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

Mike Curb Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership students are changemakers and innovators working toward more just and sustainable futures that connect art and design to society. The program responds to increasing interest in the roles that arts and design play in 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. Using arts and design-based methods to advance a spectrum of enterprises, graduates are equipped to pursue positions as arts managers, cultural producers, civic leaders, business leaders, among others.


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.


Coursework and collaboration

Fall 2018 Outstanding Graduates: Sam Shugert

Classes mix theory and practice through applied learning in collaboration with a range of community, nonprofit, business and public sector partners. Local and national leaders engage with students in classes, site visits, collaborative projects and through a field experience that includes travel to another city. The program culminates with a capstone Applied Project that can take the form of research or the launch of a new project. In addition to core classes, students select additional focused coursework to advance their own professional goals and interests.
The program is housed within ASU’s National Collaborative for Creative Work which propels artists and designers as leaders for social transformation and public good.


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 the Bay Area, 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, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 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.
New York 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.


Feature stories

Video conversation series

Contact us

Christy Brown
Program Manager