By Rebecca Heath and Tristan Weisenbach
Arts & Entertainment Editor and Arts & Entertainment Assistant Editor
The College’s Department of Art and Art History launched their new minor this semester, Arts Administration and Cultural Entrepreneurship, which combines the skills of management and business within the field of art.
The minor, which was first announced to the College community on May 17, is geared towards students interested in pursuing careers in museums, galleries and other arts and performance venues, according to the department website.
“I think it’s something really valuable that people should really, really strongly consider, especially if they have any interest in the arts,” said Olivia Burton, the program assistant for the department of art and art history. “It’s a very practical minor.”
Burton, an alumna of the College who graduated in 2017, described the wide array of skills that the minor can equip students with, including strategic planning, contextual understanding and experience with sales.
The minor, which launched amid the College administration’s recent push to increase cross-disciplinary collaborations, was built around two foundation courses that lie at the intersection of art and business, according to art professor Lois Fichner-Rathus.
After learning about the ways in which “the arts, institutional goals, societal change and economic prosperity are intertwined” through courses titled Arts Administration and Leadership and Arts Management and Marketing, students will select three elective courses to complete the minor.
“[The core courses] become entry points for further study to comprise the minor — depending how a student's interest develops,” she said. “Exposure to each discipline in the two core courses might awaken an interest in the art student for business and vice versa — something that they didn't realize about themselves before.”
According to Burton, the department’s goal is to remain “proactive to the ever-changing landscape” found within the arts. By establishing this minor, the department can provide a program that aligns with the “technological and pedagogical and cultural changes” in our society.
With the arts “under a lot of stress,” the minor will prepare students to land jobs in highly competitive industries that align with their passions “by strengthening your portfolio of courses and broadening your resume in practical ways,” Fichner-Rathus said.
“Students who come to TCNJ to study or train in the Department of Art and Art History know that they want to pursue a career connected to the arts in some way,” Fichner-Rathus added. “Our responsibility is to brainstorm options with students to match their passion with possibilities. We want them to be prepared for employment, or careers, that will enable them to have a life doing what they love.”
Burton stressed the benefit of the College’s location, situated between Philadelphia and New York, which provides an ample amount of unique internship opportunities within the arts for students.
“There are so many kinds of nonprofits and private artists,” she said.
Fichner-Rathus said the release of the new minor was motivated, in part, by the experiences of College alumni who majored in art history, art education or visual arts and have since landed internships and full-time jobs in museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions.
“What if those students had had the opportunity at TCNJ to add business courses to their resumes? The arts and business may seem worlds apart as disciplines,” she said. “But they can, and do, dovetail in interesting ways that can make for interesting experiences, interesting jobs.”
In an effort to expand and diversify the minor, the Department of Art and Art History is “eager” to explore ways to interface with other departments.
“I see this as an organic thing,” Fichner-Rathus said. “We are committed to presenting students with elective options that will speak to their interests, stretch their imaginations and build their marketability.”