Capilano University arts and entertainment management program opens doors into Canada's thriving cultural sector

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Arts, culture, and heritage is a $53.8-billion industry in Canada, and this sector has more than 650,000 jobs, according to the Ministry of Canadian Heritage.

      But many people aren’t aware where they can get training to work in arts-and-entertainment management, according to Jennifer Nesselroad, chair of Capilano University’s school of performing arts.

      She’s also program coordinator of the school’s arts-and-entertainment management program, which offers a two-year diploma and a one-year advanced certificate.

      The diploma students are often younger students who attend full-time, learning about production and design, record-label and festival management, and a broad overview of the arts-and-entertainment industry. There are also courses focusing on computer applications in arts-and-entertainment management, technical theatre fundamentals, writing strategies, and venue management.

      That’s in addition to doing front-of-the-house shifts in their first year at Capilano University’s BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts.

      In their second year, in addition to course work, diploma students go on practicums to gain hands-on experience with professional organizations. They can be placed at music-oriented companies like the Feldman Agency, Nettwerk Music Group, and 604 Records or arts organizations involved in everything from theatre to dance to festivals.

      “We’ve got two sides,” Nesselroad told the Straight by phone. “We cover commercial music and the nonprofit side.”

      An instructor in the arts-and-entertainment management program, Christy Goerzen, told the Straight by phone that some are also interested in film and TV production.

      “So we have students going to talent agencies, casting agencies, and that sort of thing, too,” she said.

      Nesselroad and Goerzen explained that the one-year advanced-certificate program is geared more toward people who either have volunteered in the area or have some arts-related industry experience. It offers 300-level courses in advanced financial management in arts and entertainment as well as advanced media relations, marketing, and promotions. There are other courses focusing on fundraising and sponsorships, artist development, production and tour management, and organizational structures in the industry.

      “With the academic portion, they’re in the classroom for two days a week, from May to August,” Nesselroad said. “Then they go straight into the practicum in September, so they’re working 28 hours a week. There is some academic work online that goes with it, but they don’t actually come to campus after that except for a few short seminars.”

      Goerzen said the certificate program attracts more mature students and they come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

      “We had one who has a doctorate in astrophysics,” she said. “She has been volunteering in the arts and she wanted to work in the arts, so she made a big career change. We have interesting stories like that which come out of the certificate program.”