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What Is the Most Important Issue in Arts Management Today? Why?

To develop art leaders capable of addressing and resolving issues in the arts sector, it was necessary to study the field of arts management. Despite the fact that artists have been creating works in the arts realm for centuries, a genuine study of arts administration started only around five decades years ago. In 1963, the New York City’s New School for Social Research offered the first arts management course as part of the school’s arts management curriculum (Paquette, 2016). At the moment, all of the top higher education institutions provide graduate as well as postgraduate programs in arts management. Even so, the arts industry continues to require an increasing number of art managers who are knowledgeable about both art history and theory, as well as adept at dealing with practical concerns and prepared to tackle the industry’s current challenges (Kaiser, 2011). The administration of the arts faces a variety of challenges in different countries and economic contexts. For instance, the British arts industry is facing a reduction in government support (Oswald, 2017). Additionally, among the most pressing issues confronting Asia’s arts industry, particularly in Hong Kong, are a scarcity of training prospects for art-associated specialists as well as a widening divide between cultural practice as well as policy. Numerous issues confront the arts management industry in various countries, but the most serious is a lack of art managers.

The International Overview of Public Arts Administration Issues emphasized that among the threats to arts administration is a decline in the availability of experts in nationwide arts agencies (Laaksonen, 2014). It was predicted that in the coming years, a relative absence of training programs for artists along with art managers, a lack of academic programs, along with a general lack of a thorough understanding of the business world would all pose serious problems. Additionally, such threats are a fact of life.

As was previously stated that the majority of arts professionals recognize that the field of arts has an adequate number of artists, performers, musicians, along with actors. What matters most to art managers is a lack of peers who can assist them with issues such as curating, fundraising, marketing, along with a variety of other responsibilities (Kaiser, 2011).

It is worth noting that the sector currently employs a sizable number of art leaders. They are, however, self-taught and lack the essential experience in art and business to succeed in their roles as art managers. Furthermore, while major art institutions may be able to compensate for the recruitment of such artists, what about smaller organizations? That is going to be challenging for them. Simultaneously, they must address a variety of other issues, including a lack of cash and an inability to pay for skilled art managers to manage them all.

The people who work for and with museums are one of their greatest assets, as stated by Museums Association director Sharon Heal at the European museum organizations’ annual meeting in May 2016 (Heal, 2016). The association of museums had developed a new as well as unique professional development plan to equip professionals with the expertise necessary to handle complex situations. These plans are aimed at current art managers. Additionally, individuals working in the arts and culture sector should have a strong educational background. Employers in this sector value a strong foundation in cultural management and business acumen.

According to an essay published in the Journal of Cultural Management and Policy by Mara Cerquetti, the demand for qualified workers has never been greater than it is today, given the rapid pace of globalization and the resulting increase in the continent’s population (Cerquetti, 2016). While cultural expression is no longer used to express national beliefs, it is increasingly being used to bring people from diverse backgrounds together. As a result of this shift, art managers must be aware of cross-cultural diplomacy.

While the arts industry is performing well at the moment, it will need to undergo significant transformations in the coming years in terms of technology, audience engagement, financial management, along with fundraising (Kaiser, 2011). Art leaders find themselves in a position of competition for their patrons’ attention. The training of artists does not include performing in this manner. In this regard, art directors face a difficult task. What will they require to address current and future challenges? Art directors should be skilled in a variety of areas, including financial acumen, strategic management, an understanding of the current economic climate, including a working knowledge of art history as well as theory, along with contemporary art directing. Although this type of art manager is extremely difficult to find, it is necessary.

Migration activity adds another layer of complexity to the administration of the arts. Dealing with a more diverse audience can be challenging for an art manager, especially when it comes to cultural policy. Despite the fact that additional studies on the immigrant audience is necessary, this offers an excellent chance for an experienced art manager. The higher the standard of audience research and consumer communication, the greater the number of visits (Cerquetti, 2016).

To sum up, despite the fact that many art institutions lack the expertise and resources necessary to discharge all of their responsibilities of art managers effectively, there is a global demand for art experts in cultural administration. Additionally, there are few opportunities for additional academic and practical training. As a result of these factors, it is clear that art management personnel shortages are a significant issue for those responsible for cultural institutions and in the art world in general. Numerous arts organizations will be incapable of addressing future issues if they do not address this one first. Artists may be harmed as a result of this unbalanced and hostile environment. As a result, cultural organization leaders will face a significant amount of work in the coming years in order to address the complex challenge they face.


Cerquetti, M. 2016. More is better! Current issues and challenges for museum audience development: a literature review. Journal of cultural management and policy, [online] 6(1). Available at: [Accessed February 23, 2022].

Heal, S. 2016. Austerity bites: how to avoid death by a thousand cuts. In: NEMO 24th Annual Conference. [online] Karlsruhe: The Network of European Museum Organisations, pp.32-34. Available at: [Accessed February 23, 2022].

Kaiser, M. 2011. The Biggest Problem Facing the Arts. [Blog] The Huffington Post. Available at: [Accessed February 23, 2022].

Laaksonen, A. 2014. Arts Panorama: International Overview of Issues for Public Arts Administration. D’Art Topics in Arts Policy. [online] Sydney: International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, p.7. Available at: [Accessed February 23, 2022].

Oswald, K., 2017. Report international forum on cultural management and cultural policy 2016 – regional differences, but a common vision. Available at:,3775 [Accessed February 23, 2022].


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