Reframing the Arts within the Liberal Arts Community

Teaching an Arts Entrepreneurial Mindset to Achieve Transdisciplinary Outcomes

  • Sarah Archino Furman University
  • Marta Lanier Furman University
  • Ross McClain Furman University
Keywords: arts entrepreneurship, liberal arts colleges, arts education, student learning outcomes, entrepreneurial mindset


The dominance of New Venture Creation and Skills for Transitioning models has produced scholarship focusing on the impact of entrepreneurial pedagogy on graduates who pursue careers within the arts. This paper shares a liberal arts approach, positioning arts as a central component in the creation of an entrepreneurial mindset with benefits for students throughout campus. Shifting our department to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset through arts-based experiential education, we have created an alternate approach that can serve those who wish to become professional artists, but also provides value for the majority of our students who will not remain in the arts.

Author Biographies

Sarah Archino, Furman University

Sarah Archino is Associate professor of art history at Furman Univeristy. Archino specializes in early twentieth-century American art, with a particular focus on New York. Her research traces the influence of anarcho-individualism and the vernacular on American Dada. Her other projects include teaching with primary sources and research on the instruction of visual literacy with undergraduates and instructional partnerships with Clemson’s School of Nursing and the Family Medicine Residency Program at Prisma Health. She arrived at Furman University following two years of service as the Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in American Art at the Institut national d'histoire de l'art in Paris and one year as a research fellow with the Duchamp Research Center in Schwerin, Germany..

Marta Lanier, Furman University

Marta Lanier: Marta Lanier received a Bachelor of Arts in music and education from Emory University and a Masters in business administration in entrepreneurship and innovation from Clemson University.  A passion for the arts has led Marta to work with a number of arts organizations including Emory University's Youth Symphony, Greenville Center for Creative Arts and the art department of Furman University where she currently serves as the associate director for the Master of Arts in Strategic Design program.  Marta is responsible for  recruitment, orientation and advising in the Master’s program.  She also organizes and implements exhibitions, the True Inspiration Artist in Residence Program, and all other events within the art department.  Currently she teaches Success in the Arts, a class that teaches entrepreneurial skills for theatre, music and art students.  

Ross McClain, Furman University

Ross McClain is associate professor of art in the Furman University Department of Art which he has chaired for the past eight years. He also serves as director for the Master of Arts in Strategic Design program. Ross has taught all levels of Graphic Design, Brand Identity, and Strategy. Ross is an advocate of design as a medium/tool to tell stories through the mindset of empathy, which he believes is the centerpiece to a human-centered design process. Responding to human feelings and concerns allows him to create designs that are truly powerful, useful and meaningful to people and society. His research and interests explore diversity coupled with skills for transitioning to tap into innovative thinking through making.

A female visual arts student wearing a denim jacket seated at a work table sketching with a pencil