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New arts management minor opens doors for students

by Maddie Travis, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Simpson students can now widen their area of expertise with the new arts management minor.

It’s providing more opportunities to students who are already majoring in art, music or theater.

“It’s for students who are interested in learning more about the business side of the arts environment,” said Ann Woldt, assistant professor of theater. “They’ll learn about the broad areas of economics, management and accounting.”

The arts management minor is tailored to those wanting to work at a nonprofit organization.

“It’s been in the last year that we really decided to push this, and it went through finally in the fall. It was approved unanimously,” Woldt said.

Six students have declared an arts management minor, but Woldt said many more are interested.

Students with other majors are also allowed to take the actual arts management class, but they must have either a major or minor in art, music or theater.

“Regardless of whether you’re a performer or not, it’s so important for you to know how the business side of this works. It’s really about connecting with a community,” Woldt said.

In the class, Woldt has brought in many successful artists to talk about their professions in the real world.

Jeff Fleming, from the Des Moines Arts Center, and Mackenzie Sheehan, from the Des Moines Symphony, have already visited Woldt’s class. Joanna Schnedler, from the Minnesota Theater Arts Alliance, is also planning to visit.

“It’s important for us to bring in people who work in Des Moines under the umbrella of nonprofit organizations,” Woldt said. “These will then hopefully lead to possible internships for the students.”

Students pursuing an arts management minor are required to take four business management courses along with the arts management class. Those courses include principles of economics, management concepts, introduction to accounting and business law and ethics. An arts management internship is also recommended.

“You’re going to be working many different jobs when you leave here, regardless of what you decide to major in,” Woldt said. “You might find yourself being a business major, but maybe you have the major in theater or music as well as arts management, and then find yourself in the symphony or working as a choir director.”

The arts management course will not be offered again until fall 2019. Those interested in the minor are encouraged to take the four other required courses until that course is available again.

“It’s another area they can think about,” Woldt said. “I know when I talk to parents about it they get excited too, because they like the idea that there’s something other than just performance. Even though there are no jobs that are safe or consistent right now, it helps them to know their child might be able to open their own theater one day or work with the Civic
Center or the Symphony.”

For more information about the arts management minor, go to simpson.edu/theatre/programs/arts-management-minor or contact Woldt.

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