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Mike Curb Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership

Become a changemaker and an innovator

Mike Curb Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership students are changemakers and innovators working toward more just and sustainable futures that connect art and design to society. The program responds to increasing interest in the roles that arts and design play in fields ranging from health and community development to infrastructure and technology. It also builds on innovations in the creative industries that are disrupting traditional business models, advancing technological change, and democratizing access to culture. Using arts and design-based methods to advance a spectrum of enterprises, graduates are equipped to pursue positions as arts managers, cultural producers, civic leaders, business leaders, among others. In 2015, the Mike Curb Family Foundation provided the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts with the incentive to launch curricular programs in creative enterprise and cultural leadership.

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Program highlights

Cohort model
Learn in an environment that offers peer support and intimate class sizes.

The Field Experience
Meet leaders and experience arts and culture in another city.

Applied project
Launch your creative project or enterprise.

Institute professors
Work with faculty mentors who are socially-engaged arts leaders.

Project-based learning
Take concepts from the classroom to the community.

Coursework and collaboration

Classes mix theory and practice through applied learning in collaboration with a range of community, nonprofit, business and public sector partners. Local and national leaders engage with students in classes, site visits, collaborative projects and through a field experience that includes travel to another city. The program culminates with a capstone Applied Project that can take the form of research or the launch of a new project. In addition to core classes, students select additional focused coursework to advance their own professional goals and interests.
The program is housed within ASU’s National Collaborative for Creative Work which propels artists and designers as leaders for social transformation and public good.

Core themes

Context and equity
Explore how art and design are produced within the layered contexts of place and community, field and discipline, economy and policy – influenced by critical questions of equity and inclusion.

Cross-sector work
Engage with professionals and projects across other disciplines, promoting stewardship of art and design in society.

Changemaking and leadership
Learn how skillsets in changemaking and innovation are applicable to arts managers, cultural producers, and creative business leaders for sustainability and societal impact.

Structures of work
Implement structures of organization, leadership and management through project-based-learning toward more cross-sectoral, collaborative work.

Evaluation and accountability
Develop skillsets in comprehensive, equitable evaluation that are accountable to communities and collaborators. Understand how artists and researchers are embedded in social and cultural contexts.

The Field Experience

The Field Experience course is a central component of the Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership curriculum. It is a unique opportunity for students to be immersed in the art and design fields of a place located outside of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Framed around a special topic of current relevance to the field in the destination place, the course is a hybrid mix of initial sessions to contextualize the location followed by a site visit.

Past classes have traveled to the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York with other destinations being considered for the future. Intimate visits have been organized with the Apollo Theatre, Maker City LA, Creative Arts Agency, Sony Studios, Creative Capital, NEW INC, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and BAM among other organizations and initiatives. Throughout each trip, students have the opportunity to network with interdisciplinary professionals and to participate in local art and design events.

What students are saying

The program taught us about the impact the arts have within society and its ability to drive social change.

With the program I was able to take classes in business, sculpture, graphic and industrial design, and find the mentorship that I needed.

Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership prepared me for my current career by connecting: design thinking methods, community change measurement methods, social entrepreneurship, cultural leadership, mission and vision development.

Who's involved

Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership students get to work with national leaders who are experts in a variety of fields, including arts in equitable development, theatre and civic practice, music and project-based learning, cultural policy and creative work, creative placemaking or placekeeping, social engaged arts initiatives and more.

National leaders as faculty

The MA in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership faculty draw on the expertise of interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners who are shaping the future of art and design today. ASU faculty include Institute Professors Maria Rosario Jackson (arts in equitable development) and Daniel Roumain (field experience), as well as Herberger Institute Dean Steven Tepper (cultural policy and creative work) among others. This program offers opportunities to connect with the National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation, the Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities, and other initiatives of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.


Application requirements

The applicant must meet all admission requirements of the Graduate College, including a bachelor’s degree in a broad range of related fields.

  • Completed online application
  • English proficiency test
    (International applicants only)
  • Letter of intent
    Include your reasons for applying to this program, how your abilities and interests make you a suitable candidate, and what your future goals are after completion.
  • Sample of work
    Include a brief contextual cover sheet and 2-5 examples of relevant academic, creative or professional work such as:
    • Academic essay or report;
    • Sample of professional or technical writing;
    • Business, project or marketing plan;
    • Material produced for your professional creative practice;
    • Documentation of your creative projects (blog, video, photos, video, website)
    • Curatorial materials for an event/exhibition/program;
    • Other relevant material.
  • Two letters of recommendation
    From professionals who can speak to the potential for success in the graduate program and in future work.
  • Professional résumé
  • Undergraduate university transcripts
  • Application fee
  • GRE test scores are optional and are not a requirement to apply for this program

Application deadlines:

  • Priority deadline: February 15
  • Applications accepted on rolling basis through July 15 for a fall start

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What are Accelerated Programs at ASU?

ASU students may accelerate their studies by earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in as little as five years (for some programs) or by earning a bachelor’s degree in 2.5 or 3 years.

Accelerated bachelor's and master's degree programs are designed for high-achieving undergraduate students who want the opportunity to combine undergraduate coursework with graduate coursework to accelerate completion of their master’s degree. These programs, featuring the same high-quality curriculum taught by ASU's world-renowned faculty, allow students to obtain both a bachelor's and a master's degree in as little as five years.

Accelerated bachelor’s degree programs allow students to choose either a 2.5- or a 3-year path while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students can opt to fast-track their studies after acceptance into a participating program by connecting with their academic advisor.

Apply for the CECL 4+1 program

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