THE IDEA

Toward the beginning of March, 2001 I was having a drink with some colleagues when our group was approached by a fresh out of college arts admin major looking for gainful employment within the orchestra administration field. He started complaining about how difficult it was to look for a job online.

“It sucks!,” he said in a dejected tone of voice. “Most of the sites want to charge job seekers or job posters – or both – for the privilege of looking for work”…

I felt bad for this guy as he didn’t have much money to be spending on something like pricey memberships just to look for a job. Granted, at that point in time, it had been a very, very long time since I’ve bothered to look at the League of American Orchestra’s career’s board, AFTA Jobs Bank, or any of the other arts field related jobs boards but I recall not liking them very much. On one hand, the populist side of me bristles against charging job seekers for the “privilege” of access while my capitalist side gets a cold shiver at charging cash strapped orchestras for posting employment opportunities.

 

THE GOAL

Fortunately, I was in a position to do something about this. Thanks to a giant hosting account I’m already paying for anyway and a boat load of web development and design experience, I was well suited to put together a jobs board for the arts and culture sector. It needed to be mobile first, fast, and reliable platform with an intuitive interface.

Respecting employer time was paramount; no one has time to create an account, wait for a verification email, hope nothing goes awry with that process, then go about the process of posting a listing. As such, the job submission wizard allows users to create an account at the end of the submission process or in advance; the choice is yours.

The site also needed to provide the sort of features arts managers want to stay on top of new listings and make searching and applying quick and easy.

THE RESULT

The entire development project wrapped up in the space of three days and beta testing took another four. From there, we made sure there were at least a half dozen or so job postings on file and the site was born. The site motto is unlimited access, free to post, free to browse, and free to apply. No tricks, no fine print, no nonsense.

Isn’t it about time someone did this?

EVOLUTION

Arts Admin Jobs was originally launched in 2011 as Adaptistration Jobs and was managed as part of the Adaptistration Network. Since its launch, the site has steadily grown in the number of listings and traffic and in August, 2017 it migrated to its own branded identity. Thus ArtsAdminJobs.com was born!

The site is still owned and operated by Drew McManus LLC but now features its own domain, independent hosting account, and vastly improved automation for both employers and job seekers.


WHO’S BEHIND ARTS ADMIN JOBS?

“I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired.”

Those were the first words out of an executive’s mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals “aggressively embracing career change” but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn’t matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can’t keep your own clients out of the ground, and I’m fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I’ve done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

Drew McManus Photo Todd Rosenberg

Arts Consultant and the man behind Arts Admin Jobs, Drew McManus. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

If you enjoy the site, think about leaving a donation to Drew’s coffee fund.