NC State Begins Offering Arts Entrepreneurship Minor

by Sarah Endaya

While the idea that the arts are an important business community is not a new idea, supporting them like one is.  NC State has recently taken a significant step in that direction by recognizing and training emerging arts entrepreneurs.  In the Spring semester of 2012, NC State began offering a minor in Arts Entrepreneurship. The program at NC State is one of only three such programs offered in the country and the only one that is offered campus wide.

Dr. Gary Beckman developed the Arts Entrepreneurship Minor program for NC State.

The Minor is a Music Department initiative directed and developed by  Dr. Gary Beckman. Beckman comes to NC State from the University of South Carolina School of Music where he developed the country’s first music entrepreneurship minor, edited the field’s first essay collection, Disciplining the Arts: Teaching Entrepreneurship in Context, and co-founded the world’s first academic journal on arts entrepreneurship education, Artivate, where he serves as founding co-editor.

Classes include Foundations of Arts Entrepreneurship, Practical Art Entrepreneurship, Capstone Experience in Art Entrepreneurship and more. These classes help students envision the arts in different ways, learn how and where art is consumed and how to become arts entrepreneurs. Dr. Beckman uses a mentorship approach to teaching and gives the students an opportunity to work with the Raleigh arts community through the Capstone Experience.  This course puts students in a “consulting role” for Raleigh art entrepreneurs and arts organizations, in addition to building their professional network.

Dr. Beckman also works to build a community in the classroom. The students who are currently taking this minor come from all over campus. No previous arts experience is required. At its core, the Minor is designed to be a platform for students to express their major discipline in the arts, from engineering to management to zoology. Students simply explore what it is they want to do as an arts entrepreneur and make it their own. The students get real experience and exposure to the arts community through classes, hands on experience, and projects that explore all spectrums of the arts, such as music technology, textiles, film,  music production and more.

Arts Entrepreneurship in action at the Lulu eGames

Student entrepreneurs from Lulu eGames Arts Feasibility Study winner, Leiva Strings, talk to Gordon Smith during the eGames Expo.

Even though this program is new, a number of Dr. Beckman’s students are already following through with their entrepreneurial ideas and starting businesses this summer. This year, an Arts Entrepreneurship Feasibility Study Category was added to NCSU’s Lulu eGames (hosted by the NCSU Entrepreneurship Initiative in partnership with Lulu).Four students from the Arts Entrepreneurship program competed in the final round, where students completed a feasibility study for a new for-profit or non-profit arts venture, and each finished with prize awards.

Demand for this minor is quickly growing. Dr.Beckman is working to make this minor an integral part of the university and will continue to elevate the program and its presence in the arts community. His vision is to make the Minor a national model in Arts Entrepreneurship education and a premier training ground for emerging arts entrepreneurs both in the Triangle and nationally. NC State’s Arts Entrepreneurship Minor is a foundational brick helping to empower the Triangle  arts community.

Sarah Endaya is a volunteer for Triangle Artworks and a Business Administration student at North Carolina State University.  She enjoys making music and finding out more about the Triangle’s arts community in her free time.

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