UTEP Announces New Center for Arts Entrepreneurship

The University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Pro-Musica are teaming up to create the Center for Arts Entrepreneurship (CAE) that will become operational in fall 2017 on the UTEP campus.

The center will engage students in a variety of projects and workshops geared around resume enhancement, creating digital portfolios, audience development, and creating performance opportunities, said Steve Wilson, DMA, Department of Music chair.

In its first year, the center will offer a series of weeklong artist-in-residence workshops featuring world-renowned musicians from a variety of backgrounds. The residencies will allow UTEP music students to have up-close, meaningful interactions with these artists.

Additionally, the center will host workshops on working with the media in cooperation with the Department of Communication, resume development and job interviewing with local arts leaders, and will sponsor creative activity innovation grants to incorporate concepts from the center into capstone projects.

The center will officially be housed in the Department of Music in UTEP’s College of Liberal Arts.

“Through hands-on, intensive interactions with nationally renowned artists, the CAE will help students develop communication skills, both written and verbal, improve audience engagement, provide real-life performing opportunities at a variety of on-campus and community engagement events, and help students in the arts understand the workings behind the scenes required to make arts events happen,” Wilson said.

Zuill Bailey, senior lecturer of cello at UTEP and artistic director of El Paso Pro-Musica, will be the center’s artistic director.

“Basically we’re teaching artists, musicians, creative types to think outside the box and to (help artists) affect communities through their craft in ways they didn’t know possible,” Bailey said.

Currently he works on a program for high school students that works much like the center will, but on a collegiate level.

The Young Artist Development Series, like the Center for Arts Entrepreneurship, is forging a partnership designed to enhance the study of music through performance and first-hand experience in the business of classical music. The collaboration with El Paso Pro-Musica and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University is under Bailey’s artistic leadership. This program works to develop undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students looking at careers in music in the 21st century.

Patricia Witherspoon, Ph.D., dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said Bailey is an outstanding choice for the founding director of this innovative organization.

“His international reputation as a musician, his vast networks of leaders in the arts, and his creative ideas for the purpose of the center are just a few of the many reasons he is poised to make this a world-class initiative,” Witherspoon said.

El Paso Pro-Musica (EPPM), founded in 1977, is devoted to making chamber music available to the community by bringing world-renowned artists to El Paso to perform and educate audiences. El Paso Pro-Musica’s relationship with UTEP has grown even stronger since Bailey became a faculty member in 2004.

“For the last couple of seasons, EPPM has ensured that the visiting artists conduct master classes for the Department of Music students,” said Felipa Solis, El Paso Pro-Musica executive director. “All of the amazing musicians who perform in the region are also educators. For instance, members of the renowned Juilliard String Quartet are accomplished professors. El Paso Pro-Musica will work hand-in-hand with the Department of Music and all of the arts on campus to develop a curriculum to ensure the highest caliber training and guidance for careers in the 21st century.”

The center will work with local arts groups to help train students in the arts to be prepared to enter the 21st century arts environment with a solid background in marketing, audience development, media relations, grant writing, fundraising, and the ability to perform a wide range of music in a wide range of styles in a variety of settings.

Ultimately the center could grow to offer a minor in arts entrepreneurship for students pursuing liberal arts degree programs.

Wilson announced the new center before a free public lecture by Greg Sandow, an American music critic, composer, writer, consultant and professor on April 4, 2017. Sandow spoke about “The Future of Classical Music: How We Should Change” as part of UTEP’s Centennial Lecture Series.

Sandow is a leading voice on the future of classical music and how musicians need to change to continue the classical music tradition with modern audiences.