University of Oregon

Arts and Administration Program

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

AAD 199 Arts Meets Science: Making the Invisible Visible 

What are artistic and cultural meanings of scientific images? How is scientific-based imagery displayed artistically and how do artists remix these visualizations in their own works? When placed within artistic contexts, scientific images change meaning over time and become part of our visual culture. We will examine ways in which images, whether of the human body or the universe, are visually and artistically represented in public spaces and how such imagery tells us stories about our lives related to science. Each student will research and analyze a specific artist throughout the term.

AAD 199 Portable Life Museum 

A primary reason scholars and creatives investigate material visual culture is to learn why people make, use, respond to, and preserve objects or experiences from a contextually-based viewpoint rather than a descriptive or formalistic examination.  You will have an opportunity in this course to examine your own creative, investigative ways of engaging with, preserving, or experiencing objects that you encounter in your own material visual culture, that represent the portability of your own life. By engaging with everyday objects and our surroundings in novel ways, we will develop personal Portable Life Museums/Cabinets of Curiosity as tools to understand issues of art, culture, and identity in your own life through guided creative and research processes.

AAD 199 Writing for Art: The Art of Writing

Good writing requires inspiration and investigation.  Explore the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and make connections between the visual arts and the written word.  Attempt to answer: What is art?  How do contemporary artists address current events such as race, cancer, war, and political unrest?  Let your writing be inspired by weekly activities that involve sketching, short stories, collages, portraits, and poetry exercises.  Learn about contemporary artists such as graffiti artist Banksy, photographer Cindy Sherman, and portrait artist Kehinde Wiley.  Gain confidence in your writing and learn to critique art through discussion, writing, reading, and hands-on projects.

AAD 250 Art and Human Values***

This course addresses fundamental, theoretical, and practical questions from the view of art as a powerful societal and cultural force.  Participants experience art to examine their own and others’ values in order to advance multicultural and cross-cultural understanding.  Emphasis is upon individual interpretation and experience in local, national, and international settings.

AAD 251 The Arts and Visual Literacy***

This course explores the omnipresence of the visual experience in our daily lives and how societies and individuals bring meaning to it. The course examines select contexts that may include physical, social, cultural, perceptual, affective, aesthetic, and cognitive modes that shape the meanings of visual phenomena. The history of the arts in human culture reveals how complex visual languages have developed; sometimes only a small group understands certain visual codes. And now, this language is delivered by way of many different signs, symbols, technologies, and other modes of communication that interact when viewing, interpreting, and assessing visual information within socio-cultural contexts. 

AAD 252 Art and Gender***

This course considers how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture. This class introduces and addresses socio-cultural factors influencing gender expression and discusses gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums in community and cultural contexts.  The course examines underlying societal structures that affect how art and artists have been defined and asks students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.

AAD 301 Understanding Arts and Creative Sectors

This course sets out to map the concepts of "art world" and "creative sector" as they relate to each other generally and to the practice of arts administration specifically. We will explore cultural, political, economic, and technological facets of creative activity in social contexts, always seeking to understand how these factors inform the ways in which arts administrators serve communities through arts-based programming. The course will attend to both U.S. and international examples while seeking a balance of critical thinking and practical application of ideas. Ultimately, the course provides tools for students to identify art worlds and critically engage the factors that shape creative sectors.

AAD 312 Arts Management

This course introduces the field of professional management of arts organizations such as museums, galleries, community arts centers, and performing arts organizations. As an introductory survey course, you will explore topics such as understanding the unique nature of arts organizations, arts leadership, strategic planning, organizational design, human resources in arts organizations, economics of the arts, financial management, fundraising, and marketing. This course also provides insight into multiple career paths in arts management as well as advice for career development in the arts.  

AAD 315 Funding the Arts

This course introduces the marketing and fundraising management functions in arts organizations like museums, galleries, community arts centers, and performing arts organizations. In this course, you will development management skills for generating revenue to support arts products and experiences. You will learn to understand the arts market, identify the dimensions of an arts experience, manage annual fundraising campaigns, engage diverse communities in the arts, promote the arts, and to strategically plan arts marketing and fundraising efforts. This course provides insight into marketing and development career paths in the arts and culture sector, and provides basic knowledge and skills that can be applied to a wide range of careers in the arts.

AAD 408 Exhibit Development Workshop

This series of workshops covers the theory and practice of developing a research-based museum exhibition, drawing from UO collections, and culminating in the installation and evaluation of an exhibit at one of the academic museums on campus. Please note, this four-credit series runs over three terms, to accommodate both our coursework and museum partner schedules.

AAD 410 Planning Interpretive Exhibits

Interpretive exhibits bring objects, images, and ideas to life for visitors through storytelling, diverse presentation media, and opportunities for visitor engagement, learning, and participation. In this course you’ll learn basic principles of exhibit development, and gain practical experience with a proven approach to exhibit planning. Using examples from actual exhibit projects and working with real images and objects, you’ll experiment with ways to make exhibit content meaningful and memorable for visitors. Discussion, group work, and individual projects, with thoughtful feedback from the instructor, will give you a taste of the field of interpretive exhibit development and design.

AAD 410 Collections Care and Management

This course introduces students to museum collections management and registration, through lectures, discussion, field trips, and hands-on-practice. An ethical responsibility to preserve, protect, and facilitate access to collections is stressed. The course uses collections management policies as a framework for understanding registration processes, preventative care and handling of objects, and the essentials of the museum environment. Current issues will be touched upon, including digitization projects, electronic records management, management of culturally-sensitive collections, and the growing demand for accessible collections both on-line and on site.

AAD 410 Cultural Museum

This course introduces students to Museum Studies (the study of museum history, theory and practice) from an anthropological perspective. The format of this course will primarily involve student and instructor-facilitated seminars, critically analyzing and debating literature and issues in the field. Experiential aspects of the course will involve the examination of key themes through classroom discussion and museum visits. Finally, students will also be exposed to current issues in professional practice through question and answer sessions with local museum workers.

AAD 425 Ethics of Art and Museums

Ethical decisions are based on good judgment accumulated from knowledge and experience, often forming the basis of discussions leading toward museum policies and the interpretation of legal issues. As museums act as public institutions who must build trust with its audiences and patrons, high standards of ethical behavior are critical to their success. This course looks at two main areas of ethical decisions for museums and cultural organizations: area of governance, i.e., conflicts of interest, the decision making process, and professional practices; and programs, particularly collections management and exhibitions.  

AAD 410 Museum Theory

Following a brief introduction to the history of museums, this course surveys key issues and theoretical orientations informing contemporary museum practice and museological inquiry. To date, theoretical influences have generally been filtered through cognate disciplines (e.g., art history, anthropology), and the influence this has on museum studies will also be explored.

AAD 420 Event Management

Examines management practices and trends of special events, festival, celebrations, and fundraisers sponsored by organizations.

AAD 429 Museum Education

This course will provide an overview of the field of Museum Education including history, theory, and programming.  Format will include lecture, discussion, class group activities, student presentations, fieldwork, videos, and guest speakers.  Students will develop a major project: the creation of a significant component of a specific museum education program.

AAD 430 Youth Arts Curriculum and Methods

This course is designed to provide educators with introductory knowledge and skills necessary for implementing substantive and appropriate arts instruction as an integral part of the core curriculum for young learners. Participants will learn to teach art as a unique means of thinking, communicating, understanding and learning about ourselves, others, and the world.  Course content will emphasize the visual arts, with some integration to other arts. 

AAD 434 Artist Entrepreneur 

This course provides explorations into the evolution of entrepreneurship in relation to the arts and empowers emerging artists to harness their creative pursuits by assessing their creative entrepreneurial potential. Through theoretical research and current entrepreneurial methodologies, students will develop the mindset and practice of an arts entrepreneur:  to identify needs in a community, foster the opportunity and discovery process, validate assumptions, and launch creative projects. Students will investigate the creative sector and dialog with professionals about the themes in this course towards developing a future practicum opportunity that best reflects their passion and purpose for a career in the arts. This course is open to students from all creative disciplines based on the understanding that the arts entrepreneur in any field shares more similarities than differences when it comes to professional development.

AAD 435 Arts Business Development

Integrate the entrepreneurial start-up process with business skills and build an understanding of the strategies the artist entrepreneur needs to transform creative ideas into meaningful ventures. Case studies and field research with professionals in the for-profit and not-for-profit creative sectors will allow participants to explore current and changing business and entrepreneurial practices in the arts. Understanding the challenges for individual art entrepreneurs and arts organizations will assist participants to establish their place in the professional creative sector. 

AAD 451 Community Cultural Development

This course is an overview of the relationship of the arts and culture to community development. Settings, constituencies, philosophical approaches, methodologies, planning and funding of arts and cultural programs will be examined. Career opportunities will be discovered and explored, and there is a strong emphasis on developing practical strategies for community cultural development. Focus is on making the difference in communities.

AAD 571 Performing Arts Management
Examines development of cultural-policy institutions and processes worldwide; emphasis on understanding contemporary American cultural-policy issues. Governance and strategic planning; executive leadership; management; revenue; developing audiences; cross-cultural interactions.


AAD 475 Performing Arts Industry

The Performing Arts Industry Workshop is designed for performing artists and arts managers interested in the business practices of presenting performing arts events. Topics include negotiating and contracting, technical riders, event budgeting, revenue management strategies, artists’ relations, and the arts manager’s role in presenting events.

*** This course is also taught online each term.

Requirements of the minor and availability of courses may change without notice.