Although all but the smallest arts organizations recognize the need for more professional management, many are uncomfortable with the consequences of this shift.
Even larger organizations that have successfully adopted more managerial approaches regularly decry the compromises they have had to make.
Although the level of government funding varies widely, the percentage of support coming from government bodies has generally decreased leading to greater reliance on revenue from admissions and sales, corporate support, and fundraising efforts.
Even where government funding is available, competition for these funds has sharpened considerably.
A common complaint is that preparing and administering grant proposals uses managers’ time and energy that they might better spend on program delivery.
Similarly, placing an emphasis on moneymaking exhibitions rules out more speculative programs featuring unknown artists or experimental presentations.Increased difficulties in securing necessary resources means that arts organizations must operate more efficiently thus making greater demands on their managers.While the first two factors affect virtually all arts organizations, a third, increasing internationalization, mainly concerns larger institutions.For example, human resources must often deal with high profile performers who appear with the company for a short time under quite specific constraints.Within any arts organization, a balance exists between administrative requirements, some of which may be imposed by outside bodies, and the aesthetic judgments inherent in presenting performances or exhibitions.How the relevant managers resolve these tensions has become a major topic in the study of arts management.One reason for increasing interest in arts management is the considerable growth of the arts industry both in its own right and as an important element in marketing cultural resources.But is arts management really that different from management in other types of organization; are the challenges found in the arts industry and the context in which they operate specific enough to require a separate approach to understanding managerial experience?From the limited literature available, the answers to this question appear to be yes, no, and yes.While the popular view often features the heroic figure of a conductor or director, in fact, responsibility for much of the success of any arts institution rests on the work of administrators who handle marketing, sales, logistics, finances, human resources, and all the other necessary support functions.Each of these functions has its equivalent in the private sector but still must be adapted to the arts milieu.