Labor, Life, and the Pursuit of Happiness for Arts Alumni

Posted by Kristy Callaway On June - 25 - 2013
Kristy Callaway

Kristy Callaway

Sally Gaskill

Sally Gaskill

Happy 100th Birthday to the U.S. Department of Labor! Our rotund and reluctant mid-wife, President Taft, on his last day in office, signed legislation creating and delivering the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), giving workers a direct seat in the President’s Cabinet for the first time.

DOL’s mission: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”

DOL has created one hundred buckets in which all jobs/industries are categorized. The data presented are obtained from employer or establishment surveys. Performing Arts shares its bucket with Spectator Sports and Related Industries. And Related Industries includes: Promoters of Performing Arts, Agents and Managers of Artists/Entertainers, Independent Artists, Writers and Performers. Another subset includes Musicians, Singers, Producers, Directors, Public Relations, Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers. You can similarly search job/industry categories for Architecture & Engineering, Arts & Design, and Media and Communication.

One can drill down into occupations to learn job descriptions, functions, work environment, education/training/experience, compensation, number of jobs in nation, and outlook (future growth projections) of said job. Read the rest of this entry »

Masters Degree? Depends…

Posted by George Patrick McLeer On April - 1 - 2013
George Patrick McLeer

George Patrick McLeer

“Are you thinking about getting your Masters?”

Every time I’m asked that question, my brain has a dilemma. On one hand, I love learning as much information as I can about my field and anything that relates to it. I take what Malcolm Gladwell told Charlie Rose about the key to great journalism to heart—“It’s about teaching yourself that everything is interesting.”

And I love the classroom setting—well I should say the right classroom setting, but that’s another story. I would much rather write a 20-page paper on charitable tax policy or how to engage young people, than attend another City Council meeting or board meeting some days.

But on the other hand, why would I go back to school? I’m a young professional with the world at my fingertips; I’ve got a pretty great job and on top of all that, my undergraduate degree was in Arts Management—so unless I wanted to specialize in something very specific like Arts Policy or Arts Education, I don’t need to sit in a classroom and learn about mission statements, 990s, grants, marketing, etc, from the beginning all over again.

Sure I’d love to learn more about those things—I haven’t found the magic potion to make a perfect arts organization (yet…maybe a Chemistry class?)—but as it stands right now, I have a better chance of making an impact by staying out of the classroom than going back into it.

The other question I used to get when I was in college was, “Where are you looking to work?” No doubt, most folks hear “the arts” and think NYC, DC, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, Seattle and other locations. But for me, my answer was, “I’m staying here in South Carolina.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Letter to a Young Administrator

Posted by John Abodeely On September - 22 - 2011

John Abodeely

A friend and colleague—one on the earlier end of her career—recently emailed me and asked what she thought of her possibly moving back to the east coast and entering a graduate program in the hope of advancing her career more quickly.

This is what I wrote her. Because her question is about career development, I have given myself permission to publish it below:

I think there are two things to keep in mind:

1. There isn’t actually a wrong choice. One way or the other, things work out; you’ll find a way to enjoy yourself; the important things tend to settle out the way they will: friends, family, fun, relationships of other kinds. You can pick a path—and it’s important you do—but a path is nothing but a series of choices. Just make sure you choose—don’t sit around too much—and you’ll have good experiences, meet people, see things, etc.

The only time this doesn’t hold is if you’re hell-bent on some outcome: being famous, being a museum educator, etc. In these cases, you can generally mix together the things you must do (like lots of acting jobs, plastic surgery, etc.; a degree in museum education, lots of internships, etc.) with a few rule breaking successes (going indie a couple times to build your acting rep; moving to a small town museum in rural America to be director of education because, while it’s not glamorous, it’ll rapidly advance your career). Read the rest of this entry »