Even though I am not an arts administrator, I have had to wear small versions of that hat in my career as a professional musician. In my past life as a member of a string quartet that was a non-profit, my colleagues and I were responsible for many aspects of the business, from planning tours to working with our board, to fundraising and everything in between.
That kind of work made me realize that there were many gaps in my training to be a professional. Yes, I received excellent training to help me be the best musician I could be, but as far as navigating the waters of the arts world, I really didn’t have much guidance. So, here are some ideas for any stage of an arts career:
- Know that you will need a variety of skills to succeed, from understanding fundraising, to writing grants, to speaking on behalf of your organization, to programming, collaborating and just about everything you can think of. Be bold. Find out more about areas that interest you or that you want to improve.
- Network, network, and network again! Yes, we are very busy, but try to attend a new event whenever possible. One never knows where a connection can lead.
- If you know that arts administration is where you want to be, invest in a degree or certificate program. Attend conferences and workshops. Be visible.
- Have a short and long term plan, but remember to be flexible!
- Know that the arts will always need great leaders and strive to be the best leader you can be.
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