Running an arts organization brings myriad challenges

Posted on: April 2, 2013

In Tuesday’s (4/2) Australian (Sydney), Matthew Westwood writes, “No one could question the commitment of people who make their livelihood in the arts. You just wouldn’t do it for the pay alone. Yet the responsibilities are great. The chief executive of Big Corp has to deal with shareholders, staff and customers. Arts managers have a fraction of a corporation’s turnover yet have many stakeholders: often three levels of government, multiple donors and sponsors. The level of stakeholder servicing can seem grossly disproportionate to the sums involved. … We often hear from the artistic side of the equation: the glamorous ‘creatives’, or what US author Robert F. Kelley calls ‘gold-collar workers’: those stars who are valued for their intrinsic talent. Less discussed are the special attributes required of arts managers: those who not only steer a business but whose job involves helping bring creative ideas to life. … Pippa Bainbridge is company manager and creative producer at independent playhouse La Mama, in Melbourne’s Carlton. … She is one of 24 arts professionals selected for an emerging leaders development program organised by the Australia Council. Starting in Sydney today, the program assumes the participants already have a solid set of management skills; it aims to spark in them the sensibility and authority of leaders.”

Posted April 2, 2013