Our Response to Common Challenges
How is the role of the arts manager shifting on the international stage?
In virtually every nation worldwide, the recent financial downturn forced arts leaders to develop new strategies and resources to sustain their organizations and services in their communities.
During this period, discretionary income declined in both individual and corporate circles. Cheap, electronic entertainment proliferated, affecting box office receipts at “traditional” cultural institutions. Competition for both earned and contributed income grew increasingly fierce.
Additionally, in many countries, shifting demographic, economic, and political factors forced cultural organizations to find uses for their art well outside the theater or museum: in the classroom, in the street, as a social intermediary, as an economic driver, and so on. Today, much more is being asked of cultural institutions, often for much less in return.
All the while, public coffers had to adapt to a new financial reality. As governments' resources dwindled, policymakers began to demand more from their investments, including in the cultural sector.
Consequently, the role of the arts manager has changed. What was always a difficult job has become, in too many cases, a precarious balancing act with a razor-thin line between survival and crisis.
Internationally, a revised model for arts practice and funding has begun to take root—a model that calls on art to do more for more people, spurs earned income, and incentivizes greater investment from the private sector.
In some countries, gains have been made, providing confidence that a new model for sustainability in the arts is indeed possible. In others, planning has just begun.