Arts Administration Lecture
By Terry B. Ewell
Presentation for Masterworks Festival
03 July 07
Copyright (c) 2007 by Terry B. Ewell. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright (c) 2007 by Terry B. Ewell. All Rights Reserved.
Part 1 Introduction
The first part is going to be our introduction. I have some questions for you and then we are going to banter back and forth. In the second part I am going to deal with a biblical person who was in administration and draw some things from his life. In the end we will talk some more about information and give you some practical information and talk more about the handout sheet. You can take notes on the back (of the handout sheet). We will get to the hand out right at the end.
TBE: great. We can always learn more things. That’s for sure…. It looks like we have three dancers here and some musicians. Anyone else? What attracted you (to come) here?
Response. I just wanted to learn more about it, because it is something that might interest me.
So here is my second question. What does administration mean to you? What is it that administrators do?
Response: So actually making it possible to perform.
Joseph and Administration
…they hated him and could not speak peaceably to
I want you to think here for a moment. Do you think the action that Joseph did made the situation better and fixed the problem? No, I don’t think so. We can read on here.
So Joseph is revealed something by God. He makes another decision. These are administrative decisions. As an administrator you need to think of what actions should I do and what are the consequences. What are the desired results I want and what are the best steps to take?I think if we sat down with Joseph, this seventeen year old, and we said, “Now Joseph, do you want as your desired result that everyone hate you and will despise you and want to get rid of you?” Joseph’s answer would have been, “Well, of course not.” Then we could have talked with Joseph. If you do this then the people aren’t going to like you. Do you understand that personal interaction that goes on in your workplace environment? If you do this other thing they are not going to like you either.
There is always another alternative as an administrator. It is not always that there is a bad answer, and bad answer and (another) bad answer. Sometimes you just haven’t figured out what God’s better solution is in this. That is important. We don’t see anywhere that Joseph prayed about it or that Joseph asked for guidance. He just blundered into things like I have blundered into a lot of things as an administrator.
His administrative career is not going very well at this point.
He is sold into slavery. Now to Genesis 39. He is bought by Potiphar, a wealthy Egyptian, an officer of the Pharaoh, a captain. We are looking at verses 1-6. Potiphar bought him from the Ishmaelites
(Genesis 39: 2-5) The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; (NKJV)
Well this is a
wonderful thing for us to look upon as
Christians. If God has truly called us to be these servants, these
helpers, that God will bless our work whether we serve secular masters,
in institutions such as I am that are non-Christian, there can still be
blessing of God for that institution on our behalf, upon our work. That
a wonderful claim that we can have here. I really would expect that God
be blessing us as administrators for those we administrate over and
those that we serve. Really every administrator has a boss. Even the
This (passage) brings up a second part of administration that I didn’t understand and I was surprised about. We talked about all these skills that you need in administration, but we didn’t talk about the fact that when you become an administrator, there are new temptations. There are new things that never happened to you before in your life.
Joseph is now in the situation where one of the temptations—implied in the text with all the wealth of his master available—is to embezzle funds. One temptation is to embezzle funds, to take funds for his personal gain. There is that temptation. As you move into administration you have more control over larger budgets and pools (of money). There is many an administrator that has fallen because of that temptation. That is something you have to consider. Like you, I didn’t think of that (when I started administration). There is more power, more authority, and with that comes the possibility of abuse.
The other thing about administration is that you can never anticipate all that is going to happen. There is always something that is going to come up that is going to catch you quite by surprise: no matter how well prepared you are, no matter what you think you are doing. This is illustrated well here. Who would have guessed that Potiphar’s wife would be making sexual advances upon Joseph. Everything was going perfectly. Finally he has the start of a successful administration. (He is) totally blindsided here. Joseph’s reaction was absolutely appropriate. He did the right thing. He fled from the situation, tried to get out of it, he was not going to abuse the privileges he had of the office (of overseer). But sometimes in administration things happen to you that you have not control over. All of a sudden he found his career gone. There are times as an administrator, because you are an authority figure, there are things that can come against you that through no fault of your own can end your career.
I had no idea that when I went into administration, because you are a figure head you are open to more attacks than ever before. You are more in the public eye. There is more envy towards you. There is more hatred towards you. Despite the fact that you may have no animosity towards these people or no reason for abuse to these people. There are still things that can happen that you simply don’t have control over.
Joseph’s reaction was absolutely right. He served the Lord. Here is an instance where he was a good administrator. Remember with the sheep and with his brothers he was a terrible administrator. But we see him grow up here. He was a very fine administrator with a disastrous career. You may think, “Well, that is not fair.” No, sometimes administration isn’t fair. Sometimes the good administrators are in disrepute through no fault of their own. That is unfortunately what happened to Joseph in this instance.
I always think about the fact that he wasn’t killed or put to death. I am assuming that Potiphar had the right to kill him. There must have been some doubt in Potiphar’s mind: “Maybe my wife had done this before. I trust Joseph.” But he was imprisoned instead.Part 3 Joseph and Administration continued
Now he (Joseph) is in jail. Now is his third administrative activity.
Sometimes you have to make the best. Even in bad situations there are administrative possibilities. So he had his career change and now is in prison administration. We can read about this in Chapter 39:21:
But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. (NKJV)We can always be praying for favor from those over us.
(Genesis 39:22) And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. (NKJV)
He had become like the prison warden though still a prisoner himself.
(Genesis 39:23) The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's hand, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper. (NKJV)
Here is another successful administration by Joseph. But can you imagine his resume? How would he put it together? Well, I was keeper of sheep but that didn’t work out so well. Then in Potiphar’s household things were working pretty well, but that didn’t work out so well either. But I am chief prison administrator! That is a great claim to fame. That will really get you a prime job!
The Lord has interesting ways. The things that happen in our lives can string together in the most unusual paths. That was the case with Joseph. Things worked out. He waited his time. Even though he had appealed to the baker and the wine server for years he was forgotten. But he continued faithfully. I think that is our charge as administrators. We need to be faithful to God first, not just to the people with serve with, but have that faithfulness with God.
Finally we can read in Genesis 41:33-40 that Pharaoh has this dream, nobody can interpret it, and finally they remember Joseph. They bring up Joseph, he interprets the dream, and then he says something interesting to Pharaoh. He gives Pharaoh advice. Notice the advice he gives to Pharaoh is not about himself. He dispenses wise advise not to his benefit, but to the benefit of Pharaoh. This is the advice he gives:
(Genesis 39:33-34) "Now
therefore, let Pharaoh select a
discerning and wise man, and set him over the
He goes on to talk about the food reserve and everything. Verse 37:
(Genesis 39:37) So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?" (NKJV)
Let’s end our study of Joseph by showing some real wise administration. One of the problems he had early on in his administration was that he didn’t think of consequences. He acted according to what was on his heart. He just did it not thinking of how it would impact other people. By this time (reading in Chapter 46) now he thinks of consequences. He is planning, looking ahead, thinking of what he needs to do. Now he is thinking about his family, his father, and all of them coming.(Genesis 46:31-34) Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, "I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, 'My brothers and those of my father's house, who were in the
So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, 'What is your occupation?' that you shall say, 'Your servants' occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers,' that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians." (NKJV)
(Genesis 47:1-2) Then
Joseph went and told Pharaoh, and said,
"My father and my brothers, their flocks and their herds and all that
possess, have come from the
Let me explain what is
happening here. Joseph was thinking,
“Where is the best place for my family to reside in this
entire kingdom?” He is
He is thinking this through. He stages this whole thing and it all goes according to plan. He planned it out well as an administrator. All of this works, having God’s blessing.
This is part of administration that I hadn’t thought about, I (later) discovered. You need to be thinking ahead. You need to be thinking of consequences. You need to be thinking of relationships with people. You need to be thinking of ways in which you can inspire people to come together to (achieve) that goals you want to see created. What is beneficial for everyone, how (do I) make it work. Instead of just thinking I have this idea and I am just going to do it. Joseph learned this from being a bad administrator and those terrible experiences he had as a seventeen year old. Now (he was) a fine administrator. Now that I have been an administrator I think that these things I have just shared with you are more important than computer programs, what I do about organization, etc. These are skills that are important to the job, but I could shipwreck my administration by missing these principles: dealing with people, thinking ahead, planning, the moral consequences of my actions, etc.
As a chairperson of a department of music I am looked upon as being a representative of this group. The way I behave in public, the way I am at the grocery store, the way I am at this and that, reflects upon my institution. You may not have thought of that. The higher you move in administration that less freedom you have over your own life. When I was just a faculty member the only consequences I had pretty much just reflected upon me. If I was mad at that person I could just “tell them off.” But as an administrator if I spoke the same words I might have had as a faculty member, get mad or upset, there are more consequences. You can’t believe the consequences! Those were things I didn’t understand when I started administration. It is fascinating.
Administration is a process of self discovery. That is how I want to sum up this second section. You will learn more about yourself, your strengths and your failings by being an administrator than not (an administrator). Why will you learn more about (yourself)? Because people will tell you. They will be very quick to tell you your faults. At home you have one mirror. Being an administrator it is (as if) there are twenty or thirty mirrors that people hold up to you. See that, and that, and you did this… That is the life of an administrator. I will tell you it is fascinating. It is wonderful. I have learned so much myself. I have grown in ways that I would have never grown. I hope that everyone of you here has the opportunity to be an administrator, to grow. That self discovery and self growth make it worth everything.
Part 4 Concluding CommentsLet's go now to part 3 here and let's talk a little bit about the types of careers and opportunities and different things.
I did put
handout for you. I want to first start by highlighting a book. This is
"Beyond Talent" by Angela Myles Beeching. I think everyone of you
here should purchase this book. It is printed by Oxford University
Press. I think the
paperback edition is about $17
dollars. It is not very expensive.
Comment: You can find it online for about $5 (used).
TBE: That's a real bargain. It is 344 pages. (The sub title) is creating a successful career in music, but there is a lot of (material) here that would (apply) to dance, theatre, etc. Just to (summarize) some of the chapters:
-Mapping success in music, what does it take?
-10 Principles for success--that would work for dance
-Making connections, schmoozing for success
-Building your image, creating promotional materials that work
-Expanding your impact (demos, CDs, etc.)
-Online promotion, using the Internet
-Booking performances like a pro
-Building your reputation
-Connecting with audiences
-Performing at your best
-Freelance style, managing gigs
-Raising money for projects
-Getting together your career package
And it does (present) arts administration opportunities. This is an excellent book--well written--and I think that you really would enjoy it.
So let me read from this a little bit, page 306-307. (Here are) some of the types of careers that are available in arts administration:
-performing groups: symphony orchestras, opera companies, ballet companies, choruses, etc.
-presenting organizations, many organizations present certain concerts a year.
organizations: ascap, bmi,
There must (also) be ballet groups and theatre groups. Various art organizations.
-foundations. These are organizations that raise money and then dispence money.
-private and corporate foundations
-arts education institutions
-community music programs, community dance
-college music departments
-arts research consulting organizations
-music publishing companies
-radio and television
So you can see that there is a slew of things. Many of these organizations have entry positions where you can (serve) part time. With many of these organizations there are internship possibilities. Where you work and train. They don't necessarily pay you. Sometimes in school programs you have internship possibilities. Holly, did you do an internship as part of your business degree?
(Here are) ways in which you can prepare to be in arts administration. I mentioned (earlier) that you are all already arts administrators to some degree. In that you have to manage your budget, book (schedule) things, you have to manage your own time and things like that. To a large degree those skills you develop as a person are then expanded upon. So if you are managing one person's time--yours--and let's say that you form a trio.
Well now you are managing three people's time and you are booking for a trio.
You see you go step by step. In fact this is the principle of the mustard seed, which grows slowly (as an example of faith). We saw that principle in Joseph's life where he (managed) smaller things first and then moved on to bigger things. Part of it is gaining these skills little by little.
You may be asking yourself, are people looking to you to organize things. When I look back upon my life I would answer yes. I was organizing things. I did this and that and I liked it. I liked taking chaos and making less confusion and making something good out of it. I imagine since you were attracted to this (lecture) you are probably doing some of that in your life as well. So you could begin to look for those opportunities.
ways in which
you could enhance your skills. Take on new assignments.
Take the opportunity to
learn more software. That might be good. Take the opportunity to learn
and finance. That would be great. Do you have the opportunity to write
a grant or be
a co-writer of a grant? All of those things are skills thatcan be
helpful in any
More and more now there is an importance to raising funds. This seems to be essential. I have watched my job as an administrator over 11 years (change). When I first became a chairperson there was hardly every a discussion of me (personally) raising funds. Now I am at a point where the dean (discusses that with me). Are you writing grants, are you encouraging your faculty to write grants? We are having to look for money from all different sources: endowments, donors, all of that. So any experience you have in that area is something that the arts organizations are (going to be attracted to).
Marketing, publicity, and those sorts of things. Keep an eye out for how people market themselves. What are the things that look good and caught your eye in print or on the web? I think frankly the (World Wide) Web is going to continue to burgeon as a means of marketing. Having a great website is essential for any arts organization. What can you do to increase your abilities?
I think that one of the central things that arts organizations are looking for is not only this range of skills but also your understanding of at least one of the arts (disciplines). Do you know the language? Can you speak to artists in your area? That is really important. Do you understand the mind set of artists? Do you understand the aspirations and motivations of those artists?
That is why it doesn’t work well to take someone from the business world and “plop them down” to administrate arts. Sure they may have the budget models and knowledge of marketing, but if they don’t understand the aspirations of those who are working for them, and the whole reason behind what they are doing in the arts, then there is this big disconnect. Can you imaging having a board meeting with some dances and (the new executive) saying, “”I have never been to a ballet all my life, I wonder what it is like?” Would you be impressed with that administrator? Or if the administrator stated, “I wonder how many symphonies Beethoven wrote?” or “I think I like Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ but, I can’t remember ever being (to a concert) of a Beethoven symphony. You would begin to wonder, “Do they understand what we are trying to do?”
Then could they talk to patrons in an intelligent manner? What you are doing by mastering one of the artistic areas is very important. If you are a musician, then maybe you should take an interest in sculpture. If you are a dance, learn more about music. Stretch beyond your art and try to learn some of the vocabulary (of other arts). How does your art relate to someone else’s art? That is fascinating.
Just take the Romantic period. Think about what was happening in dance, painting, music at the time. How do they interrelate? Understanding that relationship can (enable) you to make more intelligent presentations to patrons, to talk at receptions, etc.
Part 5 Concluding Comments
Learn to speak in public. There are many times in which you will (need to) express yourselves and putting forth words. An administrator is going to have to communicate. You will need to communicate in writing. Can you write intelligently; can you write convincingly? Can you write a nice letter; can you write a congratulatory letter? Can you communicate well over the phone? Can you talk to people one on one? Then can you address a larger group? All of those skills (are necessary) for administrators. Often you are called upon at a moment’s notice (to use them).
That wraps up what I had (prepared) for you this evening so we are open for questions. Is there anything I missed? Do you have some suggestions?
Let me “prime the pump.” I have a question for you. In the next five or six months what are each of you going to do to prepare to be administrators?
Reply: I think one of the most interesting things that you have been talking about is that it is not so much “rocket science” but that you need to develop yourself as a person and a artist and be very well rounded and capable of dealing with lots of different people and different areas. While I am not sure I want to be in a formal administrative position I still want to prepare myself by developing as a musician.
TBE: I think that is exactly right. The person is absolutely important: character, quality of witness.
It is amazing (to think) that the people you are with right now could end up being the connection to your next career. The people and the friendships you have here and the way you interact with them now could make a difference ten years from now. Absolutely. Those become your connections. Those become your friends. They become your support group; your wealth of information. So you are right. You are preparing now by being a good steward of your time, trying to grow as a person, trying to be honest with others, and trying to live a life for Christ. Absolutely.
Reply: I liked your comment about how you are an administrator…and learning about who you are. I found that out when I was working here in the offices. I have learned so much about myself. (For example,) my attitude is not very good towards this person. Why don’t I like dealing with that person? What is it about them? And then your (comments) about connections. When I was in school…there was this one person I really couldn’t get along with. But then I realized that she was really amazing at her job. I had better not burn any bridges with her because later down the road I might need that connection. Having good people skills is something I have to learn to value.
close by going through (the handout). So for the next six months I have
reading list here. This is number 1 (Angela Beeching, “Beyond
Talent”). This is
a classic: Peter Drucker,
loved this book. I liked the way he looked at problems and solutions. I
developed my motto for administration from this book. This is quoting
an effective executive is the one who gets the right things done. That
my goal always to get the right things done. Both right in terms of
efficacious and efficient but also right morally. As I have worked
this), getting the right thing done doesn’t mean that I do
them all—I can
delegate things—but the end result (is what determines an
Joseph didn’t have a good end result in his first
(administration) but in his
last (administration) he did. Thinking through the consequences and
what I want
as an end result (leads to) working through stages (to accomplish the
end). This (book) is a classic. It has been around for decades.
Then John C. Maxwell, “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.” This is a great book on leadership. John Maxwell makes the point that you can see leadership in its purest form in charity organizations or volunteer groups. The reason is that in charity organizations or volunteer groups you are leading people who do not need to be there. They are not required to be there for a salary; they are not required to be there because of a military structure. To be effective in that (a volunteer) environment means that you can be effective in other environments.
Thank you all for coming. I really appreciate your attentiveness. God bless you.