There’s no busi­ness like the art busi­ness


Executive Magazine - - Contents - Words by Olga Habre

Ziad Doueiri’s The In­sult ESA’s arts man­age­ment pro­gram

the cam­pus of the Ecole Sup rieure des A aires (ESA) is a green oa­sis in the mid­dle of cramped, gray Beirut, with pe­riod build­ings in pas­tel col­ors sur­rounded by well-groomed land­scap­ing. It’s adorned with art, such as con­tem­po­rary land­scapes by the French artist Jean-Marc Dal­lane­gra, who resided at ESA while paint­ing in Le­banon, as well as works by the cel­e­brated lo­cal artists Ay­man Baal­baki, Ta­greed Dargh­outh, and oth­ers. A prom­i­nent Nadim Karam sculp­ture stands in the gar­den. The uni­ver­sity’s pos­ture as a busi­ness school with a clear pen­chant for art has come to­gether in a unique pro­gram launched this spring: the Arts Man­age­ment Certi cate, cre­ated in as­so­ci­a­tion with Gurr Johns, a global art ad­vi­sory and ap­praisal com­pany based in the UK. The pro­gram is com­posed of ve mod­ules: the art mar­ket, mar­ket­ing, nance, law and in­sur­ance, and art val­u­a­tion. Through­out, stu­dents are taught a skillset that can help them turn art into busi­ness. Though the sub­ject of art as a busi­ness or in­vest­ment is a con­tro­ver­sial one, ad­min­is­tra­tors at ESA say that as a school ded­i­cated to busi­ness, they couldn’t help but no­tice a de­mand. “We felt there’s a need in the re­gion, and in the mar­ket, to have [a busi­ness de­gree] re­lated to art,” says Nour Ya­mak, who heads the new pro­gram. Ch­eryl Matar, head of ESA’s mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment, says in­vest­ment in art is on the rise in Le­banon. “We’re a busi­ness school— we’re nance-ori­ented. We re­spect art, and we’re try­ing to let all our stu­dents across all the pro­grams be very sen­si­tive to art and artists,” she says, adding, “We truly

be­lieve that a good man­ager should know ev­ery­thing re­lated to the en­vi­ron­ment and cul­ture—and art is very im­por­tant.” The six-month course is one of sev­eral short pro­grams at ESA, along with o er­ings like dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, lux­ury man­age­ment, and the Thom­son Reuters nan­cial pro­gram. As with other certi cates, it can be taken as a sup­ple­ment to one of ESA’s other de­grees, such as its MBA and ex­ec­u­tive MBA, or on its own by stu­dents that haven’t pre­vi­ously at­tended the uni­ver­sity. But there are a lim­ited num­ber of places, and Ya­mak and Matar say the se­lec­tion process is tough. The uni­ver­sity says it only ac­cepts se­ri­ous stu­dents who would gen­uinely ap­pre­ci­ate and bene t from the pro­gram: ei­ther those al­ready in the eld or hon­estly look­ing to break into it. “This pro­gram is for ex­ec­u­tives, not for fresh grads. It’s a se­ri­ous certi cate—you have nance, val­u­a­tion, law, in­sur­ance—all on an ex­ec­u­tive level for peo­ple to know more about in­vest­ment,” ex­plains Matar. The de­gree is meant to help grad­u­ates make more in­formed de­ci­sions about pur­chas­ing art, as well as in­sur­ing, trans­port­ing, dis­play­ing, and other tech­ni­cal de­tails re­lated to the oth­er­wise sub­jec­tive eld. Stu­dents will also learn the skills nec­es­sary to un­der­stand and ap­praise art. The aim of the pro­gram is to show a di er­ent, much more tech­ni­cal, per­spec­tive on the art world, so that grad­u­ates can iden­tify art­works that are likely to in­crease in value over time, man­age mu­se­ums, dis­play di er­ent types of art, learn in­ter­na­tional laws re­gard­ing art im­port and ex­port, and un­der­stand in­sur­ance poli­cies, in­her­i­tance and mu­seum ex­changes, plus nan­cial anal­y­sis of global mar­ket trends and other tech­ni­cal de­tails. Be­cause of the part­ner­ship with Gurr Johns, its ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and other ex­perts have been brought in to teach classes, and stu­dents re­ceive de­grees from both in­sti­tu­tions. The pro­gram also in­cludes a cu­rated trip to Lon­don, where stu­dents tour mu­se­ums, fairs, visit with col­lec­tors, and re­ceive prac­ti­cal in­for­ma­tion about art from es­tab­lished in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als. Though the or­ga­niz­ers ex­pected peo­ple work­ing in art gal­leries to be among the top ap­pli­cants, the rst batch of stu­dents in­cludes CEOs, bankers, and ar­chi­tects who have a pas­sion for art, or are al­ready col­lec­tors. “The par­tic­i­pants are re­ally happy and are see­ing how much they’re bene ting from this pro­gram,” says Matar. This rst pro­gram ends in Oc­to­ber the next group will be­gin their stud­ies in spring 2018.

ESA by Dal­lane­gra


Le cou­ple Nadim Karam

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