Arts Management and Administration

Finding Your Fit

Determining that you wish to pursue a career in arts management or administration is just the first step.  It’s important to also think about what type of functional role suits your interests and strengths within a arts organization.  You will find that this step of discovery is similar to what all students encounter when considering a career in the nonprofit world.  (After all, most – if not all – arts organizations are nonprofits!)

General speaking, roles within arts organizations can be broken down into the following broad categories, with more refined roles under each one:

  • Community Engagement
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing, Communications, and Audience Development
  • Development/Fundraising
  • Policy & Legal
  • Production and Distribution
  • Technical Leadership

As you think about what specific roles are a good fit for you, consider some of the following question:

  • What am I good at?
  • How do my strengths and interests align with roles within arts administration?
  • What skills do I have and how to they connect to these functional areas?
  • What are the primary characteristics of each role?
  • How does a typical day in each role connect with your vision for daily work?
  • In what ways does my leadership style, team orientation, and personality relate to the primary duties of each role?

Talking to professionals working in arts management and administration is one of the best ways to explore different roles.  Alumni, on-campus faculty or staff, personal or community networks are great ways to identify people with whom you can speak to explore different types of jobs.  Informational interviews are a great tool to engage with professionals.  Use our Informational Interview Guide to help you navigate this process

Specialized Resources to Search for Opportunities

arts management

In addition to Handshake and other general career sites listed on the main page, here are specific resources to help you identify opportunities in arts management and administration.

Art Venues by City/State

Resumes and Cover Letters

An arts management resume will typically look similar to a standard resume used in other career areas and look very similar to a nonprofit resume.  The resume should focus on relevant skills and experiences that correlate to the administrative side of the arts.  It can be tempting to overemphasize your performance experience on the resume and, while it is helpful for arts organizations to know you have a personal interest in the arts, they will mostly focus on skills that are more relevant to what is needed in arts management positions. (e.g. clerical, administrative, interpersonal, technical, etc.)  Take special note of the job description and tailor your resume to highlight your own experience and background that connects to what is sought for the role.

Headings: You may have enough related experience that you can create a heading “Arts Management Experience” which can organize all of the related experiences (e.g. internships, leadership, co-curricular, volunteering, classroom projects, etc.) that are directly related to the position to which you are applying.  For other work experience, consider using “Additional Work Experience”.

Skills: When applying to a specific position, consider what skills are needed.  This information should be indicated on the job description.  The position may require clerical, technical, or creative skills – be sure to indicate this clearly on your resume.

For tips on writing a standard resume, see our Resume How-To Guide.

Cover Letters

Most job and internship opportunities in arts management will require a cover letter.  Often the cover letter is an important part of landing an interview, especialy in smaller organizations where the hiring manager is more likely to take the time to read the letter.  The cover letter is intended to introduce you to the organization, express your interest in the position, and match your skills and experiences to the role.  A well-written cover letter shows employers that you have taken the time to craft a personal response to their specific job opportunity and that you are serious about the position.. Generally a cover letter has three parts: the opening, the middle, and the closing.

For tips on writing a cover letter, see our Cover Letter How-To Guide.

Professional Associations and Industry Publications - Arts Management and Administration

Professional organizations are a fantastic way to explore careers, gain insight into specific industries, and keep up-to-date on relevant news.  Engaging with professional associations and participating in events can help you connect with relevant creative professionals and build your credibility in your area of interest.  Consider using professional associations to develop and enhance your career journey:

  • Search for information related to entering the specific career field.
  • Many associations have job and internship databases.
  • Access current information and news related to your industry.
  • Follow the association on LinkedIn to receive relevant content in your feed and demonstrate your credibility in the professional community.
  • Join as a student member – often for free or at a greatly reduced rate – and indicate your membership on your resume to demonstrate credibility with potential employers.
  • Learn about and participate in networking or industry events to meet and engage with arts professionals.

Select the arts area for a full list of relevant professional associations in the arts.  Looking for a specific association that isn’t listed?  The Professional Association Finder is a great resource for national and international organization related to career industries.