Degree of Entry?

Posted by Todd Eric Hawkins On March - 20 - 2013
Todd Eric Hawkins

Todd Eric Hawkins

During the last Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Antonio, I had the privilege of facilitating a roundtable on how to navigate a mid-career shift to the arts. The remarkable individuals I met during that discussion reinforced one of the things I love about arts administration and the arts in general, their entry points were varied and all are vital to the field.

Since entering arts administration a few years ago, I have had numerous conversations with arts leaders of all ages regarding the question of getting a Masters Degree. Part of the reason for this is that I did get a Masters Degree in Arts Administration in 2010 and I am often called on to tout the benefits of my alma mater to prospective students, which I do enthusiastically.

When I graduated three years ago, I would have told you that a Masters Degree is absolutely necessary, which was completely true in my case. I would never have the opportunities I now have without my graduate program. In the past three years, however, I have discovered an additional inescapable path to leadership, the road.

The road is paved with obstacles and pitfalls that every leader must face and that no Masters Degree program could possibly teach. They only thing the very best ones can do, is prepare you for the journey.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sahar Javedani

If you’re reading this now, chances are that you’re in a place of contemplative or active transition—and I commend you!

Many of you know that after seven years of working as a choreographer with parallel work in nonprofit arts administration and education in New York City, I recently moved to Philadelphia to start the next chapter of my life which included re-evaluating my commitment to a career in nonprofit administration.

In my last two years in New York City I had aligned myself with an organization that channeled some of my greatest strengths (dance education, career/professional development, nonprofit administration) into one role. After years working at least three simultaneous jobs, I convinced myself that I had “arrived.”

What followed was one of the greatest learning periods of my life.

Holding the reigns of running my own program within a larger organization confirmed that I was indeed entrepreneurial, self-driven, motivated, an excellent networker, etc. These talents were coupled with equal frustrations in communications, core values, and logistics within the organization.

I will refrain from going into detail, but I do feel compelled to share some valuable books that encouraged me along the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Continue a Career in the Arts? (Part 2)

Posted by Jessica Wilt On September - 26 - 2011

Jessica Wilt

In part 1 of my blog post, I started to talk about how the economy is affecting arts administrators. Specifically, how the financial and jobs crisis is weighing heavier on midcareer level individuals. Now, what we can do about it?

Here are three things I see happening today, mainly due to the economy:

#1 – Unpaid internships have now replaced what used to be the entry level job. Anyone can be an intern, no matter what age, and companies get by with more unpaid labor. Ultimately this helps with their bottom line, but in turn is destroying the pay scale. What used to be respectable manager/director pay is often times now entry level salary.

CBS Sunday Morning recently did a great story highlighting the new trend employers are quickly taking advantage of. Just get an intern! They can fix and solve all your problems…for FREE! I’ve watched job posting sites like and shift from a plethora of full-time job listings to include more internship posts.

#2 – Due to budget cuts and downsizing, full-time jobs are being given part-time titles with no benefits. Or, full-time employees are asked to take on even more responsibility with less staff, give up percentages of their pay, watch benefits disappear, and participate in work furloughs. Read the rest of this entry »

Local Arts Leader Moves to the National Stage (from Arts Link)

Posted by Tim Mikulski On April - 15 - 2011

Michael Killoren

The following is an extended version of our Q&A session with Michael Killoren, Director of Local Arts Agencies and Challenge America Fast Track at the National Endowment for the Arts, featured in the current issue of Arts Link, our quarterly member newsletter.

To find out more about the benefits of becoming a member of Americans for the Arts, visit our Membership page:

What is your overall role as the director of Local Arts Agencies and Challenge America Fast Track at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)?

I’m responsible for the oversight and management of these two program areas, in alignment with the new strategic direction under the “Art Works” guiding principle.

You transitioned last fall to the NEA from the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs in Seattle. What’s it like to move from a local or regional organization to one with a national reach? Read the rest of this entry »

Making a Career Change to Arts Management (An EALS Post)

Posted by Ethan Clark On March - 4 - 2011

During my career as Director of Bands for a high school, the need for advocacy and awareness for arts education became ever more prevalent as state-initiatives focused on standardized testing.

Wanting to do more on a larger level, I discovered there were opportunities in arts management beyond the classroom for preserving quality arts programming in our public schools.

Upon much self-reflection and consultation with friends and family, I moved to Washington to further my education in arts management. I knew that this career change would provide an opportunity where I could fulfill these new ambitions.

Career shifts are a difficult process for most people, and the ability to improve and expand upon one’s knowledge of a new field, on the fly, is imperative to maintain a competitive edge in the new industry one works for.

I hope by sharing my experiences in changing career paths from music education to arts management that you will gain some insight on how you too can survive your own career transitions. Read the rest of this entry »