Home / Degree Programs / Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership, MA / About the Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership

The Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership empowers students to advance innovation in the cultural sector, support creative work and careers and design public and private enterprises that will strengthen arts and design in the future. The program prepares graduates to understand the complex economic, legal, political and social context that surrounds any innovation or enterprise.  Students are exposed to design thinking pedagogy as they increase their capacity for interpersonal communication, public communication, opportunity recognition, network/systems thinking, problem recognition and creativity as well as demonstrated ability in cultural leadership and knowledge of the creative industries, distribution of creative products, the creative process and management of innovation in the creative industries. The MA in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership is a program of ASU’s National Accelerator for Cultural Innovation, which propels artists and designers as leaders for social transformation and public good.


Program highlights

Cohort model

Learn in an environment that offers peer support and intimate class sizes.

The Field Experience

Meet leaders and experience arts and culture in another city.

Applied project

Launch your creative project or enterprise.

Institute Professors

Work with faculty mentors who are socially-engaged arts leaders.

Project-based learning

Take concepts from the classroom to the community.


Emphasis for 2020-21 Academic Year

Fall 2018 Outstanding Graduates: Sam Shugert

Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership students are changemakers and innovators working toward a more just and sustainable society.

Using arts and design-based methods to advance a spectrum of enterprises, Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership graduates are equipped to pursue positions as arts managers, cultural producers, civic leaders, and business leaders among others. The program responds to increasing interest in the roles that artists and designers play in building healthier, more equitable and more sustainable communities. As well growing trends in cross-sectoral collaborations connecting art and design with fields ranging from health and community development to infrastructure and technology. It also builds on innovations in the creative industries that are disrupting traditional business models, advancing technological change, and democratizing access to culture.


Core themes

Context and equity

Explore how art and design are produced within the layered contexts of place and community, field and discipline, economy and policy – influenced by critical questions of equity and inclusion.

Cross-sector work

Engage with professionals and projects across other disciplines, promoting stewardship of art and design in society.

Changemaking and leadership

Learn how skillsets in changemaking and innovation are applicable to arts managers, cultural producers, and creative business leaders for sustainability and societal impact.

Structures of work

Implement structures of organization, leadership and management through project-based-learning toward more cross-sectoral, collaborative work.

Evaluation and accountability

Develop skillsets in comprehensive, equitable evaluation that are accountable to communities and collaborators. Understand how artists and researchers are embedded in social and cultural contexts.




The Field Experience

The Field Experience course is a central component of the Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership curriculum. It is a unique opportunity for students to be immersed in the art and design fields of a place located outside of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Framed around a special topic of current relevance to the field in the destination place, the course is a hybrid mix of initial sessions to contextualize the location followed by a site visit.

Past classes have traveled to Los Angeles, Nashville and New York with other destinations being considered for the future. Intimate visits have been organized with the Apollo Theatre, Maker City LA, Creative Arts Agency, Sony Studios, Creative Capital, NEW INC and BAM among other organizations and initiatives. Throughout each trip, students have the opportunity to network with interdisciplinary professionals and to participate in local art and design events.

A group posing for a picture in front of a "Live Arts" background.
Live arts

New York, 2017

women conversing under reflective metallic material
Artist Sharon Louden's Studio

New York, 2018

Students gathered for a selfie in front of the Apollo Theater
Apollo Theatre

New York, 2019

  • Gold background for CECL student testimonials

    What students are saying

    Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership prepared me for my current career by connecting: design thinking methods, community change measurement methods, social entrepreneurship, cultural leadership, mission and vision development.”

  • Gold background for CECL student testimonials

    What students are saying

    The program taught us about the impact the arts have within society and its ability to drive social change.”

  • Gold background for CECL student testimonials

    What students are saying

    With the program I was able to take classes in business, sculpture, graphic and industrial design, and find the mentorship that I needed."

Who's involved

Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership students get to work with national leaders who are experts in a variety of fields, including arts in equitable development, theatre and civic practice, music and project-based learning, cultural policy and creative work, creative placemaking or placekeeping, social engaged arts initiatives and more.