Leadership and Legitimacy: Rethinking the Role of Arts Administrators
Black, Rebecca D.
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Black, Rebecca D.
Arts organizations around the country are facing many challenges, including declining ticket sales, changing participation habits and competition for scarce public funds. These kinds of changes are not new, though; the environment for the arts and culture is constantly evolving, bringing new challenges and opportunities. To address these changes, the arts community typically relies on solutions with an internal focus – arts advocacy, expanded fundraising efforts, various ticketing options or the use of new technologies to communicate with current and potential patrons. There is no doubt that the effective implementation of these efforts is important to an organization‘s success. The arts community as a whole, however, does not seem to be actively pursuing other avenues to connect with their community or recognize the importance of engaging in issues outside of the arts and culture arena. If arts organizations are going to meet the challenges they currently face and be prepared for the unexpected challenges of the future, arts administrators must rethink the way that they advocate for their organization and the arts, more generally. This includes expanding the traditional understanding of ―arts advocacy‖ to include a broader array of issues related to the arts and culture, such as copyright law, media ownership, international trade and zoning, and for arts administrators to more fully participate in and engage with their community. Through an in-depth review of literature on network governance, collaboration, stakeholder theory and current trends related to the arts, this paper suggests that an expanded view of the role of the arts administrator – being an engaged part of the larger community on a variety of issues, for example, rather than focusing entirely on internal management or issues specific to the arts – would cultivate a greater legitimacy for arts organizations and the entire arts and culture field as valuable and essential community assets.