

Position yourself for a successful and rewarding career where art meets the public. Combine management concepts in areas such as business law, marketing, human resources and financial management with insight into the increasingly complex legal, political and economic issues related to the management of the arts. 

UB's Arts Management Program helps you enhance your education with high-impact experiential learning and extracurricular activities to develop the skills that employers demand. Work in performing and visual arts institutions, in not-for-profit organizations, in development and fund raising offices or as an advocate for arts organizations.

Infographic that says, 10 Skills Employers Want: Advocacy, Critical Thinking, Communication, Project Management, Diversity and Cultural Awareness, Leadership, Policy Analysis and Legal Literacy, Global Perspective, Financial Management, Teambuilding .

Be Career Ready

Employers often cite the skills profile of applicants as the most important factor in their recruitment and job offer decisions.

  • Acquire the skills to understand the political, social and economic climate in your community and nationally, and how this effects support for the arts.
  • Enhance your ability to identify and solve complex, interdisciplinary tensions that are inherent in arts management and cultural policy making.
  • Learn to recognize and value critical approaches, integrating theory with practice
  • Gain foundational knowledge in areas such as law, finance, marketing and human resources

Here is how we help you develop 10 critical skills:

1. Advocacy

Acquire the skills to successfully influence social, political and economic systems in the formation of cultural policy and financial support for cultural organizations. Understand how changing socioeconomic and political landscapes alter government policies, which in turn effect the day-to-day management of the arts. 

  • Each year, UB students attend Museums Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Develop and practice advocacy skills necessary to anticipate, recognize, respond to or avert policy developments which may affect your ability to effectively manage art. Attend briefings with museum directors and staff from across the US, and finish by advocating on Capitol Hill with US Congressmen.

2. Critical Thinking

Engage with diverse and thought-provoking industry leaders who will challenge you to think outside your cultural and professional norms in experiencing, developing, producing and managing the arts. Recent guests include:

  • Mark Wasiuta, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and Co-Director of the Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture program
  • John Zion, Managing Director of MKI Artists, a firm that has represented many of the world’s leading classical musicians for more than sixty years 
  • Umberto Crenca, Co-Founder (and recently retired Artistic Director) of AS220, a nonprofit center for the arts in Providence, Rhode Island

3. Communication

Enhance your oral, written and interpersonal communication skills through a plethora of department, university, student group and professional orgranization opportunities. In addition, you can network with industry professionals who are invited to campus to present and engage our students in local, national, and international practices within various fields of the Arts Management discipline. 

Communication is a central focus of most courses, and fieldwork projects oftentimes help develop advanced communication skills. 

4. Project Management

Acquire the knowledge and skills to initiate, plan, execute, control and complete the work of a team to achieve specific goals and success criteria at the specified time. Negotiate reasonable and achievable deadlines and milestones across teams and stakeholders. In short, gain hands-on experience delivering projects that meet the organization’s goals on time and on budget.

Gain insight into the demands and expectations of employers in the required course, Fieldwork in Arts Management (AAP 511). With guidance from the course instructor, students work with managers and other employees of a professional arts, cultural, or advocacy organization on a specific project with clearly defined objectives and goals.

Examples of recent fieldwork projects include:

  • Researching new niche audiences for Chautauqua Institution's special program, "America’s Music with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center"
  • For their client, The Shaw Festival, creating and conducting a survey to better understand families who attend theater productions
  • Assisting with the planning and production of the Echo Art Faire including marketing, logistics, installations and volunteers

5. Diversity and Cultural Awareness

Experience firsthand how public and cultural policies influence the issues and solutions in active arts organizations through site visits. Tour a variety of arts institutions and network with producers, curators, artists and industry professionals. Each visit allows students to witness the range of issues – including political, public, legal, financial, administrative and others – which uniquely affect the day-to-day management of the arts.

Recent visits include Canadian Stage and The Power Plant in Toronto, Canada, and workshops in Montréal, Canada provided by the SOCIÉTÉ DES ARTS TECHNOLOGIQUES [SAT]. Previous site visits include:

6. Leadership

Rise to the challenge by gaining experience and leadership skills in some of the hundreds of University at Buffalo extracurricular and governance organizations, civic groups and volunteer activities.

Join like-minded peers in UB's Graduate Student Association and other student associations and clubs and participate in poster competitions, travel to conferences, network and have some fun with colleagues.

Prove your abilities and make powerful industry connections through participation in regional and national professional organizations. Choose from the list on the right-hand column of this page.

7. Policy Analysis and Legal Literacy

Understand the defining issues facing cultural organizations now, and 10-20 years into the future. Become familiar with the legal vocabulary, rules and regulations related to functional areas such as finance, human resources and marketing. Heighten awareness, assessment skills and your ability to prepare action plans in response to local, state and federal laws and funding appropriations.

In Legal Issues in Arts Management (AAP 585), examine arts and entertainment-related legal issues and learn to recognize where legal problems might arise. This course will provide an overview of Corporation Law, Arts Advocacy, Contract Law, Employment Law and Tort Law as it relates to insurance and volunteers.

More advanced management and law courses are available for students with business and management backgrounds through our partnerships with the UB School of Management and Law School. 

8. Global Perspective

Experience firsthand how art functions within cultures and political systems across the globe in cultural immersion programs. Participate in international field schools, study abroad experiences and the program’s Summer Study Abroad program to witness how art is managed within alternative contexts and cultural systems. Work with artists, venues, institutions, and management companies that employ various different systems of subventions, legislations and policies.

In addition, national and international scholars frequently come to campus to present guest lectures and partake in conferences to expose students to a multitude of world views.

Students participating in the 2018 Cultural and Artistic Expression in Costa Rica program met with current Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada and visited some of the country’s leading art institutions. Previous destinations include:

9. Financial Management

Acquire foundational knowledge of general business concepts in Special Topics in Management: Nonprofit Management (MGG 620). Learn the basics of accounting, financial reporting and revenue generation and apply those skills to research and analysis of current events in the non-profit world.

Apply those skills in your fieldwork project. For example, for their fieldwork project, Katherine Pizzuto and Fei Xing researched and analyzed sources of revenue other than admission at Lancaster Opera House and provided recommendations to increase them.

10. Teambuilding

Take classes, perform fieldwork, co-author thesis and complete fieldwork projects with members of your cohort, practicing the art of teamwork and teambuilding along the way. Examples of team fieldwork projects include: 

  • Redesign of the BT&C Gallery website and creation of a social media strategy and gallery
  • Research and development of marketing partnerships between local schools and the Riviera Theatre to promote youth-based film and concert series
What career is in your future?

* Executive Director
* Director of Marketing
* Director of Operations
* Director of Development
* Director of Communications
* Director of Public Relations
* Community Engagement Officer
* Education Officer
* Event Manager
* Theatre Manager
* Art Gallery Manager
* Arts Marketing Strategist

Compensation Information

Young Alumni

Below are a few recent alumni who are making a difference in their profession and their communities. They're looking forward to helping you expand your professional network.

  • Claire Saunders MA ’17, Group Sales & Community Engagement Coordinator, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo, NY
  • Angela Goldberg MA ’17, Managing Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, Buffalo, NY
  • Elizabeth Miller MA ’16, Audience Engagement, BodyVox Dance Company, Portland, OR
  • Rachel Macklin Olszewski MA ’16, Program Director, Niagara Arts & Cultural Center; Graduate Staff Assistant, UB Department of Theatre and Dance, Buffalo, NY
  • Justina Doyle MA ’14, Membership Marketing Manager, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL
  •  Xiaolei Zhang MA ’14, Assistant to the Director, Beijing Nine Gates International Jazz Festival (Chinese Jazz Association), Beijing, China
  • Mary Cahill MA ’14, Marketing Manager, HHL Architects, Buffalo, NY
graphic with a generic map and location pointer; headline reads, Where will you go from here?