Arts Administrators

Last updated January 01, 2015

As an audience member at dance, music, or theater events, you've probably enjoyed watching others shine in the limelight. If you've ever performed onstage or seen your artistic efforts displayed in a newsletter or website (or even posted in the school hallway), you know the thrill of putting your best creative foot forward.

But for every artistic event, much of the work remains hidden. Arts administrators work behind the scenes to make sure artists keep creating and the public keeps appreciating art of every kind.

Arts administrators run arts programs that cover the gamut -- from finger-painting to photography; from ballet to belly dance; and from hip-hop to opera.

Did You Know?

The term arts administrator covers various job titles such as director of development, chief financial officer, and arts education manager.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Supervise paid and volunteer staff
  • Oversee budgets
  • Plan events
  • Write grant proposals to raise money
  • Run fundraising drives
  • Recruit participants
  • Negotiate contracts
  • Speak publicly on behalf of your program
  • Design arts education activities
  • Manage databases of subscribers and other information

It Helps To Be...

Someone with a passion for business as well as art. You'll thrive if you enjoy teamwork and communication. You'll need excellent organizational and time management skills. Arts administrators enjoy setting and working toward goals -- but can deal flexibly with the unexpected events that are part of any creative activity.

Make High School Count

  • Take classes and join clubs in which you can develop your passion for a particular art form, such as dance.
  • Sign up for accounting and business classes.
  • Work behind the scenes on school productions and exhibits.
  • Join your school's business club and look into Junior Achievement.
  • Make the most of speech, psychology, and English to develop your writing, speaking, and people skills.
  • Take computer science classes.
  • Volunteer with a theater, orchestra, or other arts organization in your community.
  • Visit the website of the New York Foundation for the Arts where you can read descriptions of arts administrator positions around the country.

Did You Know?

At small organizations, arts administrators often juggle several tasks -- for example, office management, fundraising, and public relations. At larger organizations, jobs are usually more specialized.