Oversee an art department with a mix of creative and business skills.
What does an Arts Manager do?
The arts manager is responsible for the day-to-day running of an art department. This could be for an advertising agency, an actual art gallery, or a website (among others). Wherever you are, your fundamental duties don’t change. You coordinate the overall direction of the art in a particular space: who is making it, what it’s going to look like, and how it’s going to be presented to whoever is looking at it.
You’re often the liaison between the creative team and the more pragmatic, strategic branches of a company, so you have to be able to think with both sides of your brain and do so quickly. In a large organization, you work under the art director, helping them make decisions and oversee the artists creating your shared vision.
Doing this job well requires more than an aesthetic sensibility. To be successful as an arts manager, you must balance an artistic eye with a keen business sense to shape a vision, then use your interpersonal skills to motivate a team of artists to create your vision.
To do all this, you’ve got to see the big picture while keeping an eye on the people that are actually painting it, so to speak. One hand on the paintbrush and one hand on the accounting books is a good way for you to conceptualize this work. And flexibility is key, so you can deal with last minute adjustments.