Arts Management (BA)

Behind every arts and culture organization is a leader who connects artists with audiences and manages the organization’s daily operations. In the Arts Management bachelor’s degree program at Columbia College Chicago, you’ll learn how to manage and lead creative organizations. You’ll take management courses on topics such as cultural policy, law for the creative industries, and talent management. In practicum courses, you’ll collaborate with your classmates to plan and manage live projects, which include events, exhibitions, and performances. You’ll meet arts management professionals and visit Chicago’s cultural institutions and businesses as part of your course work. And you’ll have opportunities to join teams at festivals, galleries, and startups throughout the city.

Columbia College Chicago Arts Management Presentation

Whether you’re an artist who needs entrepreneurial skills to launch your career or a leader who wants to guide the work of others, our program will hone your vision and put your knowledge and skills to work. You’ll graduate with real-world experience that will empower you to be a leader in the creative industries.


Within the Arts Management major, you’ll choose a concentration that allows you to focus on your creative area of interest and gain relevant experience in your chosen field.

Performing Arts

This concentration is for students who want to specialize in the business of dance, theatre, and other performance-based art forms. You’ll learn how to manage performances and venues, develop marketing strategies, and raise funds. You’ll also have the chance to manage your own events on campus and in Chicago.

Visual Arts

This concentration gives you the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in the world of visual arts management. It’s for students who want to represent artists or manage exhibits, galleries, auction houses, art fairs, and museums. You’ll run an on-campus gallery and have the opportunity to create exhibitions.

Film Business

Do you want to start your own film or media streaming business, be a producer, or work as a film marketing specialist? In this concentration, you’ll learn the business of film and television. You’ll gain knowledge and expertise in collaboration, storytelling, financing, development, distribution, and talent management. You’ll also have opportunities to collaborate with the college’s Cinema and Television students.

Creative Industries

This concentration gives you the flexibility to study management practices in a variety of disciplines and combine courses to chart your own career path. If you want to be an entrepreneur who leads teams across industries, this concentration is for you. You’ll gain leadership experience in building high-performing teams, allocating resources, and making strategic decisions, all in the context of the arts. 

Real-World Experience

Columbia College Chicago Arts Management program gallery practicum

The arts management industry is all about teamwork. Our degree is designed to put your collaborative skills to work. Through hands-on practicum courses, you’ll be part of student teams that manage and lead professional projects that include:

  • Mounting exhibitions in Hokin Gallery, the college’s student-run art gallery 
  • Planning, producing, and marketing live performances
  • Making formal pitches for funding, overseeing logistics, and tracking revenue for a range of events


Columbia College Chicago faculty members bring their expertise into the classroom every day. They not only study how management works, they’re active entrepreneurs, producers, agents, board members, and administrators. They know what you need to learn to get ahead and will shape your understanding of what’s next in the creative industries.

Chicago: A Cultural Hub


At Columbia, Chicago is our campus. You’ll explore and engage with all the city has to offer: iconic museums and concert venues, artist collectives, theaters, a booming tech industry, and countless galleries, festivals, and events.

All Columbia College Chicago students have free access to the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.


We encourage juniors and seniors to take advantage of Chicago’s arts, entertainment, and cultural institutions through internships. The hands-on experience you gain through internships will give you an edge as you enter the industry.

Our students have interned at:

  • Theaters and music venues, including Lookingglass Theatre and Lincoln Hall
  • Galleries and museums such as Hyde Park Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
  • The Leslie Hindman auction house, the Carl Hammer Gallery, and Kavi Gupta Gallery
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival, EXPO Chicago, and Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest)

Study Away Opportunities


Columbia offers many opportunities to study away for a week, a semester, or an entire year.

Semester in LA (SiLA) is a 15-week immersion program where you’ll intern 20 hours a week in the field and learn from industry professionals in classes taught on a historic Hollywood studio lot. Learn more about SiLA.

Other study away opportunities include a week-long trip to the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival in Austin; a creative industries trip to Miami; an exhibition management trip to Rome; a global marketing trip to Prague; and international exchange programs all over the world. 

Alumni Success

Columbia College Chicago alumni are on the forefront of rapidly changing creative industries. They work at theatre companies, talent agencies, and world-class museums, galleries, and concert venues. They produce festivals and theatrical productions. They’re shaping not only the future of their fields but the very role of art in our society. And they’re always looking for Columbia grads to join their teams.

  • Alexandra Field ’13 is assistant director of annual giving at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
  • Jessica Valerio ’11 is assistant principal at KIPP Academy in Chicago.
  • Bryan Reid ’17 is an account manager for Match Marketing Group.
  • Dana Ontiveros ’18 is a J.D. candidate at UCLA School of Law.

Jobs in Arts Management

Arts Management Columbia College Chicago student team event producersThe student team behind hip-hop event Fresh Connect

Wondering what you can do with a degree in Arts Management? Here are just a few of the professions and entrepreneurial ventures where our graduates succeed: 

  • Gallery Manager 
  • Artist Manager/Agent 
  • Auction Specialist
  • Museum Administrator 
  • Fundraiser 
  • Community Arts Organization Director 
  • Casting Director 
  • Music Supervisor 
  • Talent Agent 
  • Executive Producer 
  • Events Manager
  • Director of Ticket Sales