Some Worthwhile Links

Just some quick pointers today, but they’re good ones.  There’s a good blog by an arts manager that specializes in the medium of theatre a world of which I am decidedly an outsider.  And although I’m not a large proponent of “non-profit performing arts cross-pollination”, there are some good articles to be found there.


The first article, entitled Executives Without Direction, is a good read that details an ideal world a chief executive should create to best serve their organization.  In the article, Joe the author of buttsseats (catchy title)- tallies the expected tasks executive directors were required to fulfill in a recent posting of positions at several theatre career sites (much like the career site at the ASOL).  Do his results look familiar?



  • Fundraising-20
  • Budgeting-16
  • Rent/Manage Facilities-2
  • Strategic Planning/Vision/Direction-6
  • P/R, Marketing-11
  • Personnel Management-12
  • Programming/Booking Events-9
  • Oversee restoration of building-2
  • Board Development-1
  • Outreach/Community-Government relations-6
  • Volunteer Development-2
  • Partnerships-1
  • Event Management-1

At the beginning of that same article there is a short section that talks about a new age of writing/journalism.  It, in and of itself, is an interesting topic as well.


The next is a long, but fascinating, article entitled How Did We Get Into This Mess? It’s about how arts organizations have evolved since before the turn of the last century into what we see today.  Print it out and make it a part of your night stand reading.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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