Montclair to Add More Online Courses to its MA in Theatre, Arts Management Concentration Program

Program will allow more flexibility for working students

Photo by Mike Peters

Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University.

Starting fall 2012, Montclair State University is planning to launch a substantial number of online courses for its graduate arts-management program. It will be a significant step towards offering a completely online degree option, according to Randy Mugleston, chair of the Theatre and Dance Department.

Arts managers utilize organizational skills, marketing, fund-raising development and other business expertise to create and sustain a variety of arts and arts-related organizations including support agencies that produce audience events globally. Arts managers must have a knowledge of many facets of the business end of running an arts-related organization including laws and regulations involving contracts and unions, marketing plans, budgets, applications for grants and proposal writing, as well as advocating for the arts at local and national levels. 


What Administrators and Faculty Are Saying

Dr. Jane Peterson, director of graduate programs in Montclair State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance, said the arts-management program was launched about six years ago to meet the growing demands of the field.

“With shrinking arts budgets and audiences, it is necessary for theatres [and all arts entities] to be strategic in their planning and operations,” she explained. “Since the New York/New Jersey area has a high concentration of arts organizations, our arts- management program is practice oriented, designed to train the next generation of arts managers.”

The Master of Arts (MA) in Theatre, Arts Management concentration at Montclair State includes a total of 36 credits and prepares professionals in all aspects related to the field. 

Dr. Ronald Sharps, associate dean of the College of the Arts, said the online courses are designed to appeal to working professionals who don’t have the time to attend classes or are geographically too far away to commute to the campus.

“The online courses are primarily being developed for those who desire instruction but are too busy, or are out of state, whether in the U. S. or abroad,” Dr. Sharps said.

The Master of Arts (MA) in Theatre, Arts Management concentration program is a collaboration between Montclair State University’s College of the Arts, Department of Theatre and Dance, the School of Business and Legal Studies. While Montclair State is not the only N.J. school offering a graduate arts-management program, the program is unique in that it is the only one in the state that is housed in its College of the Arts.  

Dr. Sharps said the intended outcomes for the Arts Management program are that graduates think creatively and critically and are fully prepared to work in for-profit, nonprofit and government arts organizations and agencies.


What Alumni Are Saying

Alumnus Kristin Curry, who had been working for four years as a grant writer for the Newark Museum when she joined the arts-management program from 2006-2008, said she was instantly attracted to Montclair State’s program.

“When I came across the Montclair State University degree in arts management, I was very excited that the program did not only draw expertise from the College of the Arts, but also from other schools as well – particularly the accounting, marketing, and organizational behavior classes that were part of the School of Business’s MBA program,” Curry said.

One year into the program, Curry was promoted to her current position as director for foundation, corporate and government relations at the museum. Curry gives Montclair State’s program high marks and credits it for preparing her for the rigors of her profession.

“The program was certainly challenging and a lot was expected of the students – which was a good thing,” she said. “Presentations were a part of every course I took at Montclair State, which was something I was not completely comfortable doing. Now, in my career, I am often called upon to make presentations or speak to groups. My increased ease with doing so can be traced back to Montclair State.

“Taking classes in the business school exposed me to different ways of thinking that could be applied to the arts,” she added.

Fellow alumnus Alexandra Thelin, who also graduated in 2008, agrees.

“Upon completing the program, I had a full understanding of how various arts organizations are run, and how to raise funds for nonprofit organizations, along with a strong background in marketing, accounting, and the business of art,” Thelin said.

“I feel that the program definitely prepared me for my career in the arts field,” added Thelin, who currently holds two positions at Montclair State - one in the University Communications department working on Web pages and, the other, within the College of the Arts as an adjunct professor in the Fashion Studies program. 

Both Curry and Thelin recommended Montclair State’s program to anyone considering the field of arts management.

“This is a program where you can learn and stretch yourself as far as you want to go and the faculty will be right there to back you up and help you on your journey,” said Curry.  

Career-related Statistics for Arts Professionals

According to a report by Dun & Bradstreet, 4.3 percent of all U.S. businesses are arts related – counting 17,000 jobs in New Jersey, 19,000 in Pennsylvania, and 45,000 in New York City alone. The modern-day arts scene is very diverse so those entering the field may find themselves doing anything from project management to fund raising for a local arts organization to developing programs in libraries and museums to booking bands for musical tours and festivals. Whatever their duties, arts-management professionals will become part of a thriving cultural network connecting the arts and artists to the community.
For Further Information

Information regarding Montclair’s Arts Management program, including curriculum, course descriptions and admission, may be found at The College of the Arts also offers a graduate Museum Management program. For more information about the Master of Arts (MA) in Fine Arts, Museum Management concentration program, visit