And now…a post…about…knitting!

My very own Beer Mitt

My very own Beer Mitt

Please read the title of this post with the appropriate Monty Python-esque emphasis. And having done that, we move on to the rest of the post…

I love KnittyBlog! For those knitters out there who haven’t already explored Knitty’s magazine or the blog, I really, truly recommend you go there, if for no other reason than World Wide Wednesdays, when the post is a compendium of knitting stories from around the world.

You’ll find running stories like this

…And strange and wonderful tales like this.

And of course, Knitty’s mag is the home of the amazing Beer Mitt, which I blogged about here.

You don’t have to be a knitter to enjoy this stuff, either. Who knows, you might be inspired to become a knitter, and that would be amazing!

On Being An Arts Administrator

I frequently think that Arts Administration is a unique profession, but I really have no hard evidence upon which to base this, never having worked in a field outside the Arts. Every colleague I talk to recognizes that what we do is hard, and many have considered a career change (in fact, a lot of us consider it several times a month). As we frequently like to admit, we will never get rich and we will never get famous. But we stay on. Why? What makes us “tick?”

Here are some of what I think are some of the realities and rewards of Arts Administration:

Reality – Arts Administrators work hard: really hard. There is always a lot to do – often much more than we can get to in the time we have.

Reality – there will never be enough money or human resources to do what we want to do; however, many Arts Administrators make a living wage because many of us (but not all) have long term or permanent jobs, which is more than many artists can say.

Reality – however financially secure an arts organization (of any size or description) may be or seem to be, there is little margin for something to go “wrong”. The unpredictability of revenue is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast. I don’t think anybody ever gets used to this, but we learn to live with it.

Reward – Arts Administrators are extremely resourceful, resilient and creative people in their own right. This is something we should celebrate from time to time. This trait grows and expands the longer we work in our field.

Reward – we work with people who care very deeply about what they do; most people work in the Arts because they love it.

Reward – the work we do is meaningful. Let’s think about this: every day we will be working on behalf of something that makes humanity and civilization unique and beautiful; we are involved in things that transform people’s lives.

Whenever I question why I do this really hard thing called Arts Administration, I try to remember the rewards and even if it seems like the rest of the world really doesn’t care, there are some people out there who do. If that makes the world a better place, then I’m in.

Introduction

This is a blog about Arts Administration – or at least one person’s perspectives and thoughts on it. Although it is meant to be thoughtful it certainly isn’t meant to be definitive and I hope it will open doors to more thoughtful comments and insights. I hope it will stimulate discussion of the kind that Arts Administrators rarely seem to have time for, except over the occasional coffee or at a conference. I will also include links to recent and/or relevant research, policy and discussion on Arts and Culture around the internet, and helpful hints, links, thoughts and comments are always appreciated. Part of the process of blogging is, after all, to engage in dialogue with a wider community. The subject matter will naturally be influenced by the aspects that interest me most about Arts Administration these days, in particular public policy, strategic planning, research, and general thoughts on how and why we do what we do. Since I am not an expert on marketing or fundraising (although these topics will certainly arise from time to time), I will tend not to write specifically about these, as there are other blogs and sites out there that address issues in these areas probably much better than I do.

Some of what will be written here may be provocative – in fact, in the name of stimulating discussion, I hope some of it will be. With that said, I will make every effort to ensure that what I say is true to the very best of my knowledge and that I try to credit others’ thoughts and ideas appropriately. If there are errors or omissions, friendly reminders are appreciated. All of the opinions that are not attributed to others and that are expressed in this blog are entirely my own and are not intended to reflect any organization’s or other person’s opinions, except by coincidence. The intention is to be constructive, productive and most of the time, positive. Although there will be times when arguments will be made against certain ideas or practices, the intent is never to whine or allow things to deteriorate into rants or vents.

I hope there are some people out there who will find this stimulating and thought-provoking, and if not either of those at least interesting, and who will read and comment and make a challenging, rewarding and profession even more so.