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30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED Arts and Cultural Management program marks a momentous commemoration

Field placement, with some of the liveliest arts communities in Canada, is part of the training at MacEwan.

To mark the Arts and Cultural Management program’s distinctive milestone, students, graduates, instructors, and friends gathered at a special reception this past November. For 30 years, MacEwan has been training administrators for performing and visual arts and cultural organizations. The program, proposed in 1972 and funded in 1979, was the first college-level arts administration certificate to be established in Canada. Today, it remains one of only two credentialed post-secondary arts management courses west of Toronto, and is the only credential in the field that can be completed entirely online (since 2004) and in as little as 10 months. The challenging curriculum is balanced between hands-on learning of specific skills needed by an arts administrator and concept development, recognition of trends, and consideration of

management approaches. Students also experience a field placement with some of the liveliest arts communities in Canada as part of their training at MacEwan. Organizations such as the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Fringe Theatre Adventures/Festival (Edmonton), Banff Centre, and Feldman & Associates (Vancouver) continue to place enthusiastic, skilled, and knowledgeable students. Some graduates even find experiences south of the border. Jessica Sporek recently returned from Mexico City and her internship at the Frida Kahlo Museum. “This was an experience that I will ever forget and one that I think will inevitably help my career because my name is out there in the arts and culture community in two cities, two countries,” she says. Over the past three decades, the Arts and Cultural Management program (Arts Administration prior to 2000) has provided the educational foundation for hundreds

of passionate and creative students who have gone on to become managers of professional theatre, dance or music organizations, coordinators for arts or cultural festivals, artist publicists or agents, and fundraising assistants or coordinators. In the past few years, graduates have even set themselves apart at convocation ceremonies. Four winners of the Distinguished Alumni Award and four recipients of the Medal of Excellence Award were all students of this dynamic and demanding program. Harmanie Shairp, a 2008 online graduate, would recommend the program to anyone. “I was able to share my experiences and learn from the experience of students all over the globe in many different areas of arts and culture,” she says. Shairp is currently a dancer, organizer, and founder of iDANCE Edmonton, an integrated dance program supported by the Steadward Centre. Her company recently won the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights Award for New and Emerging Program or Organization. Chair of the program since 1998, Rose Ginther has seen it all. “Although many things have changed since I began teaching in the program in 1992, one thing remains the same – the caliber of

On November 12, 2009, a special reception in the John L. Haar Theatre marked the Arts and Cultural Management Program’s 30th anniversary.

students we attract and their enthusiasm and passion for arts and culture,” Ginther says. As the program continues to keep pace with an ever-changing industry, new initiatives are also constantly being developed. This past November, with the support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, a new lecture series began whereby arts management professionals will share their experiences and ideas with students. Other initiatives in the works include a proposal to take the program to diploma by 2012, and ongoing negotiations to secure increased transfer potential for Arts and Cultural Management graduates. Ginther concludes, “These changes all work together to ensure MacEwan remains a leader in training arts and culture professionals well into the future.”

The program was the first college-level arts administration certificate to be established in Canada.


AACM 30th Anniversary