When you’re interested in doing work that combines creative skills and art appreciation with leadership or management skills, working as an arts administrator could be the ideal career. The arts administration field is filled with career paths that allow you to put your skills to use in artistic environments. Exploring these possible careers and learning more about arts administration can help you think about what path you might want to take.

What Is Arts Administration?

Arts administration refers to the management of organizations involved with arts and culture. This includes the public and private sectors, as well as government entities. As an arts administrator, you might manage a theater, a public arts program, a museum, or an arts advocacy organization. Working in this area involves many management or leadership tasks, often making important decisions about programs and events, finances, and other aspects of arts and culture organizations.

How to Get into Arts Administration

What does it take to work in this field? You’ll need to think about the kind of work you want to do and the type of organization you’re interested in working for. You’ll also need to get an education and gain experience in this field. Working on building necessary skills is also an essential part of getting into an arts administration career.

Plan Your Career

The arts administration field offers a wide range of career paths. Think about the kind of career you want as an arts administrator. For example, you might be interested in managing a performing arts facility or acting as director of an art museum or art gallery. Your career goals might lean more toward advocating for the arts in your local community. Planning your career can help you narrow down your options, so you can focus on gaining experience and building the skills you’ll need.

Get Experience

When you break into arts administration, you most likely won’t be starting at the top. As you build your career, you’ll need to earn a degree and get experience in the field. You can do this in many ways, such as volunteering at a cultural or artistic organization or exploring internship opportunities through your degree program.

Develop Your Skills

What skills do you need to be in arts administration? As you go through your degree program, you can work on building skills you’ll use regularly, such as entrepreneurship and organizational skills. You’ll also need to be skilled at leading others and communicating verbally and in writing, and to have cultural sensitivity skills to work effectively with community partners.

How to Get a Job in Arts Administration

Once you've decided on the career you want in the arts administration field, how do you find work? This starts with getting an education and ends with applying for jobs that you’re interested in. Keep the following in mind to help you plan your career and achieve your arts administrator career goal.

Earn an Education

There are various degree programs related to the arts administration field. These include bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in arts administration. The arts administration degree program that works best for you will depend largely on your career goals, among other factors. While earning a bachelor’s degree can be done in four years, remember that employers often look for job applicants with an advanced degree, such as a master’s.


Networking isn’t just for corporate or business careers. As an arts administrator, networking with other professionals can open doors in your field. This can lead to being notified about upcoming job opportunities you might not have heard about otherwise. Building a professional network can help you advance your career in arts administration.

Find a Mentor

A mentor can provide guidance in the arts administration field, so you’ll know what to expect from this kind of work. You can explore opportunities to find a mentor while earning your degree, such as looking into mentorship programs at your school. You can also find a mentor when you intern or volunteer for an organization.

Start Applying for Jobs

When you’ve developed the skills needed for arts administration and have your degree, your next step is applying for jobs. Look for available jobs that fit your career goals. You can always turn to your network or your mentor to ask about upcoming openings.

Arts Administration Jobs

1. Executive Director

Executive directors are responsible for overseeing an organization’s growth and vision. They develop strategies to help cultural or artistic organizations grow and thrive. Executive directors in arts administration might be tasked with recruiting employees, collaborating with other managers to achieve objectives, identifying fundraising opportunities, and representing the organization at events.

2. Social and Community Service Manager

Social and community service managers coordinate programs and services and oversee organizations that promote public or community well-being. These managers might create and implement programs that bring arts and culture to under-served communities. They might also be expected to analyze the effectiveness of these programs, update them as needed, and explore funding opportunities.

3. Community Engagement Director

Community engagement directors are responsible for building relationships within the community and providing opportunities for community members to visit or participate in the organization. For example, museum community engagement directors might identify and represent community interests to create relevant programs and events.

4. Volunteer Director

Volunteer directors are responsible for overseeing volunteer programs and opportunities within an organization. Common responsibilities include managing finances, recruiting volunteers, and promoting volunteer programs and opportunities in the community. For example, a theater volunteer director might implement programs that allow volunteers to assist with theatrical productions behind the scenes.

5. Museum Educator

Museum educators are responsible for developing and implementing educational programs and events for their organization. They might also coordinate community outreach for the museum. Museum educators develop ideas for educational programs, create material for these programs, conduct educational research, and coordinate lectures, displays, or other aspects of these programs.

6. Cultural Affairs Director

Cultural affairs directors are responsible for planning, organizing, facilitating, and directing the cultural activities of a business/organization. The work they do includes developing/creating marketing programs, cultural arts programming, grants programs, advocacy, and revenue development for their business/organization.

7. Education Manager

Art education managers are responsible for managing and expanding arts education programs for their business/organization. Additionally, the position is responsible for creating and maintaining strong relationships with the education and arts community so they can create informative and exciting artistic and cultural experiences for their business/organization.

Learn More Today

If you’re thinking about building a career in arts administration, please contact the U of M. We offer a Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership that can prepare you for a wide range of careers in arts administration!