Arts Management


Arts management refers to the field of work that deals with business operations around an arts organization. Arts managers are basically required to facilitate everyday operations at different art organizations like museums, theaters, jazz organizations, symphonies, ballet companies, opera houses, art galleries, auction houses and music companies. Their work plays a vital role in achieving the organization’s long term goal. In general, an arts manager’s duties revolve around staff management, budget management, marketing, fundraising, public relations, program development and board relations. Arts management has multiple purposes that need to be prioritized equally which is what differentiates it from management in other areas.

It is under the supervision of an arts manager that suitable conditions for varied cultural and artistic activities are created, conducted and sustained. From time to time, the arts manager also has to bring together a group of people who can engage with one another in different settings like arts organizations, cultural agencies, local authority venues, festivals, events and projects. While working in a small organization, an arts manager may be responsible for all kinds of work including event booking, marketing and budgeting, but in a large organization his work is likely to be less generic. In a large organization, a number of arts managers could constitute a team that looks into different aspects of arts management – one could be responsible for the building and its facilities, another could be responsible for performers and artists while a third could be assigned all work related to public relations and marketing. A senior-level arts manager could also play an advisory role where he helps out board members with strategic planning and crucial managerial decisions.

An arts manager can also be addressed by other designations like; a cultural manger, director, curator, programmers or coordinator when working in a more conventional or formal organization. In such scenarios, the manager usually has overall responsibility for the organization though he could also be in charge of only a specific kind of work like audience development, marketing, production or education. A number of people who have studied arts management or have sufficient experience in the field, also work outside conventional organizations where they serve as itinerant workers offering different skills and expertise to others. To become a successful arts manager, one must have a working knowledge of local, state and federal public policies as his work will also relate to human resources, labor laws, health insurance and volunteer risk management.

There are a number of people who have made a name for themselves in this field. Some notable figures include Philippe de Montebello, Michael Maddox and John Lane. A number of colleges and universities in the UK, US, Canada and Australia offer courses in arts management. While some programs study management-related principles from other administrative fields like business administration, public administration and arts laws, other programs offer specialized courses on administering cultural organizations and non-profit arts bodies. The subject is also referred to as arts administration or arts leadership in some universities. A number of credentials can be acquired in this field including certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees.

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