Course Descriptions

Year 1:

ARTL-5150: Fundamentals of the Nonprofit Arts Sector
This seminar class provides a broad and fast paced overview of the arts sector in the United States with a focus on nonprofit structures and how these have been shaped and continue to evolve today. We will explore key components that create the operating framework for arts organizations, as well as trends, challenges and opportunities, making use of the Seattle region as an example and laboratory. Class sessions will be discussion and presentation oriented. You should be prepared to read a broad array of source material and to participate fully in each class.

ARTL-5250: Leadership & Interpersonal Behavior for Arts Leaders
Theoretical and applied knowledge about concepts of leadership, leadership styles and situations, communication skills, techniques of inspiration, motivation, conflict resolution, negotiating and building consensus, coping with change, and fostering innovation.

ARTL-5400: Marketing the Arts
Students will develop specific skills of audience development to be applied in performing and visual arts organizations. This includes developing an organization's brand and image and translating it into media messages that accurately communicate the organization's mission. Topics include developing and implementing a public relations strategy, working with the media, developing print materials, and managing marketing budgets.

ARTL-5360: Financial Management for Arts Leaders
Planning, reporting and controlling of fiscal resources and overall management control systems, budgeting, terminology and principles of financial accounting and program evaluation, analysis of financial statements, responsibility and program structure, internal controls and audit responsibility, managerial financial controls and pricing.

ARTL-5380: Leading Staff in Arts Organizations
Best practices for implementing the management competencies needed to lead staff, political realities of staff operations, fostering creativity, coaching for excellence, achieving diversity, nonprofit aspects of personnel recruitment, administration, retention and evaluation policies and procedures, laws and regulations.

ARTL-5410: Public Policy & Advocacy in the Arts
Understanding how nonprofit arts organizations can work productively with governments and businesses to develop and maintain sound public policies that serve the interests of the organization and their customers, framing public problems and developing arts policy proposals, building effective partnerships, constituencies and advocacy campaigns, and complying with lobbying regulations.

ARTL-5460: Strategic Planning in the Arts
Nonprofit organizations rely on leadership for success. As suggested in strategic management, the leader needs to bring all of their resources together to be successful. A significant part of an organization’s success depends on the strategic plan that is developed and implemented for the organization. This course highlights the importance of leadership for realizing an organization’s fullest potential. It also introduces strategic planning – a process by which staff members can bring their shared vision of success into being.

Year 2:

ARTL-5370: Boards & Volunteers in Arts Organizations
Organizing and leading arts volunteers to provide governance and other assistance, board and staff relations, systems and tactics of volunteer motivation, recruitment, development, utilization and retention, strategies and best practices for creating an effective, diverse and committed organizational leadership team.

ARTL-5430: Resource Development for the Arts
Specific skills, knowledge and understanding required of arts leaders to lead and manage the resource development and fundraising functions, integrating fundraising and stewardship throughout the organization, organizational readiness measures, materials and tools of resource development, best practices for involving volunteers, boards and staff in researching and soliciting contributions, methodologies for creating and using an effective, diversified and comprehensive resource development plan.

ARTL-5800: Law and the Arts
Examines the legal foundations of artistic creation including copyright, freedom of expression, ownership of ideas, and public domain laws. Students will also learn about the fundamentals of contract negotiation and creation and develop an understanding of the collective bargaining process. Topics include conflict resolution and the principles, methods and dynamics of negotiation and mediation processes.

ARTL-5990: Summary Project
Integrates the practicum and academic experiences of the program into one comprehensive project. This project recommends a solution or solutions to an existing problem in an arts organization. Students are expected to utilize current research and publications, advisors, academic resources, and their own experience to address the identified problem or challenge. This project is intended to integrate a wide variety of leadership management skills and the knowledge learned throughout the program. The course requires completion of a written report and an oral presentation.

Taken all quarters:

ARTL-5950: Graduate Management Practicum
Integrates and applies the arts management theories being learned in the course work with the realities of the workplace. Participants can select to work in one organization during the entire duration of the MFA program or they can elect to work in a variety of arts management areas in different organizations. This practicum provides students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in resource development, arts marketing, audience development and general management to actual positions within Puget Sound arts organizations. 


ARTL-5440: Persuasive Communication for Arts Leaders
Principles and practices of speaking effectively to persuade an audience, methods of assessing audience communication preferences, preparing for formal and informal speaking opportunities expected of arts leaders including radio and television presentations, assessing your communication strengths and opportunities for improvement. This class will emphasize practice and feedback.

ARTL-5500: Social Issues through the Arts
In this course, we examine the effects and possibilities of didactic, socially engaged contemporary visual and performance arts that speak directly to peoples’ passions and politics.  In order to redefine and deconstruct “didactic” (pedagogical, instructive) art, we will view, discuss, critique and create a variety of artworks.  Individually and collaboratively, we will investigate the place where social issues and aesthetics meet, and discuss their relevance for today’s arts leaders.

ARTL-5600: Arts Education Program Management
This course addresses the elements necessary for creating, managing and sustaining quality arts education programs that effectively advance an organization’s mission and meet demonstrated community needs.

ARTL-5910: Special Topics- Infrastructure & Facilities
This course explores theory and practice in the planning, development, and operation of arts and cultural facilities and the other physical infrastructure used in the process of art making, presentation, education, and preservation. Students will be encouraged to explore the real-world challenges and competing priorities of arts facility planning, development and operation in the context of artistic and community needs; the political and policy environment; and the economy. They will also identify and analyze the elements of sustainable arts facility funding, development, construction and operation, at a variety of scales and in a variety of circumstances. This course will contribute to students’ deeper understanding of the role of arts leaders in shaping the physical environment, and the implications of arts and culture infrastructure for the sector’s mission-driven objectives.

ARTL-5910: Special Topics- Advanced Resource Development Strategies
This course is designed to give students an opportunity to build on the fundamentals of resource development by examining the theory and practice of planning, developing, and operating substantial fundraising campaigns.  Through case studies, readings, panel discussions, and sample scenarios, students will explore topics including the risks and rewards of capital, endowment, and special project campaigns; how to evaluate an organization’s readiness for major campaigns; components of feasibility studies; how to select, utilize, and manage fundraising counsel; campaign mechanics; structuring naming opportunities and recognition programs; how to fully engage boards of directors in all fundraising efforts, particularly special campaigns; campaign evaluation methods; and maintaining ethics and integrity in fundraising programs. Students must have taken ARTL-5430 prior to this class.

Sample syllabi are available upon request.

Contact Us

Kevin Maifeld, MFA
Arts Leadership Programs Director
JEFF 401

Rachel Betron, MEd
Program Coordinator
JEFF 401

Graduate Admissions

Student Financial Services