While culture and the business world may on the surface seem like polar opposites, there are many exciting opportunities awaiting at the meeting point between them -- especially for those with a passion for the arts and a mind for business. Here’s a closer look at why art and business are a perfect fit, along with one program designed to help students position themselves for successful careers in this innovative area.

When Art is Business and Business is Art

Andy Warhol famously said, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” There’s no better embodiment of this concept than the career of Warhol himself, which rested as much on business acumen as it did on his creative genius.

Rahul Das writes in ART + marketing, “There’s a reason that Warhol’s name is synonymous with Pop Art, much more so than any of his contemporaries. For one thing, he was as focused on the business side of art as he was in the creation of colorful paintings and prints and, wisely enough, he realized the importance of having a distinctive and consistent brand.” In other words, Warhol did not become a household name on his art alone; he did it by commercializing his art. “Warhol was never afraid of business, he actually saw it as part of his art. And to that end — his art has proven to be very good business,” concludes Das.

This sentiment is echoed by Art Thinking: How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses author Amy Whitaker, in an article on Creative Startups. She asserts that business, like art, requires creativity.

“For artists and creative entrepreneurs in any field, the trick is to approach business itself as a creative design medium. The market economy provides building blocks to do two different things: first, to protect and support the space in which to experiment and try new things, and, second, to amplify and extend the reach of that work once it is made,” Whitaker writes.

In today’s gig economy, meanwhile, the opportunities are especially abundant -- particularly for the entrepreneurially inclined. 

Of course, not every startup is destined for success -- regardless of the industry. Richard Branson wrote in his book Business Stripped Bare, “Business is creative. It’s like painting. You start with a blank canvas. You can paint anything, anything, and there, right there, is your first problem. For every good painting you might turn out, there are a zillion bad paintings just aching to drip off your brush.”

Which brings us back to the need for business savvy. From creating a business plan to making it legal, there are many practical aspects to attend to before you can bring your art business vision to life.

A Master at the Intersection of Art and Business

The takeaway? Whether you’re looking to work in any capacity in the arts and cultural fields, business knowledge can give you a critical inside edge. This is where Istituto Europeo di Design (IED)’s Master course in Business for Arts and Culture comes in.

Building on real-world professional experiences, this full-time, English-taught, six-months program offers each diverse cohort of international participants the theory and practice they need to hit the ground running in today’s complex business landscape. Whether you are looking to launch your own business or to land a management job with a non-profit, private or public cultural institution, IED provides a solid designing and business planning foundation which also acknowledges the need for professionals with an entrepreneurial mindset and understanding of the importance of social awareness and sustainability in the arts and other cultural and creative industries. Factor in dedicated mentorships, and students graduate with the skills they need to further their careers as the cultural world moves toward a new model made up of sustainable and innovative cross-disciplinary projects.

We can think of no better place to soak all of this is than with the extraordinary city of Venice as your backdrop. There’s a reason why this inimitable Italian city earned a spot on Conde Nast Traveler’s list of the world’s best cities for arts and culture, and writer Sebastian Modak raves over the city-built-on-water’s extraordinary art and architecture, and its ongoing status as “a gathering place for artistic innovators.” Venice is also heralded as one of Italy’s most dynamic regions with an economy ripe for startups in tourism, arts, wine, food and technology.

If you’re ready to take a big, beautiful step toward a promising career at the junction of art and business, a Master IED can be a key differentiator on the job market while simultaneously setting you up to thrive in your new role.