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Arts Administrator: Job Description, Duties and Career Outlook

Arts administrators require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and career outlook statistics to see if this is the right career for you.

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If you love the arts but also have killer business or marketing skills, you can put them to work as an arts administrator and help an organization succeed. You'll need a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree to get started, though an advanced degree will gain you entry to higher-echelon jobs. This type of work will involve fundraising, marketing, staffing, financial management and programming.

Essential Information

A career in arts administration combines interest in the arts with business expertise and fundraising skills. Arts administrators work for symphony orchestras, art galleries, museums, ballet companies, musical groups, theatres and other organizations. While a bachelor's degree is sufficient for an entry-level job, a graduate degree may be needed for advancement.

Required Education Bachelor of Arts or Fine Arts degree; many go on to earn master's degrees and doctorates
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% (for art directors)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $89,760 (for art directors)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

An arts administrator takes care of the business operations of an arts-oriented organization. Employers of arts administrators may be not-for-profit organizations or government agencies. Arts administrators may also work for corporations or foundations that support the arts.

In an arts organization, such as a theatre, an arts administrator often manages and promotes the activities of the organization. This involves interacting with artists, performers, supporters and organizational staff. Arts administrators usually have at least a bachelor's degree, and most have a master's or doctorate. Many have backgrounds in the arts as well, ranging from music to sculpting.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Art
  • Art History
  • Arts Management
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Metal and Jewelry Art
  • Multimedia Arts
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Weaving and Textile Arts

Duties

The many responsibilities of an arts administrator include developing budgets, planning events and performances, negotiating contracts and developing community interest in the organization. An arts administrator directs the hiring and training of personnel and devises their schedules and task assignments. Those employed by non-profit organizations are in charge of organizing fund-raising events and enlisting financial supporters. Additionally, arts administrators are expected to conduct grant research, apply for grants and disburse acquired funding.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies arts administrators as art directors. As a whole, job opportunities for these professionals are expected to grow approximately 2% between 2014 and 2024. This does not apply to all types of organizations, however. For example, opportunities are expected to increase for advertising, public relations and special services; motion picture and video industries; and specialized design services. Meanwhile, the publishing industry is expected to show little change in its need for employees over the decade (www.bls.gov).

Since business operations such as finance, accounting, marketing and personnel management are key parts of an arts administrator's skills, those with this background and experience will find they qualify for similar management positions in organizations not related to the arts, such as human resource management or production management.

Arts administration jobs are best suited to those with both a passion for the arts and a broad skill set, including a background in everything from marketing and human resources to fundraising, budgeting and research. Arts administrators typically hold a bachelor's degree, and some earn an advanced degree, which leads to skills needed in similar fields such as PR, design, and film. Job opportunities for arts administrators are predicted to see little growth in the 2014-2024 decade.

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