Learning the Business of Art

Colorado State University has been expanding online programs to help connect students around the world with world class academic opportunities. The LEAP Institute for the Arts offers an online master’s degree, providing students like Kyoung Dabell the ability to pursue a degree remotely while maintaining a career.

Dabell is curator of the Jacob Spori Art Gallery at Brigham Young University – Idaho. Although she has held a steady position with the university’s gallery since graduation, she found that working toward a master’s degree has helped distinguish her as an innovative leader in the arts. A bachelor’s degree in studio art didn’t provide Dabell with the competitive skills necessary to navigate the business of art. While she learned many of these skills through job experience, she knew that she needed something more to help her reach the next level of her career.

At first, Dabell considered an advanced degree in museum studies, but as she researched the courses involved in these programs, she realized that it wouldn’t provide her with the skills she was seeking. So, she began looking at programs that offered courses focused on the business and leadership aspects of a career in the arts. Dabell needed the flexibility of an online program so that she could continue to pursue her full-time job and support her family in Idaho. When she found the LEAP program at CSU, she knew it was exactly what she was looking for.

Before she graduates, Dabell will complete an internship, working to convert the physical inventory of artworks at the Jacob Spori Art Gallery to a digital database. The task may be daunting, but it’s a much needed improvement to the museum’s collection and will help modernize the gallery.

Dabell hopes that the experience she has gained in LEAP will eventually lead to a position as an art director. “Museum studies is focused more on the visual aspects of art, whereas LEAP is theoretical and covers more relevant material for the business of art, including leadership,” she said. “The LEAP program covers a side to the art world that I wouldn’t have gotten exposure to otherwise.”

Rachael Johnson contributed to this story.