Knox has recently approved a new Arts Administration minor that focuses on the relationship between business and the art world. Students are able to take classes for the program this spring, and the minor will appear in the catalog for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Chair of Theatre Liz Carlin-Metz is teaching the gateway course, Arts Administration, in Spring Term. She explains that the combination of art and business classes required for the minor is great preparation for students entering the creative world after graduation.
“The reality is that people are going to change careers between seven and 11 times,” she said.
She explained that those wanting to be actresses might end up directing, and those wanting to be lighting designers may eventually manage a production company. Without a thorough understanding of how these other roles have to oversee coworkers and raise funds, a lot of time can be wasted trying to figure it out.
“We feel that if we are providing a parallel to the creative experience and the arts administrative experience. When they face those potential life transitions, they’ll be far better prepared for it,” Carlin-Metz said.
The necessity of these skills led the faculty of the Art department to begin considering this program about four years ago. When a focus group pitched the idea at an open house for incoming creative writing students and their parents, they were all “incredibly excited,” according to Carlin-Metz.
“Parents are terrified when their kids go major in the arts that they will be living in the basement for the next 40 years,” Carlin-Metz said.
She mentioned one parent, an artist, who said, “If I would have had these skills at that age, I would have saved so much time.”
One student already combining these skills is senior Emily Trevor. Trevor came to Knox planning to be a theatre teacher, but after taking several business classes, she began to change her focus. Although she will be graduating before the official minor is available, she was able to self-design a major that incorporates both art and business in much the same way.
“I started taking some business classes at the end of my sophomore year and realized how much I liked that area and how much academia wasn’t where I belonged, that I belonged in the business world,” Trevor said.
Trevor is currently looking for project management jobs in a variety of fields, not just theatre. Then, she plans to go on to graduate school and ultimately end up managing a regional theater or start her own company.
When talking about Trevor’s experience, Carlin-Metz says that it is “the ideal trajectory of a Knox student.” A student “comes thinking one thing, and then the next ring of discovery happens É and suddenly they see a future they had never envisioned.”
Whether it is introducing art students to business or business students to art, Carlin-Metz is confident that the Arts Administration minor will continue to open possibilities for future students.
“That’s the definition of a Knox education if you ask me,” Carlin-Metz said.