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OSU to host national conference on emerging field in arts education

Credit: Courtesy of the Barnett Center

Credit: Courtesy of the Barnett Center

Ohio State invites educators, artists and students from across the nation to join in bridging the gap between an education in the arts and a career at this year’s conference on arts entrepreneurship education.

OSU’s Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy will host the Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education Second Annual Conference on Friday and Saturday in the Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise in Sullivant Hall. Founded in 2014, the SAEE seeks to advance the way that arts entrepreneurship is taught in higher education.

In recent years, OSU has joined universities all over the country in working to develop programs around arts entrepreneurship, said Sonia BasSheva Manjon, director of the Barnett Center and associate professor of arts administration, education and policy.

“If you look at the field of nonprofit arts, the resources are really dwindling,” Manjon said. “Artists are not able to sustain themselves if they’re just reliant on government funding or foundation funding, so arts entrepreneurship is a way to rethink how artists sustain their creative careers.”

Jason White, a doctoral candidate in arts administration, education and policy and a presenter and Host Committee member for this year’s conference, said that entrepreneurial and business skills were missing from his undergraduate education in performing arts at the California Institute of the Arts.

“They taught me to perform well and to think about aspects of performing in a variety of different ways,” White said. “However, when I go out there and hit the pavement running I realized quite quickly that I did not know how to market myself, manage myself or my own career. I didn’t even know too much about finance, about taxes. I didn’t know about business structures.”

Credit: Courtesy of the Barnett Center

Credit: Courtesy of the Barnett Center

White said his passion for the field of arts entrepreneurship education stems from his desire to use his experiences as a working artist to help current students solve the problems that he encountered early in his career.

“I’ve starved in New York, I’ve starved in L.A. I’ve had great successes in both places, I’ve won awards, and now I’m here,” White said. “I’m the quintessential guy who, when I talk to students, I’m like ‘I know what you’re going through, and I know what you need.’”

In addition to presenters from colleges and universities all over the country, this year’s conference has seen a push for members of the greater art community to join in the event, Manjon said.

“If we’re not connecting (students) to the artists that are already in Columbus, that are already doing things, or agencies that can help sustain their work, then I think we’re not really about entrepreneurship,” Manjon said. “Entrepreneurship is not a theoretical construct, it’s about how you sustain yourself financially as a creative.”

Manjon said she hopes the conference attracts students studying industries outside of the arts, and serves to encourage collaboration between different disciplines.

“(I’m hoping) this conference will draw from a wide range of students from across disciplines to understand just how powerful the arts and creativity is in terms of shaping culture,” Manjon said. “Because that’s what we all do at the end of the day. We’re all shaping culture in our various industries and professions and livelihoods.”

The SAEE Second Annual Conference will be held on Friday and Saturday. Registration is $35 for students and $50 for adults and can be done on the Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise’s website.

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