Changing Face of Arts Administration Essay

Submitted By aes0275
Words: 2291
Pages: 10

Arts organisations around Australia and around the world face many challenges, including practical issues such as declining ticket sales, changing public funding and changes in participation habits. These changes are not new, though as our society is changing and evolving so too is the culture of arts as it constantly brings new challenges and opportunities. Globalization, marketization, issues of national identity and the challenges of building and sustaining a vibrant arts community are some of the key challenges facing arts administrators over the next five to ten years.

If arts organisations are going to meet the challenges effectively they’ll need to be prepared for the unexpected challenges of the future. Martin and Rich state that “the top three challenges facing arts organisations were reported by respondents to be the search for new sources of contributed income, the struggle between the mission/vision and available resources, and the search for and development of a more diverse audience”

Arts administrators must rethink the way that they advocate for their organisation and the arts. They face both internal and external challenges. Arts administrators deal with practical external change such as declining ticket sales, changes in audience participation, the economy and public funding. Arts administrators also deal with the challenges of internal change within their organisations. Staff might react negatively or slowly to change, new ideas, concepts or approaches. There may be clashes with people who are creatively oriented and those who are more business oriented. Often this can play out in how the vision and mission of the organisation is interpreted. It is how Arts administrators use change effectively and efficiently to adapt to these new challenges that will allow some organisations to succeed and others unfortunately to fail. Tools such as good strong leadership, effectively and fairly managing staff, encouraging and developing staff through training and development will help meet internal organisational challenges.

Understanding the role of art and culture within the global world, its relationship to national identity and its role within the local community will also help meet these challenges. How to effectively utilize and learn how marketing can be best used and the need to truly understand the target audience and consumers’ needs by searching for and delivering the appropriate “products” is itself a challenge that arts administrators face. Using the range of technology and social media tools to help reach and build new audiences that are willing to connect with and explore what the organisation is offering through a good understanding of the cultural and artistic ethos that the organisation represents will also help meet some of these current and future challenges.

It is suggested that term arts administration “means the management of arts organisations such as dance companies, museums, opera companies, orchestras, and theatres.” However this term has continued to expand over the past few years to encompass many more fields including service organisations, theme parks, broadcast media and the film and recording industries. One of the challenges art administrators face over the next five to ten years is both re-educating themselves and the public on the role of arts administration. For many it is shifting from “pure art” administration to a more broadly based focus on cultural administration. Dewey argues that this shift creates a need to upskill, and change the capacity of traditional arts administrators’ professional skills to incorporate a broader understanding of what cultural management is about rather than just a focus on the more classical arts administration. It is building a stronger understanding of what cultural administration is about that will help many art administrators meet the challenges of the future. Continued reliance on the traditional methods of funding, on what is…