Arts Administration and Management
Arts administration and leadership careers blend the worlds of art and business, focusing on the management and operations of art and cultural institutions. This includes nonprofit cultural organizations, such as galleries, museums, universities, festivals, venues, ensembles, auction houses, and even arts & cultural offices in state or local governments. If you are interested in managing artists or being in the popular music or film industry, see our ‘Entertainment’ section.
Roles within arts management include:
- Artistic director, producing, and casting
- General management, accounting, finance, and human resources
- Operational and company management
- Marketing, promotions, and event planning
- Member services, front of house, and box office management
- Development, advancement, and fundraising
- Education, arts advocacy, and community engagement
- Library and collections management
- Curation and conservation (preservation may require a background in chemistry as chemicals are used to help maintain the quality of museum items.)
Prepping for a career in arts leadership can start with taking some basic business classes, interning for a local nonprofit organization, and building a network. In addition, potential employers often want to see experience in and continuous participation with the arts by being an active artist or volunteering and attending cultural events. When applying to an internship or job in arts administration, you can expect the traditional application and interview process. However, sometimes the application will also require samples of your work, such as proof of a play that you directed, poster designs and social media posts, or past curriculum utilized in education initiatives.
Degree programs are gradually becoming more popular and sometimes required. One can find both undergraduate and graduate studies (MA) in this field. Note that if a degree program is simply labeled “Arts Administration” or “Arts Management” it focuses on all nonprofit organizations. This means students will learn how to handle everything from museums to theater or dance companies to orchestras, no matter what their artistic background may be. Currently, degree programs are being created that specialize in cultural organizations in a particular artistic field (i.e. Eastman’s M.A. in Music Leadership).
Successful candidates have:
- Broad knowledge, education, and/or experience in a creative field
- Understanding of the artistic field and market, particularly for nonprofit
- Strong organizational, project management, and research skills
- Relationship development and networking skills
- Oral and written communication skills
- Ability to learn quickly and run efficient meetings, events, and teams
- Experience in marketing and public relations, programming and directing, fundraising and donors, outreach and education, or curating and preservation, as applicable.
- Internship Cycle - Summer Internship Programs open in January/Feb
- Job Cycle - Very on-demand, hire in March and April through summer with increased number of postings during summer months
- Vault Guide (access within Handshake*) (look up career guides for nonprofit, museum and cultural center, theatre, dance, and music.)
- Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester
Visual Art Organizations
- College Art Association
- Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE)
- American Association of Museums
Visual Art Organizations
- Art Job & Art Search
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (Internship Opportunities)
- Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) (Internship Opportunities)
- National Gallery of Art (Internship Opportunities)
Related Student Organizations
There are administrative roles in any arts-related organization on campus. If you’re interested in museums, check out the Hartnett Gallery. Please see the Campus Community Connection for a full, current list of student organizations.