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Art smart: Organising art exhibitions is also part of art management

Art management is a relatively new field that creates and trains professionals to successfully develop and manage cultural projects. It takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of art and management and combines tools of business (such as management, marketing, planning), culture (such as art appreciation, theories of culture), communication (such as visual design, event management, public relations), and audience and community building (such as fundraising, education) to build bridges between art, artists and audience.

What do i have to do?

Broadly speaking, art management is about facilitation and cultivation of creative arts and culture. Some of the more important tasks of an arts manager include:

• Formulating a strategy, agreeing with all stakeholders on the policy, conceiving, planning, implementing and evaluating arts projects.

• Managing the arts and art institutions.

• Building arts networks.

• Supporting and promoting arts education, infrastructure and professional teams for effective and efficient operation and growth.

• Ensuring suitable and specific facilities and programming for the art form in hand, for example, display of art exhibitions and sound or acoustics for a music concert.

It also involves preparing estimates, budgets, raising funds and securing grants as well as sponsorships. It includes analysing needs of the audience and planning suitable programmes to meet their needs and building new audiences, volunteers, friends and supporters in the community and artists’ networks.

Art management professionals are involved in documenting, nurturing and conserving arts, culture and heritage for posterity as well as arranging academic seminars and festivals, apart from supporting collaboration across art forms and regions, promoting innovation, experimentation and creativity, adapting to new technology and art practice, strengthening arts infrastructure / facilities, museums and cultural institution building, branding and marketing, monitoring and review.

Rules of business management need to be adapted and applied cautiously, bearing the specific demands of the art form in mind.

The need is to create professionals sensitive to India’s art and culture, while providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude required to successfully develop and manage institutions involved in the area of arts.

What should i study?

You should have completed a bachelors degree and must possess an active interest in art and culture. A degree in fine arts, art history, art appreciation or museology is an advantage. Following this, you could pursue a management course.

The art management course includes a foundation of knowledge on Indian and world art, theories of cultural studies, the world of art, design and visual thinking through an appreciation of both contemporary and historical works and issues, management as a system and the various managerial processes that are involved in conceptualising, planning, budgeting, organising and implementing projects in the fields of arts, and the various forms of mass media as information and communication vehicles.

What next?

There is an urgent need in today’s rapidly changing arts economy for creative, skilled and professionally qualified managers with a deep and real understanding of culture. With the onset of globalisation, a keen interest has developed in the specific relationship between arts and culture and the economic and social development of our communities. Cultural creation, production and presentation have gone from being almost ignored in the economic sphere to being at the centre of new development strategies.

There is a need for arts management inputs both at the operational and strategic levels. There are so many arts institutions in the country that are waiting for experts and professionals to take over the reigns and help manage and facilitate creative work to support growth and improve their effectiveness.

Cultural tourism, Indian and international cultural centres, museums, art galleries, arts and crafts promotional bodies, tourism and hospitality industries, education and the arts, entrepreneurial ventures in arts and craft development and programme officers in embassies and cultural centres are some of the avenues that are open to students taking up this course. Graduates are also qualified to work for non-arts charities, particularly in the areas of administration, fundraising and marketing.

Where to study

Dakshina Chitra (Madras Craft Foundation), Besant Nagar, Chennai.
National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, New Delhi.
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, US.
Metropolitan College, Boston University, US.
Teachers College, Columbia University, US.

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