By Lauren Brown
A world-renowned training ground for arts administrators will soon make its home at Maryland, offering a variety of new programming, courses and degrees.
The DeVos Institute of Arts Management, founded by Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser, will relocate to the campus in September, when he steps down from his 13-year post at the nation’s busiest arts center.
He and co-director Brett Egan will continue the institute’s work of educating and advising individuals, organizations, governments and foundations—thousands across more than 70 countries—and assist the university in its strategic planning for the arts.
“Michael Kaiser and the DeVos Institute are the international gold standard in arts management education and consulting,” says UMD President Wallace Loh. “To have them on our campus is an extraordinary boost to excellence and innovation in the arts at the University of Maryland.”
Kaiser says this partnership will enrich the institute and Maryland:
“There’s already wonderful work in the arts being done at the university. This is one more dimension. It’s a very strong complement to what already exists.”
He and Egan envision launching DeVos’s first academic program, a master’s degree in arts management, in Fall 2015 or 2016. It will provide the opportunity to combine practice and theory with research and scholarship, and it is expected to draw on the university’s expertise in nonprofit management, business administration and finance as well as its galleries and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, which hosts more than 1,000 events annually.
Maryland’s technological capabilities, they say, can support the institute’s long-distance learning programs and elevate their fellowship program by offering a certificate from an accredited university.
Egan expects arts professionals to make up much of the clientele, but hopes the institute forges new connections with Maryland alumni, too.
“There are alumni working in the field who could not only engage with our work, but who could also reconnect with the university,” he says.
Since 2001, the DeVos Institute has offered nonprofit programs to train executive managers, artistic directors and their boards in areas including artistic planning, fundraising, marketing and board development. Kaiser and Egan also offer private consulting to arts organizations, foundations and government agencies.
Once the DeVos staff moves into the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU), it intends to conduct a seminar series on arts management for the UMD community this fall, intensive summer and winter fellowship programs for international arts managers and a conference for directors of American arts organizations.
ARHU Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill foresees opportunities for the university’s performing and visual arts programs to collaborate with these organizations.
“The DeVos partnership will enlarge our expertise, broaden our audience and help elevate our standing as a university at the forefront of preparing for the future of the arts,” she says. “We can engage them in some of the things we’re doing, and learn from them and be enriched by them. It’s a wonderful opportunity for mutual learning and growth.”
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