Quick comment on Kaiser post

For some reason, my comment wasn’t approved on his blog.  I’m hoping it was a technological glitch, otherwise it looks like he is only taking soft comments that agree or do not go against his post too much.

To catch some of you up, Michael Kaiser wrote a post entitled: Where Are the Senior Arts Managers?  It was in fact a nice piece basically saying that we need to give the younger generation a chance.

I didn’t think my comment was that bad to warrant a shut out.  Here was my comment as best as I can remember with a little expansion:

The reason there may be a lack of senior arts managers is due to the passing over the GenX generation (mainly the older segment of this generation).  During the time I was in college, there were not many arts management degree programs.  Instead, we were the generation that gained the experience without the arts management degrees.  These days, many jobs at this level are requiring Masters degrees in arts management.  I attempted to go back to school for my Masters.  The very first class was a waste of time and money for me.  While all the younger students were contemplating “What is art?,” etc., I realized that I have already been through this process.  I only truly need a few classes to complement my close to 20 years of on the job experience.  If you want smart, talented, senior management candidates, perhaps you need to consider changing some of these Masters programs to accommodate the more experienced learner.  Why not have Masters programs for this age group that assess their job skills and knowledge and allows them to qualify for credit for what they already know?  This way, it will not be a waste of time and money, and instead, these candidates can fill in their gaps on a case by case basis.  Or, perhaps, you need to relax a little on the degree requirements for some of these positions and evaluate based on the years of on-the-job experience.

Now really, was my comment that bad?





Filed under Arts, arts management

4 responses to “Quick comment on Kaiser post

  1. Jessica Layman

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. As a “mid career” student I found 80% of the classes in my M.A. program to be way below my skill level. For example, after the first class I went home and did all the projects for my development class for the entire semester. The same with marketing. I also found it super frustrating having to work on group projects with students below my skill level. As such, I put the majority of my efforts into my internship programs and only worked at organizations that were giving real responsibility and looking for mid career students.
    I get what Kaiser’s saying though- my experience as a managing director is in small organizations in Texas and I’m often met with the attitude that given that, I can’t possibly understand the needs of a company in NYC. Trust me, it’s far far easier being in a state and city that supports the arts than in one who is continually trying to do away with arts funding.

  2. Thank you for stopping by, Jessica. I’m glad I am not the only one that feels this way regarding “mid-career” and degree programs. I do agree with Kaiser that running a small organization can be equally challenging, especially when funding is harder to come by. In general, I think people need to start hiring based on all variables instead of strictly “experience” or “degrees.” Consider the child prodigy for instance as a parallel example. These kids have mind-blowing skills, without the degrees. Yet, they are celebrated based on talent. If they were to be screened by their resumes instead of their talents, they wouldn’t even be considered for a “position.” When they are given a chance to demonstrate their skills, they are found to be quite amazing!

    People are of all shapes and sizes with a variety of skills and backgrounds. If we could all stop looking with a cookie-cutter desired background for hiring arts managers, we might find out this process and way of thinking was half baked.

  3. Loyd K.

    Maybe next time you’d have better luck going with the rye (wry?) instead of the Kaiser….and hold the mayo 🙂

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