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Best schools for art/Econ double major or tailored concentration

jackhenry1jackhenry1 20 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Very interested in eventually pursuing a business career in the art world, and trying to narrow my college search to the institutions that will help prepare me for this direction. Any thoughts/recommendations regarding schools that a could structure a dual major or course concentrations in economics and art? Ideally preparing for a position with an auction house or art finance type of business
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Replies to: Best schools for art/Econ double major or tailored concentration

  • jackhenry1jackhenry1 20 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Outside of the ivies, looks like strong art and Econ departments would include Williams, JHU, and Wesleyan.
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  • apple23apple23 495 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 15
    Additional schools to consider for strong art and economics departments include Hamilton, Vassar, Kenyon and Skidmore.

    https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.uslacecon.html
    edited September 15
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  • momrathmomrath 5966 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @jackhenry1, I think you need to clarify the type of "art" degree that you're looking for. There are basically two streams:
    Visual art or studio art, meaning you make art yourself.
    Art History or arts administration, meaning you study or manage other artists' work.

    I would think that what you're describing fits better with the Art History track, but I don't know your background.

    Most colleges and universities have solid art history departments as well as solid economics departments, though the ease of double majoring or tailoring special programs of study that combine the two will vary.

    The three schools you refer to are all good choices for art history and economics as are the four that @apple23 lists. If you are female, you might also look at Smith and Bryn Mawr.

    Williams has an excellent track record in placing its art history graduates in arts related positions -- both curatorial and administrative. Williams also offers a Master of Arts program in Art History and access to three worldclass museums on or near campus.

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  • jackhenry1jackhenry1 20 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hmmm - a bit leery of Williams based on what I’ve heard regarding the intensity of the academic environment/rigor. Assuming the same effort is put in at all three schools, would one expect the same grades at Williams, Hamilton, and Wesleyan? If my goal was to achieve at least a 3.3 GPA, would that be significantly harder to achieve (assume an Econ major) at Williams than the other schools?
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  • momrathmomrath 5966 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @jackhenry1, My (completely non-data driven) observation is that it's not so hard to get a balance of A's and B's, even at the most academically rigorous schools. Depending on your application and aptitude for art history and economics, a 3.3 GPA should be doable at any of the schools you list. Double majoring is fairly common at all three as well.

    For some inspiration on a career at the confluence of art + business look at bios of Glenn Lowry, Thomas Krens, Joe Thompson.
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  • jackhenry1jackhenry1 20 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you momrath - May be a bit granular for CC, but are there any courses within the art departments that focus on the “business of art”? Along the lines of auction process and / or art finance ? And I guess by your answer a 3.3 at Williams shouldn’t be much more difficult than a 3.3 at wes/ Hamilton...
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  • momrathmomrath 5966 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 17
    are there any courses within the art departments that focus on the “business of art”?
    Yes, but they are limited. The function of the art history department is teach students how to understand the art itself. A deep familiarity with art history and an ability to talk and write about the work is a basic requirement for a career in art sales, fund raising or arts administration.

    Because Williams has a stellar history of graduates who have excelled in the "business of art" the department also encourages non-curatorial career paths. These are typical courses for advanced (junior or senior) art history majors and MA students.
    https://catalog.williams.edu/ARTH/detail/strm=1201&cn=527&sctn=01&crsid=020218
    https://catalog.williams.edu/ARTH/detail/?strm=1203&cn=550&sctn=01&crsid=021449

    The three nearby museums (The Clark, MassMoCA, WCMA) all offer programs that students can participate in during the school year. And Williams career center has longtime contacts with museums throughout the country for summer internship placement.

    Other colleges with strong art history programs probably offer similar opportunities, but it helps to have a museum nearby.

    Lastly, the major art auction houses offer summer internships and courses. For these the study of art history is a prerequisite.
    edited September 17
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5273 replies77 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 17
    I know Brown has a very competitive dual enrollment program with RISD of some sort. And there are a lot of cross campus classroom opportunities, in general between the campuses. Pretty hard to beat that combo.
    edited September 17
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5715 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Colby has strong (math-y) econ and a great art museum on campus if your interests are along those lines.

    You could probably do something very interesting at Haverford. Philadelphia is a great city for someone studying art and I think that BMC (or Haverford) have a strong department.

    Bard is good for someone into making art.

    Honestly, I think you may need to narrow what you are looking for beyond just major given the number of ways your interests, as stated, could be met.
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  • jackhenry1jackhenry1 20 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    “Honestly, I think you may need to narrow what you are looking for beyond just major given the number of ways your interests, as stated, could be met.”

    I hear you, but I’m really not sure. I think I ultimately will have to narrow it down, but at this point I just have a strong interest in exploring a career path that combines business and the arts. I’m very strong analytically and interested in finance, but also really enjoy art and cinema. I guess the real question is this - if I want to ultimately work in the art or movie finance field, would it be better having exposure to art/film studies at places like Williams or Wesleyan, or just getting a straight finance degree at stern or Wharton undergrad? Is there any real advantage to having that type of joint major at Williams / Wes when pursuing a career in specialty (art/film) finance?
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  • momrathmomrath 5966 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Is there any real advantage to having that type of joint major at Williams / Wes when pursuing a career in specialty (art/film) finance?

    I believe that finance/film is more populist (look at Steve Mnuchin) but for the type of fine art/finance that I think you're describing (e.g., auction houses like Sotheby's and Christies, museum fund raising, arts administration) it really helps to have an art history background. The buyers, investors, donors, collectors that you will interact with with expect you to articulate a basic understanding of the artwork itself.

    Many universities and colleges have strong art history departments, though their specialties vary and the eventual career paths of students at some may skew more toward PhD/curatorial than toward "the business side of art."

    I would also note that studio art is a different (but related) track from art history. Again, if I understand you correctly, what you should be looking at is a double major art history and economics.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5715 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I know someone who studied classics and Art History at BMC, then law at Penn, who worked at an auction house for a while and was planning to do art law. (She has a JD). Her career path took her in a different direction for family reasons.

    I have a couple of friends who are film producers. Their backgrounds are all over the place but none studied film. One has an MBA. The one who is a TV producer has an English degree from an Ivy where she did a ton of theater and improv for fun.

    You might want to look at Trinity. They have a good economics department and a student run cinema on campus.

    USC has a number of excellent programs that are film related.

    I suspect that you would get a lot of mileage out of an internship in the industry (and they are usually unpaid, so a school that offers stipends for this, if you can't afford it, might be a good choice.) Regardless of which direction you choose, business or film studies, you will need some skills and plenty of interest/engagement. But I don't think this is a field where the major determines who breaks in. You will need a break and good networking skills.

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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1428 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 18
    Just remember that Econ and Business can be very different. Some schools don’t have Business so Econ is the best substitute. At Universities that have a Business School, it can sometimes be difficult to double major with a LA subject. What you might want to consider is an Art History BA + a MBA.
    edited September 18
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78232 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Eeyore123 wrote: »
    Just remember that Econ and Business can be very different. Some schools don’t have Business so Econ is the best substitute.

    Some schools without a business major offer business-like electives (e.g. "managerial economics") in their economics departments.

    There are also some schools where the economics department is within the business school, perhaps in recognition that most economics majors there have a pre-professional "business" focus.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2433 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "or just getting a straight finance degree at stern or Wharton undergrad?"

    If you get into either, you may be better off going to NYU or Penn and minoring or double majoring in art history. You have to research how easy or hard minors and double majors are at those colleges. I may lean to NYU given the museums in NYC, you may want to consider UChicago or Northwestern for similar reasons, at the risk of adding two more reach colleges.
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  • jackhenry1jackhenry1 20 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I kinda like the art history undergrad followed by B school idea. Say I choose Williams undergrad for this, what are my chances of getting an interview with a Wall Street firm with an art history major? Figure you have to work a few years before B school, so that first job is pretty important - and wondering if recruiters (for analyst positions etc) really want to see an art major..
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  • momrathmomrath 5966 replies39 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 18
    @jackhenry1, I can't answer how a Wall Street recruiter would respond to an applicant with an art history major, but there are other routes to B-School other than through Wall Street.

    I can say, however, that double majoring at Williams is common and uncomplicated and that WS and the consulting firms recruit heavily from the school. How you spend your summers (and in Williams case, Winter Study) will significantly impact your job prospects after graduation.

    Williams Center for Career Exploration has a vast amount of information on opportunities. My guess is that if you were contact them they'd be able to answer your questions.
    edited September 18
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