Master of Arts - University of Houston
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Questions? Please contact
Fleurette S. Fernando
Arts Leadership Director 

The M.A. in Arts Leadership will provide advanced study in the management and promotion of arts organizations across artistic disciplines. The degree requires 36 semester credit hours of coursework and internship. It consists of:

Practicum Requirements

All students will be required to complete a Practicum within an established, professional arts organization in in the greater Houston area. The Practicum provides the student with a meaningful, intensive on-the-job training experience in preparation for a leadership position while maintaining a student role, and provides the host organization with the opportunity to train and utilize future professionals in the non-profit and for-profit arts sectors.

During the Practicum, the student is expected work 300 hours on the identified project in total. Time spent on the project should be divided however it works best for the student and the organization. Practicum projects can be completed at any time during the academic semesters of the M.A. program or during the summer/winter breaks. A minimum of 15 credit hours (5 courses) must be completed within the M.A. in Arts Leadership Program before the student undertakes the actual fieldwork, although the planning phase may begin earlier.


In order to accommodate working professionals, all classes are held in the evenings, Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Please note course codes and titles are subject to change. Please refer to the Graduate Course Catalogue for schedule details. For further information on the Practicum program please see the Practicum Overview.

15 credit hours must be chosen from the following:

ARLD 6300 – Fundamentals and Strategic Planning for the Arts (3 credit hours) 
The course will serve as an introduction to strategic planning for leaders of arts organizations encouraging students to determine the importance of planning and decision making, creation of mission, vision and value statements; and the development of a complete strategic plan. The course will address the importance of strategic thinking, change management and leadership. 

ARLD 6310 – Fundraising for the Arts (3 credit hours) 
The course serves as an introduction to fundraising strategies for leaders of the arts and provides a comprehensive overview of the fundraising process for non-profit organizations. Students are introduced to basic terminology and concepts in the field; relationship building, the solicitation process, the grants process, major gifts process, the annual campaign, corporate giving and the role of planned giving within an organization’s overall fundraising efforts. 

ARLD 6315 – Public Relations and Marketing in the Arts (3 credit hours) 
Introduction to public relations and marketing for leaders of arts organizations, this introductory course surveys a variety of techniques, from audience research and campaign development to advertising and branding, and emerging online tools. Basic strategies of public relations will be explored along with methods for making the most of social media platforms to develop and deepen customer relationships. The course will cover marketing principles as they relate to building, maintaining and developing audiences for performing and visual arts organizations 

ARLD 6320 – Financial Management for the Arts (3 credit hours) 
Course investigates fundamental concepts of financial theory and applies to the management of Arts Organizations; concepts include financial statement analysis, profit planning, sources and forms of financing, budgeting and business valuation. 

ARLD 6335 – Leading Change in the Arts (3 credit hours) 
Effectively leading change within arts organizations requires a keen understanding of what it means to truly influence both people and outcomes, and how to best assert one’s own unique leadership stance for the biggest positive impact.  This course will examine various leadership and change approaches, explore each student’s unique leadership stance, and bring those concepts to bear on the particular challenges and changes facing today’s visual and performing arts institutions. 

ARLD 6340 – Law and the Arts (3 credit hours) 
Overview of legal issues in the arts subjects including copyright, fair use and appropriation of images/sounds. Students examine moral rights of artists, freedom of speech, privacy cultural and intellectual property. 

15 credit hours may be chosen from the following and are highly recommended but not required. Students may select elective course from departments outside of the Arts Leadership Program:

ARLD 6325 - Career Development for the Individual Artist (3 credit hours) 
This course will guide students through the process of cultivating a personal artistic brand and developing an individualized business model created for long-term viability. We will also investigate various methods of translating artistic worth into product pricing, brand messaging for authenticity and building in brand consistency across platforms. Course will also explore working with presenters, agents and managers, and what to individual artists should be mindful of as they develop their work and their careers.

ARLD 6330 – The Arts and Technology (3 credit hours)
Course explores intersections of art and technology across interdisciplinary practices. Through readings, viewings, projects, critiques, and guest presentations, students examine technologically mediated art as well as new media and research.

ARLD 6350 – Business Models for Arts Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours) 
This class will examine financial models of successful cultural-based businesses. Students will learn what it takes to open and run a business, how to build business models for different kinds of ventures, and how to determine if entrepreneurship is the right choice for them. For artists, arts administrators, and creative professionals, the skills learned in this course can be immediately applied to the issues and challenges that all will encounter as they begin to navigate in the cultural landscape. 

ARLD 6360 – The Arts and Community Engagement (3 credit hours)
Course explores connecting the arts with community need in an effort to learn about issues of common concern including arts education, activism, public art and community development.

ARLD 6370 – Introduction to Museum and Gallery Management (3 credit hours)
This course provides an overview of key aspects for managing nonprofit museums and commercial galleries and introduces students to the practical skills required in these fields, including: exhibition planning, promotion, and publicity; development of educational materials and programs; exhibition design and installation; and the proper handling and treatment of art objects. Students will be exposed to professionals currently working in the field though guest lectures and site visits.

ARLD 6371 – Museum Programming (3 credit hours)
This course will serve as an overview to the current trajectory of curation, the history of galleries and museums, methodologies, politics of display, and the art market, allowing students to explore the history, theory and practice of museums as well as the current and emerging trends in the field. Though guest lectures and site visits, students will also have the opportunity to meet with Houston area museum professionals to learn the process of museum programming including curatorial work, registration, education and public programming, marketing, public relations and collection management.

ARLD 6372 – Museum Education and Community Engagement (3 credit hours)
Students address the issues regarding the development and implementation of museum education and community engagement in current museum practices through readings, discussions, and multiple visits to local institutions.

ARLD 6380 – Introduction to Arts in Health (3 credit hours)
This course will serve as an introduction to the emerging field of Arts in Health in America. This experiential course will be held in part at Houston Methodist Hospital and consist of lectures by established professionals in the field, tours to programs in session and hands-on activities. In completion of this course students will demonstrate a broad understanding of how the arts are used to improve health and well-being in America in the healthcare environment, the patient experience, clinical services, caring for caregivers, health sciences education, and community health and well-being.

ARLD 6381 – Arts and Health in Practice (3 credit hours)
This course explores the practice of arts in medicine in the fields of health and human services. The course will be providing a dynamic, interdisciplinary overview of diverse practices and methodologies in the field of arts in medicine in community and healthcare settings including art therapy, art in public health, art and design in the environment of care, art and compassion, art and human development and art of self-care.

ARLD 6382 – Healthcare Administration, Policy and Research (3 credit hours)
This course explores an overview of hospital administration and research and evaluation in arts in medicine. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods will be discussed, with an emphasis on arts informed approaches for use in healthcare settings, be it in the hospital or in the community. Through video lectures, webinars, readings, writing assignments, and weekly discussions, students will learn the basics of developing a research proposal and evaluation plan.

ARLD 6395 – Selected Topics in Arts Leadership - Leadership in Public Art (3 credit hours)
The course will serve as an overview to the administration, management and leadership of Public Art as a professional field for leaders in arts organizations and for individual artists. Through site visits and guest lectures from leaders in the sector, the course will encourage students to determine the importance of planning and decision making and will deepen understanding of policies and political realities that affect the creation and implementation of art in public spaces including artist selection processes, contracts, development of projects, working with stakeholders as well as public and educational programming.

ARLD 4397/6395 – Selected Topics in Arts Leadership - Arts and Social Justice (3 credit hours)
The course will explore current issues of social justice and how they interface with the cultural sector. The course will give students the opportunity to explore critical issues of how activism and the arts intersect from many different points of view, by artists currently doing the work of art and social justice within communities and in professional arenas.

ARLD 6398 – Special Problems in Arts Leadership (3 credit hours) 
Independent Study.

PUBL 6310 – Administrative Theory (3 credit hours) 
The course establishes the theory base for the field of public administration by introducing students to a comprehensive set of historical and current theories, concepts, and approaches in public administration. The course will focus on theory in readings, and it will incorporate the application of theory in class discussions about current events and class papers. In the end, students should have a greater understanding of administrative theory and be able to apply it to the practice of public administration. 

PUBL 6349 – Non-Profit Management (3 credit hours) 
This course is designed to facilitate an understanding of non-governmental service/advocacy organizations, or “nonprofit organizations”, and the management and leadership skills required to effectively organize, maintain, and grow them. The class will explore the day-to-day management practices required of nonprofit leaders, as well as the leadership qualities required to keep the organization relevant and thriving. 

PUBL 6342 – Budgeting for Public Agencies (3 credit hours) 
This course provides an overview of public budgeting ideas, concepts and techniques. The purpose is to provide an understanding of public budgeting and a foundation for submitting and reviewing public budget proposals. 

PUBL 6350 – Public Management (3 credit hours) 
Students learn to apply management theory as taught in the Business School while addressing democratic values such as equity, inclusiveness, individual rights, and representation in the decision-making process as executed in the public sector. This course focuses on managing a public organization effectively and efficiently within the constraints of democracy and federalism. This course combines practice and theory in case studies, readings, class discussions, and papers. At conclusion of course, students will be better prepared to manage a public organization. 

Summer 2024

ARLD 6691 – Practicum Placement
With the director’s permission

ARLD 6398 – Independent Study
With the director’s permission 


Fall 2024


All classes are from 5:30 - 8:30 pm unless otherwise listed.  
ARLD 3300 – Introduction to Arts Administration 
Monday/Wednesday 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Instructor: Emily McWilliams
ARLD 6320 – Financial Management for the Arts
Instructor: Justine Townsend
ARLD 6335 – Leading Change in the Arts
Instructor: Amanda Cachia
ARLD 6380 – Introduction to Arts in Health (online)
Instructor: Shay Kulha
ARLD 6372 – Museum Education and Community Engagement (online)  
Instructor: Katherine Veneman
ARLD 6395 – Leadership in Public Art (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership)
Instructors: Mike Guidry and Ileana Yordon-Cuevas
ARLD 6310 – Fundraising for the Arts (online)
Instructor: Carolyn Hays
ARLD 6370 – Introduction to Museum and Gallery Management (online) 
Instructor: Amanda Cachia
ARLD 6395 – Exhibition Practices (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership) 
Instructor: Ashley DeHoyos
ARLD 6395 – The Arts and Community Engagement (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership)
Fridays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Instructor: Assata Richards
ARLD 6691 – Practicum Placement
With the director’s permission
Instructor: Fleurette Fernando
ARLD 6398 – Independent Study
With the director’s permission
Instructor: Fleurette Fernando
ARLD 6391 – Certificate Internship
With the director’s permission
Instructor: Amanda Cachia

"Prior to working at MD Anderson, I was involved or running art education programs that tied to arts and health (the Healing Art program at Art League Houston and hospital outreach programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), however, I didn't know that there was a specific career track for this type of work. I have heard a statistic that approximately half of the hospitals in the US have an arts program of some type and I feel that this field is growing. The program I manage, two years ago was only me and now we are a team of three full-time employees. I have seen the same type of growth from institutions across the Texas Medical Center. There is interest in the role of the arts in healthcare and I feel that opportunities will continue to grow, not only for administrative positions, but for artists in residence programs and teaching artist opportunities." Zachary Gresham (MA '15), Program Manager, Arts in Medicine University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center

Learn More about the Arts and Health Certificate