MGMT 253/THAR 280


An Interdisciplinary Course

Sponsored by

The School of Arts and Sciences and The Wharton School

University of Pennsylvania



Course Description:


A study of the creation and presentation of art (e.g., theater, film, music, painting, etc.), the context of public culture and the management of for-profit and not-for-profit cultural organizations.   The course will consider management structures, distribution of the cultural product, strategies for acquiring and spending capital and decision-making, with emphasis on the differences between the public and private sectors. A combination of lectures by instructors and practitioners, case studies and consulting projects with regional institutions will illustrate the relationship between art and business.


Who Should Take This Course:


1)            Undergraduates who are considering a career in private or not-for-profit organizations that present the results of creativity to the public.

            2)            Undergraduates who wish to study the relationship between the arts and business.




            1)            Dr. Larry Robbins, Adj. Prof., Mgmt. Email:

            2)            Dr. John Katz, Visiting Professor, English. Email:

            3)            Dr. Cary Mazer, Assoc. Prof., English.  Email:


Prerequisites: None


Course Requirements:


            Papers:                         Two 3-5 page case analyses (due 10/2 and 10/25 or 11/13)            35%

                                                One 5-7page historical/analytical essay (due 10/11)              30%


            Term Project:               Group paper and presentation of

                                                  consulting project (paper due, 11/27—12/6)                           35%


            Required Reading:              Coursepack of case analyses and supporting







INTRODUCTION -- UNDERSTANDING THE CULTURAL CONTEXT OF THE                         ARTS (Katz, Mazer, Robbins)         


            Sept. 5 --  Issues Related to Creating and Presenting Art (Katz, Mazer, Robbins)


·                  Commodity and Consumption

·                  Film as a Reflection of Culture

·                  Decision Making in the Arts




Sept. 10 -- Commercial Theater, Not-for-Profit Theater:          

 An Historical Overview  (Mazer)


·                    The  Rise and Fall of the Syndicates

·                    The Rise of Regional and Not-for-Profit


Langley, Theatre Management and Production in America,  Ch. 5-6


            Sept. 12  --  The Business of Show Business  (Mazer)


·                    Developing, and Exploiting Properties: Real Estate, Script, Production, Touring 


Sept. 17  -- The Not-for-Profit Theater I (Mazer)


·                    Defining the Mission

·                    Finding the Audience


Sept. 19  --  Guest Speaker: David Stone, President, Stone Productions


Sept. 24  -- Curating Performance (Mazer)


·                    Touring Houses

·                    Presentation Houses


Readings: Langley, Theatre Management and Production in America, Ch. 10








            Sept. 26 --  Case: The People’s Light and Theatre Company


Guest Speaker: Grace Grillet, Managing Director, People’s Light and Theatre            Company


Oct. 1     -- Art Follows Business; Business Follows Art (Robbins)


·                  Creating and Sustaining an Institution

·                  The Tension Between and Art and Business


Readings:  Kotler and Scheff, Standing Room Only, pp. 29-63; 157-185


Oct. 3   --  Regional Theater


            Guest Speaker: Naomi Grabel, Managing Director, Wilma Theater


Readings: Carver, Boards That Make a Difference, pp. 24-39




            Oct.  8 --  A Brief History of the American Film Industry  (Katz)


·                  Hollywood

·                  Independents


          Readings: Squire, ed., The Movie Business Book, 2nd ed., pp. 96-165

                        Litwak, Dealmaking in the Film and Television Industry, pp. 218-250


            Oct. 10--  Putting the Deal Together (Katz)


·                  The Property

·                  Financing


Readings:  Baumgarten et al, Producing, Financing and Distributing Film,

    pp. 229-242; Overview (Flowchart) of the Film Industry


Oct. 15  --  Production  (Katz)


·                  Studio

·                  Post-Production


Oct. 17  --  Marketing and Distribution


            Guest Speaker:




Oct. 22  -- Exhibition and Exploitation (Katz)


·                    Audience

·                    Festivals

·                    Action Figures

·                    Television




Oct.  24  --  The Anatomy of a Not-For-Profit Institution (Robbins)


Readings: Carver, Boards That Make a Difference, pp. 24-39; Wolf, Managing a Nonprofit Organization in the Twenty-first Century, Ch. 2, “The Board,” pp. 45- 81


Oct.  29  --  The Cultural Complex


            Guest Speaker: Janice Price, President, Regional Center for the Performing Arts


Oct. 31  --  Case:  Lights Out at the Met (Robbins)


Nov. 5 -- Finance: Do Budgets Reflect or Create the Cultural Product?


                        Guest Speaker: Mark Weinstein, General Manager, The Pittsburgh Opera

                        Reading:  Blaug, Where Are We Now on Cultural Economics?


Nov. 7 --  The Marketing of Popular Culture


Guest Speaker:  Paul Burger, CEO, SONY Europe


Nov. 12   -- --  Fundraising for Culture (Robbins)


Readings: Stolper and Hopkins, Successful Fundraising for Arts and Cultural Organizations, pp. 1-18; Graham, Keep the Money Coming, pp. 16-24; 38-58


            Nov. 14  --  Decision Making in the Arts (Robbins)



                        Cases:  Philadelphia Museum of Art

Festival Repertory Theater



            Nov. 19  --  Making the Case for the Future (Katz, Mazer, Robbins)


            Nov. 21  --  Student Presentations


            Nov. 26  --  Student Presentations


            Nov. 28  --  Thanksgiving


            Dec. 3     --  Student Presentations


            Dec. 5     --  Student Presentations