Arts Administrator  What They Do

Insider Info

dotArts administrators work behind the scenes in art galleries, dance companies, local arts councils, symphonies and university art departments.

Arts administrators may work as artistic directors, publicists, promoters, managers or consultants. All of these jobs require them to do administrative work for an arts organization.

dotDepending on where they work, an administrator may have the following duties:

  • Deciding how to spend the budget
  • Planning performances, fund-raisers and other functions
  • Helping artists find funding grants for their work
  • Researching and applying for grants from government or foundations in order to fund their arts organization
  • Acting as representatives for their organization within the community and other agencies

dotAll these tasks make for some busy days for art administrators. Depending on how many concerts or exhibitions they're planning, or how many grant applications they have to finish before a deadline, arts administrators can expect to work long hours.

"It's almost never a 40-hour week. There's lots of weekend work, lots of overtime and sometimes travel -- none of which you get paid for," says Randy Follett. He works for an arts council.

dotFor most administrators, these long hours aren't a problem. It's all part of the job.

"I look at my watch and suddenly it's 6 p.m. There's so many things to do all day, and it's enjoyable, so time flies. It beats the heck out of looking at your watch all day," says Francis Thomas, an arts administrator.

At a Glance

Handle the business affairs of an arts group or organization

  • There is lots of weekend and evening work
  • It's important to get involved in your local arts scene
  • A degree in arts administration is recommended


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General and Operations Managers