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Interview with Laura Zucker - Drucker's New Arts Management Director

Published on Friday, October 10, 2008

Earlier this year, Laura Zucker, an artist, and well-esablished Los Angeles-based arts manager, joined the ranks at the Drucker School, becoming the new director of the Master's of Arts Management program, a joint venture between the Drucker School and the School of Arts and Humanities.


The Drucker School Web editor took a moment to learn a little about Laura Zucker - what inspires her and how she hopes to reinvigorate the program.



DS: First, let me welcome you to the Drucker School. I understand you are actually also the Executive Director of the LA Commission on the Arts? Tell me a little about your background:


LZ: I’ve been executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission since 1992. Among many other activities, the Arts Commission oversees a $4.5 million grants program that funds more than 300 nonprofit arts organizations annually. We also lead the regional plan to restore arts education to all 80 school districts in Los Angeles County.


DS: What drew you to this position here at the Drucker School?

LZ: The perfect match up between a crying need for training in the field of nonprofit arts management and the phenomenal resources at both Drucker and the School of Arts and Humanities. “Critical Issues Facing the Arts in California: A Working Paper from The James Irvine Foundation,” (2006) notes that, “The majority of current leaders of nonprofit cultural institutions have no formal management training.” The profession has changed since I first started. As the Irvine Foundation report observes, learning on the job now doesn’t take the place of up-to-date professional management education. The CGU Arts Management program in the only one of its kind in California.


DS: What do you think makes the Arts Management program important for the School?

LZ: Peter Drucker had great insight into the core issues of what makes nonprofit organizations function well. The Arts Management program has been the impetus to add two new Drucker courses focusing on nonprofit management: a course starting this spring on nonprofit accounting, budgeting and finance, and a course in fall ’09 focusing on governance and resource development— that’s code for what everyone who runs a nonprofit wants to know about most— boards and fundraising. These courses will be great for everyone interested in providing leadership for nonprofits, whether they’re focused on the arts or social services.



DS: What type of student would benefit from the Arts Management program?

LZ: The program is for anyone who’s ever dreamed of turning their interest in the arts into their career. New starting this fall, the Arts Management program will offer an executive track for mid and senior level arts administrators already working in the field. And besides the core curriculum at Drucker and the School of Arts and Humanities, students can take advantage of the full breadth of course offerings at CGU for electives to tailor their studies to their interests.



DS: I assume we will be seeing some exciting things going on. What are some of your plans?


LZ: This program really connects students to the cultural resources of LA, the creative capital of the world. This fall the art policy course is being taught by Jessica Cusick, the cultural affairs manager for the City of Santa Monica. And I’m teaching the course on the theory and practice of arts management again this spring. We’re developing plans for consulting clinics, which will give students real-world experience with the best arts organizations in the region. With the opportunities in LA, the possibilities are limitless.



For more information about this program, visit the Web at, or contact Diana Luna, the new MAM Program Administrator, at


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