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OKCU Adds Nonprofit Leadership Program for Arts

Kay Holt headshot

Oklahoma City University is adding a new master’s degree track this fall to its Nonprofit Leadership program that will emphasize arts organizations.

The Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership: Arts Administration track will teach students the fundamentals of managing organizations in theatre, music, visual arts, museums, performing arts centers and more, said Kay Holt, associate director of the program.

“The arts industry acts in different ways than other kinds of businesses, or even other kinds of nonprofits. Arts organizations need particular management and leadership techniques in order to succeed,” Holt noted. “Too often, arts organizations mostly focus on the artistic product, without enough management expertise to create a strong business needed to support that product.”

She said many arts organizations aren’t prepared for their continuously changing environments, particularly during times of economic uncertainty.

“Although overcoming such challenges can be meaningful and satisfying, they are also a major reason that there is so much turnover every few years in arts organizations, especially at the executive level,” Holt said.

These organizations are also numerous, she added.

“In the central Oklahoma area, there are more than 60 arts agencies serving the cultural needs of our citizens. Statewide, that number is even larger — more than 2,000 — since even small communities often have an arts-related organization,” she said.

Students can either take an accelerated one-year plan or a two-year plan. Course topics include arts entrepreneurship, leadership and organizational behavior, strategic planning, using data, marketing techniques and more.

Holt has held leadership positions for arts organizations including Canterbury Voices and the Dallas Opera. She earned a Ph.D. in education, graduated from the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and has degrees in music education and performance. She has spent 26 years in higher education in several states. For more information, visit okcu.edu/artsci; or contact Holt at [email protected] or 405-208-5375.

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