The Most Creative People In Arts Administration

At the end of September, 2016 ArtsHacker introduced The Most Creative People In Arts Administration program, brainchild of ArtsHacker contributor Ceci Dadisman, and submission started rolling in shortly thereafter. Not only were applications full of detailed info the panel needed to deliberate, but the individualism and authenticity from each applicant was evident in each submission. Despite all the ups and downs over the course of 2016, it’s reassuring to know that the field has so many creative innovators. Each of their projects reaffirms the value of not only being creative, but knowing how to get things done to bring that creativity to fruition.

Creative Managers 2016 Juan Escalante and Aubrey Bergauer

The panel results were all very close and when it was all said and done we ended up with a very good problem to have in the form of a tie for the inaugural program.


Juan José Escalante, Executive Director

Organization: José Limón Dance Foundation
Project: The José Limón International Dance Festival.

Juan Jose Escalante

Aubrey Bergauer, Executive Director

Organization: California Symphony
Project: California Symphony Blog



listed alphabetically

Kudos to everyone who took the time to submit a nominee and to all the recipients and honorable mentions. You can read all about the most creative people in arts administration’s projects along with learning more about their respective backgrounds at

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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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