Duke in Chicago–Arts Entrepreneurship

6-week summer study away program

Learn the business. See the sights. Meet the experts.

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Duke in Chicago Arts Entrepreneurship is a six-week, two-course credit program for entrepreneurs who love the arts and for artists who want to become entrepreneurial.

Through meetings, internships, mentorships, and site visits with prominent individuals in arts-related fields, students will gain valuable knowledge of how arts entrepreneurs have shaped the development of Chicago’s unique theater, music, dance, visual arts, and comedy scene. They will learn how these entrepreneurs have anticipated and resolved complicated problems in the relationship among artistic, administrative, and financial factors. 

Chicago, with its history of storefront startups, provides a unique training ground for students to meet the challenge presented by the second course: devise, workshop, and produce an arts-based event.  Students—with artistic and/or business acumen—will form teams. These teams will develop skills of agency, self-motivation, fundraising, marketing, and producing; exercise planning and communication functions; master the elevator pitch; devise innovative ways to do, fund, and market their work; learn business skills to maximize creative opportunity; use social media to develop their audience.

Participants will come together, develop connections, build relationships, collaborate, and develop the habit of mind to put their artistic work out into the contemporary world. They will learn how to take better charge of their future careers.


Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Term: Summer

Dates: Next offered Summer 2020

Application Deadline: February 1

Academic Theme(s): Arts and entrepreneurship

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Eligibility: No prerequisites. Non-Duke students are welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Co-sponsored by Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Housing: Residence Hall

GEO Advisor: Carolyn Covalt


Get experience in the field through an internship in marketing, administration, archiving, grant writing, presenting, and studio management with organizations such as:

  • The Second City, world’s premier comedy club/theater and school of improvisation
  • Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • Harpo Creative Works TV
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Leo Burnett Advertising
  • eighth blackbird, contemporary chamber music sextet
  • Artisan Talent
  • Joffrey Ballet, and more!

Guest Speakers

Learn from famed guest speakers such as:

  • Welz Kauffmann, President/CEO of Ravinia Festival
  • Martha Lavey, Artistic Director of Steppenwolf
  • Theaster Gates, Installation Artist, Social Practice Artist
  • Robin Hammond, Director of Marketing, The Second City
  • Peter Taub, directs performing arts programs, Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Katie Berenbom, Senior Producer Harpo Creative Works
  • Steve Albert, Executive Director, Court Theatre

Chicago Arts Scene

Experience Chicago’s vibrant arts scene with visits to Millennium Park; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Contemporary Art; DuSable Museum of African American History; River North galleries; Chicago Architecture Tour; and Frank Lloyd Wright Houses.

See performances across all tiers of the Chicago theatre scene, from Goodman, Steppenwolf, and Victory Gardens to the booming storefront scene. Enjoy free music, food, and art festivals.

  • Group photo in front of the famous "Chicago Bean"

  • Looking at the set model of Steppenwolf's HIR with designer, Colette Pollard. 

  • Site visit to meet Andrew Simnick, Duke alumnus and Senior VP of Finance, Strategy, and Operations at The Art Institute of Chicago. 

  • Students' final performance at The Den Theatre

  • On set at FOX 32 News Chicago station, meeting main anchor and Duke alumna, Dawn Hasbrouck

  • Murakami exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art

  • Group instruction during performance class

  • Duke in Chicago Arts Entrepreneurship Summer 2017 cohort

  • It's warm enough during the summer to enjoy the beaches of Chicago!

  • Behind-the-scenes tour at FOX 32 Chicago station

  • Rence Nemeh T'16 is an actor at The Second City and an alum of the Duke in Chicago program.

  • Chicago skyline


Students will enroll in two courses, each offering one Duke credit. No pass/fail option or auditing is permitted for either course. 



THEATRST 316SA /VMS 315SA / AMI 316SA / DANCE 307SA / MUSIC 316SA / I&E 316SA*
stARTup Project

(ALP, R) MMS Approved, 1.0 credit

*Relation to I&E Certificate: The work to create an original production as part of this course satisfies the 150 hour experience requirement for the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate. 

This project based class challenges teams of writers, actors, dancers, visual/media artists, musicians, and managers—through collective brainstorming—to devise, workshop, and produce an arts-based event. Students will master the elevator pitch, conduct production meetings, develop fundraising and marketing strategies, devise a publicity/marketing scheme, manage a budget, rehearse, and present the work at the end of the term. Instructor: Coleman

THEATRST 217SA /VMS 221SA / AMI 217SA / DANCE 279SA / MUSIC 217SA / I&E 217SA*
The Economics of Art (The Chicago Scene)
(ALP, CCI) MMS Approved, 1.0 credit

*Relation to I&E Certificate: This course satisfies either the gateway or elective course requirement for the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate program

This guest speaker course introduces students to Chicago and connects them with prominent arts professionals, including Duke alumnae and potential mentors, who will speak about their own experience combining arts and entrepreneurship in such fields as theater, visual/media arts and advertising, film, music, dance, marketing and communications, writing, producing, performance, design, directing, and comedy. Class includes choice of: 1) an internship in arts administration, marketing, or development; or 2) a performance/writing class; and participation in Duke Global Entrepreneurship Networking events. Instructor: McAuliffe



The Economics of Art (The Chicago Scene) requires students to EITHER 1) do an internship in arts administration, marketing, or development; OR 2) take a class in performance or writing.

Option 1: Internship

The internship option can provide amazing pre-professional experiences as well as networking opportunities for the students on Duke in Chicago Arts Entrepreneurship. For some students, this may lead to their being hired full-time after graduation.

Students are responsible for finding their own internships, though the program offers guidance in this process. Students are required to work at their internships for a minimum of 10 hours a week.


Attention: International Students – If you are an international student studying at Duke on a visa (such as F-1), you will need to obtain the required CPT or OPT authorization if you decide to do an internship as opposed to a performance or writing class (see below). Please contact Duke Visa Services immediately for assistance.

Option 2: Improv or sketch writing classes at the Second City or iO

Students who opt to take a performance or writing class can choose from a variety of classes offered through The Second City and iO, premiere training centers.



Students are housed in residence halls at Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago, an area with many diverse restaurants. Breakfast is included in the cost of the program, and kitchen areas are also available in the residence halls.


Summer 2018

These costs are estimated based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $6,780 $6,780
Program Fee $1,650 $1,650
Transcript Fee N/A $40
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $11,730 $11,770

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

Arrival: TBD for 2020
Departure: TBD for 2020


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.


Program faculty director(s) can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the GEO representative listed.

Jody McAuliffe

Professor of the Practice of Theater Studies

Amy Bowes

GEO Asst. Director & Regional Manager


Deadline: February 1

This program has rolling admission. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the program fills; after that, qualified students are added to a waitlist and notified of openings. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered. Application opens November 1.

PriorityPriority is given to applicants who apply early.

Minimum GPA: There is no minimum GPA.

International Students: If you are an international student studying at Duke on a visa (such as F-1), you will need to obtain the required CPT or OPT authorization if you decide to do an internship as opposed to a performance or writing class. Please contact Duke Visa Services immediately for assistance.

Non-Duke studentsNon-Duke students are welcome to apply for this program. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.

Physical Requirements

Before applying to this program, please take into consideration the light physical demands required by some of this program’s activities. Activities include walking moderate distances on sometimes hilly, uneven, and/or cobbled terrain, climbing up stairs, using public transportation, and standing during tours and site visits. If you have questions or are concerned about any of these activities, please contact the faculty program director.


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

Submit the following items using MyGlobalEd

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate on this program
  4. Academic letter of recommendation (one)


Shaina Lubliner: Finding Confidence in Chicago

"The professional artists I met during Duke in Chicago became my mentors and have been extremely useful when I’ve been looking for jobs. The friends I made on the program continue to be wonderful collaborators and supporters. This program allowed me to add a second major in Theater Studies and it gave me a better sense of how I can continue to be an artist after college.”

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