Art management definition

arts management definition

Art management (also referred to as art administration) applies business administration technics and processes to the art world. It includes running the daily business operations of art institutions either private or public. 

Arts Management’s purpose is to reconcile both disciplines as they potentially have opposing objectives. The former is concerned with the practical aspects of running a business: rational management of resources, keeping expenditure within a budget, pursuing efficiency. The latter is a mean of expression, it carries the authors vision and emotions and is not concerned with profit. 

To be legitimate, art management must respect arts by not stifling the artist’s creativity and their freedom to express themselves. Art should always have the freedom and the space to fulfill its role towards society: inspire ideas, educate, embody the current issues and struggles of a society, shape nations and peoples’ identities, create cultural legacies that are passed on to the next generation.

What is the role of Art management? Why is it needed?

Museums, art galleries, theaters, opera houses, are all institutions. As such they are legal entities who needs to meet legal, economical and organizational requirements to exist and operate within society. Arts Management’ role is to support art institutions, both for-profit and non-profit, meet those requirements. To quote Woody Allen:” If show business wasn’t a business, it would be called show”. Besides, art institutions often face budget and technical constraints. For instance, any art institution has to be economically viable, manage staff, find funding etc. Hence the need for management. 


Examples of art administration tasks and responsibilities:

  • Event management and planning
  • Managing art pieces in galleries and museum: transport, borrowing artwork, 
  • Staff management, hiring actors, stage managers, dancers, musicians, etc. 
  • Funding, accounting and budget management
  • Ticket sales, pricing, advertisement and communication

Why study art management?

Why should you study art management? Nowadays, any cultural organization need to abide by strict organizational rules to run properly. So art management positions are in great need. You will be the one to make the institution activity happen. If you are fond of art and wish to help an art institution strive by developing its activities, while making a decent living.  

What position can you get with an art management degree?

Now, you may also wonder why start a career in arts and cultural management? Art managers and art administrators are positions strictly dealing with management, as their name suggest. However, many other positions include some art management related responsibilities and tasks. For instance, budget and staff management play a central role of high responsibility positions such as artistic directors, museum and gallery managers. 

Examples cultural management jobs:

  • Art administrator
  • Art manager
  • Artistic director (theater and Opera house)
  • Museum director
  • Gallery manager
  • Project manager
  • Fundraiser