Artist and Entrepreneurs Meet in Duke in Chicago

Duke in Chicago is a new six-week, two-course summer program for entrepreneurs who love the arts and for artists who want to become entrepreneurial. The program is offered by the Department of Theater Studies, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, and the Global Education Office for Undergraduates (GEO) of Duke University. It is open to students in the performing and visual arts and also those interested in business and management, economics and computer science. All will find that there is great deal to learn in Chicago—a thriving global center of international trade and commerce, unique as an arts center because of its booming storefront scene of small start-up companies.

In the current cultural landscape, artists must be entrepreneurs, and students with business acumen—who love the arts, but are not artists themselves—can make a career of it. Curiosity, self-motivation, agency, entrepreneurship, collaboration, fundraising, producing, and marketing are necessary skills. A project course challenges teams of students to collectively devise, prepare, produce, market, and present an arts-based event. A guest speaker course will introduce students to Chicago and connect them with professionals, including Duke alumni and potential mentors, who will speak about their own experience combining arts and entrepreneurship in such fields as theater, visual arts and advertising, film, music, dance, marketing and communications, writing, producing, performance, design, directing, and comedy. This class includes an internship/volunteering or performance/writing class component. Lectures will be held in DePaul University’s new theatre building.

Students in the program can intern with organizations such as The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Joffrey Ballet. They hear from speakers like Welz Kauffman, president/CEO of Ravinia Festival, Martha Lavey, artistic director of Steppenwolf, and Theaster Gates, installation and social practice artist and founder of the Rebuild Foundation. And of course they visit the city’s famous museums, attend performances across all tiers of the Chicago theater scene, and enjoy the free music, food, and art festivals.

The summer of 2014 was the program’s inaugural year—read about the experience in the students’ blog. For further information visit the program web site.