There Are A Lot Of Arts Jobs Being Advertised. Let’s Pay Attention To Who Is Getting Hired

Drew McManus tweeted today that he was two resumes submissions away from being able to launch the candidate resume feature on the Arts Admin Jobs site. So if you are looking for a job, or looking to hire, check the site out.

I am going to take this opportunity to raise a question that has been bouncing around my head for a number of months now– what is the state of employment in arts administration?

There has been a lot of conversation about the willingness of audiences to return to arts and cultural venues and events, but where do things stand with staff and creatives?

I am asking because I have been seeing a TON of employment listings just on a passive basis for every level of administration at organizations of various sizes. When I started to actively look at job sites to see where things stood, I was pretty flabbergasted to see how many screens I had to advance through just to review all the openings listed in the previous seven day period and so there were so many more listings after that.

Executive level positions seem to be over represented and there are surprising number at large institutions. It may be that once those jobs are filled there will be a surge in listings for lower level positions.

I am really curious to know what has happened to cause this. Yes, there is an increased sense of optimism which would lead organizations to staff up again, but why aren’t they hiring back laid off staff?

Have those furloughed staff chosen not to return/left the industry? Is there an attempt to take this opportunity to diversify the composition of staff and replace people to contributed to toxic work environments?

Have people on the executive level chosen to retire at this point? Is the financial outlook for the organization such that executive level staff don’t feel they are suited to revitalize it or operate under the constraints that will exist moving forward?

One thing that has become clear over the last year is that companies of all types need to examine how expectations have shifted. If people are used to running organizations that are imbued with a certain sense of grandeur and that is no longer possible financially or prudent if the organization wishes present itself as relevant in the community, these leaders may decide it is best to step aside in favor of another.

I would really love it if folks could share any insight they have about openings in their own organization or local community.

I also think that we should collectively pay attention to who is being hired into these positions.  Take a look at the job boards that serve your particular discipline and make note of the open positions and then in 6-9 months visit the websites of those places or seek out news stories to see who was hired and what ambitions the organization hoped they would achieve.

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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