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CCFA Launches New Arts Entrepreneurship Certification

The College of Communication and Fine Arts is now offering an Arts Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate as an available program for prospective businessmen and women with existing backgrounds in creative fields.

“This is a brand-new initiative that’s sponsored by the CCFA,” said Dr. Ryan Fisher, associate dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts. “We coordinated the planning and development from people within various CCFA Departments and community arts leaders and entreprenuers to form the core curriculum.”

The fully-online graduate certificate, which consists of 12 credit hours spread across four seven-week courses, aims to support the development and articulation of arts startups, incubators and other forms of entrepreneurship in order to build a creative community.

The Arts Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate is geared toward helping artistically minded individuals with a core idea for a potential business build and develop their plans in a meaningful way.

“The idea behind it is that we bring in individuals who already have some type of idea that they’re looking to get off the ground,” said Fisher. “We walk them through the full development of an idea — from the business model to the action plan, product development — and also work to build a sense of community by linking mentors with those people.”

The course format behind the certificate allows room for guest presenters from a lengthy list of successful local arts entrepreneurs, which will hopefully lead to greater opportunities for participants.

“Our hope is that this course will culminate in a formal pitch for someone to invest in a student’s business,” said Fisher. “The idea is that this will eventually lead to a yearly arts entrepreneurship conference where we’ll see these individuals present their ideas in front of the general public, as well.”

Todd Richardson, president of Crosstown Redevelopment Cooperative and former associate professor of art history at the University of Memphis, served as one of several members of the development committee behind the Arts Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate alongside Dr. Fisher and Dean Anne Hogan.

“The core of creating art is creating something new, something that doesn’t exist yet,” said Richardson. “So when you do that — just like when starting a new small business — there needs to be some kind of training on how to go about vetting those new things, how to build a base, and how to really sell what you’re creating all while getting critical feedback along the way. This certification goes past the ordinary creative training in terms of helping students understand that what they’re doing after college will be far beyond just making something, although that remains the most important step.”

For more information on the new Arts Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate, visit To apply for this certificate, visit The University of Memphis Graduate Admissions Landing Page.


Published inArts EntrepreneurshipCollege of Communication and Fine ArtsNew DevelopmentsUniversity of Memphis

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