While many professional arts training programs prepare students to excel at the practice and performance of the arts, evidence suggests that many professional arts training programs may be failing to prepare students to be professional artists. A total of 11.1% of all recent college graduates with undergraduate arts degrees are unemployed (Carnevale, Cheah, & Strohl, 2012, p. 7).
Fifty-two percent of arts undergraduate alumni reported being dissatisfied with their institution’s ability to advise them about further career or education opportunities (SNAAP, 2012, p. 14). Eighty-one percent of all arts undergraduate alumni reported having a primary job outside of the arts for reasons of job security (SNAAP, 2012, p. 19). Many arts higher education administrators address the situation by advising arts students to attend business and entrepreneurship courses. However, these courses are often taught or presented outside of an arts training context. Arts entrepreneurship education can serve as contextual business/career/technology education for arts students; however, barriers make it difficult for administrators to create adequate curricular room for arts entrepreneurship education.
Furthermore, the teaching and learning of contextual business/career/technology education in professional arts training programs may often be thought of as helpful but not essential, as evidenced by the National Office of Arts Accreditation (NOAA) classification of these types of courses as general education units. This essay supports the need for arts entrepreneurship education, and discusses key barriers to recognizing arts entrepreneurship education as essential to professional arts training.