Arts administration is the field that concerns business operations around an arts organization. Arts administrators are responsible for facilitating the day-to-day operations of the organization and fulfilling its mission. Arts management became present in the arts and culture sector in the 1960s. Arts organizations include professional non-profit entities and many smaller professional and non-professional for-profit arts-related organizations. The duties of an arts administrator can include staff management, marketing, budget management, public relations, fundraising, program development and evaluation, and board relations.
1. Arts administrators
Art administrators alternatively arts managers work for arts and cultural organizations such as theatres, symphonies, ".art galleries, museums, arts festivals, arts centers, arts councils, regional arts boards, dance companies, community arts organizations, disability arts organizations, and local authorities."
An arts administrator in a small organization may do marketing, event booking, and handle financial issues. An arts administrator for a larger arts organization may be responsible for buildings and facilities, creative staff e.g., performers/artists, other administrative staff, public relations, marketing, and writing reports.
A senior-level arts administrator may advise the board of directors or other senior managers on "strategic planning and management decisions. An effective arts administrator must also be knowledgeable in local, state and federal public policy as it relates to human resources, health insurance, labor laws and volunteer risk management."
There are several notable professionals in the field. Philippe de Montebello was curator of New York Citys Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1977-2008. On his retirement, he was both the longest-serving director in the institutions history and the longest-serving director of any major art museum in the world. Michael Maddox co-founded the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, home to Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera, which are amongst the oldest and grandest ballet and opera companies in the world. Another notable figure in arts administration is John Lane of John Lanes Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine. Lane acquired the playhouse in 1950 and successfully ran the organization, still considered to be "Americas foremost summer theatre," until his retirement in 1994.
2. Issues in arts administration
Like any business, arts organizations must work within changing external and internal environments. External changes may be cultural, social, demographic, economic, political, legal, or technological. Internal changes may be related to the audience, membership, Board of Directors, personnel, facilities, growth, or financial operations. Another change that must be taken into consideration is the growing need for technology-based marketing programs i.e.: social media in order for the organization to change with the times and bring younger visitor and member pools into the organization.
Although a good arts administrator constantly monitors and manages change, they must also remain aware of the overall direction and mood of the organization while helping people do their day-to-day jobs. Arts organizations, as part of the economic system, experience the effects of expansion and contractions in the local, regional, national, and world economies. Many arts organizations struggle in difficult economic times.
3. Academic programs
Arts administration programs are available at a number of universities and colleges in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. In the United States, these programs began in the 1970s at several schools after meetings with the National Endowment for the Arts on how the next generations of arts leaders would be educated. Some academic units offer certificate programs for practitioners seeking continuing education or professional development education. While programs in arts administration draw on many elements of related administration fields, such as business administration, they also include specialized courses on administering non-profit arts and cultural organizations.
Arts administration programs award a range of credentials, including certificates and diplomas, bachelors degrees, and masters degrees. These programs usually blend curriculum elements from existing administration programs such as public administration, business administration, arts law, and management. At some institutions arts administration may be a concentration within the schools Master of Business Administration MBA program. The MA in Arts Administration program at Columbia University is the only program that ties together curriculum elements from public and private management/administration, law, business, and finance at an Ivy league university. Many arts administration programs include a practicum in which the student volunteers or works in an arts or cultural organization to gain practical experience.
At some universities, similar programs are called arts management e.g. American University, performing arts management e.g. DePaul Universitys Undergraduate music program, or arts leadership e.g. DePaul Universitys Graduate program, University of Southern Californias Master of Science in Arts Leadership program.
Universities such as American, Wisconsin and Indiana, among many others, offer programs to students in all arts disciplines, while others are more specialized towards a particular discipline DePauls undergraduate and graduate theatre programs are theatre oriented, while its undergraduate music program is music oriented. The masters degree at some schools is an MBA, while other universities offer MFA, MA, and MPA degrees, largely depending on where the program is housed. For example, at American University, the program is part of the Department of Performing Arts, whereas at Indiana University it is part of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Another program differentiator of note is that the MFA is considered a terminal degree in the field, allowing graduates to apply to teach at the university level as a full-time professor.
Though curricula may be similar, the atmosphere of programs may differ. Variances between programs may often revolve around the centrality of arts versus the centrality of business skills in the curriculum. Other programs, such as Ohio State, Indiana, and increasingly American, are strongly rooted in cultural policy. Another program differentiator is the amount of time spent "in the field," applying academic principles to existing arts organizations through practicum or internship experiences. Seattle Universitys MFA in Arts Leadership degree program requires that students spend time each quarter working with a local arts organization through a practicum. They believe this emphasis on real-world interaction helps reinforce classwork and helps build a network of arts professionals that serves as a resource upon graduation. At George Mason University, MA in Arts Management at the College of Visual & Performing Arts Arlington, VA offers a Master of Arts in International Arts Administration. A new innovative program based on the concept of artwork as information, that integrate recording, cataloging, communication, management, fruition. The program is led by faculty and high level practitioners from Heritage, srl.
Other programs may offer a single degree that includes coursework at two colleges. Carnegie Mellons Master of Arts Management MAM Program is one example, tying the College of Fine Arts to Heinz Colleges School of Public Policy and Management. Heinz College provides the core management coursework and the College of Fine Arts supports the MAM Program with coursework specific to arts institutions. Another example is the two-year MA/MBA program at Southern Methodist University, offering a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from the Meadows School of the Arts and a Master of Business Administration from the Cox School of Business.
Some programs are housed within their universitys Music, Theater and Dance department like the one at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is the LEAP Institute for the Arts Master of Arts Leadership and Administration residential and online programs. Another example is the University of Southern Californias Master of Science in Arts Leadership which is housed within the USC Thornton School of Music, and accepts thought leaders in any artistic discipline including music, theatre, dance, film, and fine art.
Several universities offer concentrations in media management: Drexel University, Carnegie Mellon, and Columbia College Chicago are examples. Carnegie Mellon offers a separate degree in film/television management. New York Universitys MA in Arts Administration program allows students to choose a visual arts or a performing arts focus.
Increasingly, the AAAE Association of Arts Administration Educators membership has become more interested and proactive in responding to key issues in the arts and in offering help to arts organizations on management, policy, governance, fund development, and financial issues. As a result of this new commitment, research in the program is growing in both amount and quality.
Arts administrators have the ability to create and administer necessary professional development to fine arts teachers. Professional development for the arts is often subpar due to a lack in finances from the governments allotted funding, which can be remedied by the lobbying of arts administrators.