Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Working with Small Arts Organizations-How and Why It Matters

During the survey class I am continuously wondering what would a small non-profit arts organization looks like because some hot issues we discussed in class such as hierarchical structures, leadership and conflicts may be different in smaller ones. This article gives a detailed analysis on small arts organizations from management to fundraising.

Due to the undercounting of small arts organizations, the study of them cannot cover the whole in a comprehensive way. But some traits of smaller ones clarified in this article have hit me in the confusion room. I am interested in the statement that “Smaller arts and cultural organizations are more likely to be embedded in geographic and/or affinity (ethnic, immigrant, age, sexual preference, specialized art form) communities than are large organizations (Markusen 2009). Neighborhood or territorial identity is common. ” Tightly connected with special communities, smaller arts organizations are undertaking missions more than presenting arts and there may be some society functions combined in the meantime. Therefore arts quality might not be the only pursuit. What’s more, the leadership in a small arts organization is more likely to involve community or committee participation, which would benefit its function.

In my previous bias, small arts organizations are just having hard time making both ends meet. However it appears a unique management methodology for smaller ones, which deserves more exploration for me. I love tiny things, and they should not be underestimated.


2 comments on “Working with Small Arts Organizations-How and Why It Matters

  1. carolynsupinka18
    September 25, 2014

    I agree! I love tiny things too. From my own experience, the smaller organizations I have worked with are the ones that have given me the most fulfilling experience as an employee. Many of the points from the article apply, especially the statements about strong leadership and the blurring of lines between ‘audience’ and ‘creator’. I mentioned in class (and I think on this blog too!) about working with Sampsonia Way magazine. The entire team consisted of five or six people working around a kitchen table in Pittsburgh’s Northside. The editor of the magazine was definitely an example of a strong leader. Her encouragement and directives made us feel, every day, the importance of what we were doing, and we never felt wanting for motivation.
    The Magazine was connected with City of Asylum, which hosted visiting writers and artists who would perform and share their work at our location. People from both the Northside and all over Pittsburgh’s community would attend, and there was a really great feeling of togetherness at these events.
    I would also like to explore successful management techniques for smaller organizations, and to identify the ways in which they have strengths that bigger non profits may not.

  2. yaoge2016
    September 26, 2014

    I am really interested in the points made in the article, and I agree with the idea that leadership” is one of the factors that make the small arts organizations distinguished from the bigger ones. Leadership, anyway, is to lead the group to do the right thing, which is of great importance when the number of staff is limited.
    I have no relative experience in small arts organizations, but I think it to some degree is similar to the start-up enterprise. The glamour and leadership skills of leader play a great role in development of the organization. However, if the start-up enterprise or small organization has ambition to expand its scale, management will become the main issue which haven’t been mentioned in the article. Therefore, I would like to explore the transition process from the small to the big, and what difficulties they might confront.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on September 24, 2014 by .
%d bloggers like this: