First, let us introduce ourselves. We are Assistants, Coordinators, Vice Presidents, Directors, and Chief Officers at entertainment and performing arts organizations. We have advanced our skills as arts administrators at universities and colleges, while simultaneously pursuing our careers as entrepreneurs and creatives in music, dance and theater. We are the Black Arts Leadership Alliance or The BALA Group.
Our goal is to empower and advocate for African Americans/Blacks working in arts administration or leadership roles. We provide networking, mentorship, and training opportunities to connect, recruit and retain African Americans/Blacks in the arts living in the Midwest.
You might be asking, why focus on Black/African Americans? Like the social injustices we have seen in our headlines regarding Black lives, the same inequities exist in the arts profession. We’ve experienced and seen racism on and off the stage. We’ve witnessed the disparities in access to the arts in the Black community and now that we have a seat at the table, we want to use our voice to build a more inclusive, diverse and equitable arts society for Black leaders.
So, if you’re Black and interested in a career in arts administration, you’ve come to the right place and we hope this BALA blog provides you with some insight.
What’s an arts administrator?
In a nutshell, an arts administrator helps manage the business operations of a cultural arts organization. We help bridge the performing and visual arts worlds with applied skills in areas such as accounting, finance, public relations or programming. An arts administrator creates, develops, facilitates, and evaluates arts and cultural programs. This can include managing and promoting the activities of an organization. It can also involve interacting with artists, performers, supporters, and/ or organizational staff. While a bachelor's degree is sufficient for an entry-level job, a graduate degree can help further advancement.
Where do arts administrators work?
Arts administrators work for symphony orchestras, art galleries, museums, ballet companies, musical groups, theaters and other organizations. Arts administrators may work for non-profit organizations, government agencies, corporations or foundations that support the arts.
What are some job positions in arts administration?
Arts administrators can serve in the following roles at organizations: marketing, management, programming, operations, patron services, education/outreach, fundraising, finance, human resources, information technology, advocacy, production, research, facility management, or food services. The opportunities are vast and if you love the arts and have skills in any of the following areas, arts administration could be the right fit for you.