This Can’t Possibly Be A Real Description For An Arts Job

Aubrey Bergauer tweeted about a position at her new day job with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music last week.

That fact wasn’t notable in and of itself. What surprised me as someone that has worked for institution of higher ed is that the description actually seemed to reflect the actual position and the organizational culture in which the applicant would work. Usually those descriptions are boilerplate “exhibits excellence in the field of (insert field of study here)” or appear to be written by committee.

This is how the position description opened:

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is looking for a creative and strategic content strategist, writer, and producer, reporting to the Vice President of Strategic Communications. If you’re someone who believes content is king, gets the Gary Vaynerchuck content model, lives for geeky top-of-funnel content strategy, and buys into Mark Schaefer’s Marketing Rebellion, you have found your tribe. We want someone who knows classical music, understands how to empower others to discover and tell the incredible SFCM stories through shareable, thumb-stopping content, and has writing chops with a fun and bold (and maybe slightly sassy?!) voice. If rewriting the rules for music conservatory education, engaging the next generation of world-class musicians, and sharing the remarkable successes that come from students and faculty who dare to color outside the lines will make you spring out of bed in the morning, then SFCM is your home calling, and we can’t wait to meet you.

This actually gives you a sense of the work you will do and what the guiding philosophy will be. Even if you don’t know all the references and aren’t in the job market, doesn’t the energy of the description tempt you to apply?

Alekzandria Peugh who commented on my response tweet sure thought so:

Now if we can get more people to write such engaging (but accurate) job descriptions, a quarter of the hard work of hiring and retention will be over. (Paying a suitable wage and providing a good environment being the other three quarters)

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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