Karen Chandler

Associate Professor Emerita

Address: Harbor Walk West, Room 215
Office Hours: By appointment
Phone: 843.953.5474
E-mail: chandlerk@cofc.edu

KAREN CHANDLER, Associate Professor Emerita of Arts Management, retired from the College of Charleston in 2022. From 2014-2019 and 1999-2001, she was the Director of the Arts Management Program and the Graduate Certificate in Arts Management and, over the years, has taught courses in both programs. She served as the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Arts and Cultural Management, a graduate program begun in Fall 2019 with degree options in the Master of Public Administration and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing programs from 2019-2021. Chandler is also Co-Founder/Principal of the Charleston Jazz Initiative (CJI), a jazz history and research project that documents the careers of South Carolina musicians who helped shape jazz history in America and Europe. With a National Endowment for the Arts grant, she served as Executive Producer of LEGENDS (2011), a CD with a 22-piece big band of songs by musicians the initiative is studying. Her essay, "When Charity and Jazz Meet" on Charleston's Jenkins Orphanage Band, was published in the 2016 program book of Spoleto Festival USA.

Chandler has led arts and cultural programs as director of the College of Charleston's Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture (2001-2004) and as the Director of the University of Virginia's African-American Cultural Center (1983-1989). She taught in the graduate program at American University in Washington, DC as an Assistant Professor of Arts Management (1994-1999) before coming to the College of Charleston.

Chandler has been the recipient of program and research grants in the humanities and performing arts from funding agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) (2010), The Humanities Council of South Carolina (2010, 2004), the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (2007), and Charleston County Council (2007-2009). She has also served as a proposal and book reviewer for the University of South Carolina Press (Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians by Ben Franklin and Sissieretta Jones: The Greatest Singer of Her Race, 1868-1933 by Maureen Lee); Oxford University Press (Introduction to Arts Management by Ellen Rosewall), and The History Press (Doin’ The Charleston: The Black Roots of American Popular Music & the Jenkins Orphanage Legacy by Mark R. Jones).

Chandler has served as an advisory and grants review panelist with arts councils and commissions including the Coastal Community Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission. She also serves on governing, editorial and advisory boards including the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy; Association of Arts Administration Educators; South Carolina Arts Alliance; Charleston Gaillard Center; Charleston Jazz; Charleston Concert Association, City of Charleston’s Commission on the Arts; and the Roland Carter Institute for Studies in American Music. She has been a longtime volunteer of the MOJA Arts Festival in Charleston, and has been recognized on the South Carolina Arts Commission’s “Forty Lists Project” as an Outstanding Arts Administrator.


Ph.D., Studies in Arts and Humanities
Graduate Certificate, Management of Nonprofit Organizations
New York University, New York, NY

M.A., Music Education
Columbia University, Teachers College, New York, NY

B.S., Music Education
Hampton University, Hampton, VA

Courses Taught

ARTM 200 Introduction to Arts Management
ARTM 310 Advanced Arts Management
ARTM 325 Understanding Creativity
ARTM 350 Fund Raising and Grant Writing for the Arts
ARTM 370 Arts Marketing and Public Relations
ARTM 380 Independent Study in Arts Management
ARTM 400 Arts Management Internship
ARTM 401 Music Industry Internship
ARTM 420 Policy in the Arts
ARTM 499 Bachelor's Essay
PUBA 660 Contemporary Perspectives on Arts Management
PUBA 661 Advanced Arts Management
PUBA 662 Cultural Administration and Applied Research at the Avery

Honors and Awards

Honors and Awards (selected)
2014. Diversity Service of the Year, Excellence in Collegiate Education and Leadership (ExCEL) Award, College of Charleston
2012. Testimonial Resolution, City of Detroit (MI) City Council (Charleston Jazz Initiative documentation of the life of Motown bassist James Jamerson)
2012. South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities, the state’s highest award in the humanities given to an individual, The Humanities Council of South Carolina
2012. Individual Research Award, Arts Schools Network, a national association of secondary arts schools in the United States
2011. Jazz Citizenship Award, Jazz Artists of Charleston
2011. Preserving Our Places in History Award, South Carolina African American Heritage Commission
2008. MOJA Arts Festival Award in Education
2007. Faculty of the Year, School of the Arts, Excellence in Collegiate Education and Leadership (ExCEL) Award, College of Charleston


Chandler, K. A. “Bin Yah (Been Here). Africanisms and Jazz Influences in Gullah Culture.” In Wolfram Knauer, Jazz @ 100: An Alternative to a Story of Heroes (Frankfurt: Wolke Verlag), 2018: 227-245.

Chandler, Karen A. “Prelude to Gershwin: Edmund Thornton Jenkins.” Porgy and Bess: A Charleston Story. Ed. Harlan Greene. Charleston. SC: Home House Press, 2016: 40-48.

Chandler, K.A. Legends [CD] Charleston, SC: College of Charleston, Charleston Jazz Initiative, 2011.

Chandler, Karen. “Jazz and its South Carolina Roots: A Jazz History and Education Model of the Charleston Jazz Initiative.” JAZZed, May 2009: 63-65.

Chandler, Karen A. Curtain Up on the Friends: A History of the Friends of the Kennedy Center Volunteer Program. Washington, DC: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2006.

Chandler, Karen A. and Jack McCray. “’…But the Greatest of These Is Charity’: The Charleston Jazz Initiative’s Study of the Jenkins Orphanage Bands.” The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, 34 (Winter 2005): 306-318.

Chandler, Karen A. “Rethinking the Use of the Case Study in the Arts Management Classroom.” The Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, 29 (Winter 2000): 244-270.

Chandler, Karen A. “Project on Management Studies in the Arts: A Paradigm for Case Studies in Arts Management.” Theatre Management Journal, 1 (1997): 1-20.