Bringing Art and Entrepreneurship Together

Artists are passionate about what they do. Passion is the key ingredient in Entrepreneurship. Students within the arts are generally focused entirely on their craft and often form a sort of "knowledge tunnel" within their area of study. Becoming an expert in a craft is absolutely necessary. But what happens when artists graduate? Millikin University has one of the leading multi-disciplinary arts entrepreneurship programs in the country, utilizing three student-run ventures and two learning laboratories within the fine arts to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Upon entering the professional world, there are two options: work for a company or work for yourself. For artists, working for an established company is often highly competitive because there are limited opportunities for employment. Artists have a much higher chance of becoming self-employed. To do so, however, artists need knowledge of the business world.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur

Through the Arts Entrepreneurship Program, students are introduced to the meaning and implications of ownership by running and operating one of three fine arts related ventures including Blue Connection, a retail art gallery, Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre, a theatre company, or First Step Records, a record label and publishing company. 

In this program, students have the freedom to take creative ideas and translate them into unique products or marketing venues for the student-run ventures. All the while, students are actively learning what it takes to start, run, and maintain their own business venture through opportunity recognition and capitalizing on those opportunities. Best of all, artists get to do what they do best: their art.

Studying Art Entrepreneurship

ET380 The Art of Entrepreneurship (3 credits)

This course will provide students with the foundation to analyze the marketing, operations, and financial functions of a new business utilizing BC Studios, an arts & business incubator. The course focuses on understanding the process of creativity and opportunity recognition and introduces students to the meaning and implications of ownership by launching micro-businesses.

ET/AR390 Blue Connection (1-3 credits)

Students enrolled in ET/AR390 are the Ownership Team of Blue Connection, Millikin’s student-run retail laboratory. The Ownership Team meets weekly to establish goals, set timelines, and execute plans in addition to presenting a monthly report to Blue Connection’s Board. Emphasis is placed on strategic planning, opportunity recognition, and ownership. Pre-requisite: ET380 The Art of Entrepreneurship

TH390 Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre (1-3 credits)

Students enrolled in TH360 are the Artistic and Production Teams for Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. The Teams meet weekly to establish goals, set timelines, and execute plans in addition to presenting a monthly report to Pipe Dreams’ Board. Emphasis is placed on concept and business development, programming, and marketing/branding. Pre-requisite: ET380 The Art of Entrepreneurship or Consent of Instructor; Interview Required for Artistic Team

MC390 First Step Records (1 credit)

Managing and operating First Step Records, Millikin University’s record label and publishing entity. Areas of responsibility include: production, manufacturing, accounting, legal affairs, publishing, marketing/promotions/sales, graphic arts, artists and repertoire, and e-commerce. Open to all university students of at least sophomore standing, for up to a total of 6 credits, through an interview process. Pre-requisite: Sophomore, Junior, or Senior Standing; Interview Required

AR380-11 Advanced Studio Practicum: Carriage House Press (1-3 credits)

Carriage House Press, established in 2009, is Decatur's only fine art press specializing in archival limited edition etchings, photo etchings, and relief prints. Located on the grounds of the historic James Millikin Homestead, Carriage House Press functions as both a Millikin University student learning laboratory and fine art printing press. Pre-requisite: Junior/Senior Standing or Consent of Instructor

EN382-02 Blue Satellite Press (1-3 credits)

Blue Satellite Press prints limited edition, letterpress poetry broadsides. Students solicit previously unpublished work from contemporary poets, and then design a broadside that showcases what they admire in the poem. Students hand-cut the paper, hand-set moveable lead type, hand-tool the printing plates, and hand-ink—in doing so, students will learn aspects of design and print production that letterpress printing encourages: layering, color “interaction” and font as a design element, all aspects one can learn in computer layout, but only with deliberate, conscious effort. Students also engage the editorial aspects of the press, by soliciting and selecting poems, communicating with writers, and distributing broadsides. Pre-requisite: Junior/Senior Standing with Consent of Instructor