Professor Mary Filice
Mary Filice, Assistant Professor and Associate Chair of Arts, Entertainment & Media Management (AEMM) at Columbia, believes that her department “should be a hub around which the creative sectors of the College revolve—not because we want to commodify the arts, but because we understand that the arts and media are entrepreneurial enterprises. They always have been, and they always will be. Arts managers facilitate the creative process.”
If you want to be creative, if you want to be a working creative, Columbia gives you the opportunity to do that.
Filice understands the value of combining business education with the arts. She studied theater at Loyola University before taking a job with the European Options Exchange in Amsterdam. While living abroad, Filice’s creative passions were rekindled by the exposure to a vibrant independent theater and film industry and when she returned to Chicago, she decided to pursue an MA in Film & Video at Columbia. As a film student, Filice observed first-hand that the College was committed to providing artists with real tools for success after school. “Columbia, then and now,” she says, “is the place to go if you want to produce and manage your art. If you want to be creative, if you want to be a working creative, Columbia gives you the opportunity to do that.”
After graduate school, Filice continued making short films, including “No Place Like Home” which aired on A&E and TLC. She also wandered back into the business world, first in financial services and later as a consultant. Through her professional network, she became acquainted with Ed Morris, Chair Emeritus of Columbia’s Television Department, who introduced her to teaching.
A critical change to our graduate program is its emphasis on leadership and the role arts managers play as leaders across the creative fields. Whether managing a gallery, a musician, a film production, or online zine this diversity of approaches and disciplines is what makes the program special and very valuable for graduate students.
“Ed said my film and business background would be perfect for the AEMM department, especially the Master of Arts Management program, which offers its graduate students a rigorous business education through the lens of the arts. I agreed to co-teach a class with him, and this launched my career at Columbia.”
Filice’s role has expanded since the days when she taught with Morris and she’s now a leading faculty member in the AEMM department. A recent accomplishment has been her collaboration on the redesign of the MAM program, which debuts fall 2010. She expressed enthusiasm for this “forward-thinking and integrated curriculum.”
In addition to teaching business and media courses, Filice remains connected to her creative passions. She serves on the board of Percolator Films, based in Evanston, Illinois and is an organizer of their Talking Pictures Film Festival. “This past spring we launched our second festival,” she says, which features independent documentary, narrative, and experimental film as well as animation. “It was a great success. We’re already strategizing for next year.”
As a successful artist, administrator, and educator, Filice is always planning. She remains attuned to the evolving landscape of her fields and makes sure that Columbia’s AEMM curriculum keeps pace. Of the coming year, she notes, “A critical change to our graduate program is its emphasis on leadership and the role arts managers play as leaders across the creative fields. Whether managing a gallery, a musician, a film production, or online zine this diversity of approaches and disciplines is what makes the program special and very valuable for graduate students.”