Arts organizations come in all shapes and sizes, but have one important thing in common: the art. Whether it’s a painter looking to sell her artwork, or a local symphony orchestra bringing music to the community, the goal of each arts administrator is to fill the world with art.

However, the perception of an artist is often at odds with someone who can run a successful enterprise. Often, a singer/songwriter wants to focus on their craft and not on budgets and marketing; a theater director wants to put on the next great, provocative work, without worrying about payroll and financial stability.

ARTSTITUTION is about the collision of creativity and capitalism. We explore the various career & entrepreneurial opportunities, best practices, and issues surrounding the building of arts organizations. We all want to create great art. All of us want to put our work out into the world for large audiences to enjoy. But not all of us have a knack for the business side of things, or think of our art as a business.

From freelancer to Chief Financial Officer, Artstitution tells the story of the hardworking, dedicated individuals who put the effort into making the arts happen in our communities. We’re about showing the connection between the power of story on the stage and the power of story in marketing. Or between the beauty of a newly carved canoe from a local craftsman and the business plan that helps that craftsman build a living. Art is found in both.

While at UNC Greensboro in the music department, I heard the cliched story from my friends and colleagues of the doubtful looks they would get from people when they said they were getting a degree in music. It’s an unfortunate fact that while most everybody enjoys and appreciates the arts, they don’t associate them with a viable career path. They don’t see the practicality in it, and sometimes encourage those wishing to pursue a career in the arts to have a back-up plan.

There’s no need for a back-up. There’s a world of possibility in arts careers. Artists and creative people are some of the most entrepreneurial, dedicated, intelligent, and adaptable people in the workforce today, and the arts benefit from that. Our souls are driven by passion, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to bring success for our work.

It’s that passion that gives rise to ARTSTITUTION. We envision a place where the arts community comes together to lend ideas and support one another in pursuits of creative work. Where we can hear, firsthand, the stories of people who’ve tried an idea, learn from their successes or failures, and take pieces of wisdom from them to advance our field. Where we can share the data and research behind what makes arts organizations tick. Where we can share our triumphs and have a sympathetic ear when we struggle. And to ultimately get to know the community around us, even if we do not share physical spaces.

We’ll share stories about art and artists, yes, but more about what it takes behind the curtain to get that actor up on stage—the planning, the fundraising, the phone calls, the late nights, the casting calls and callbacks, the marketing, the emergencies, and everything in between. This is the world of arts administration, and the world of Artstitution.

Our first interview project, a podcast series, will be premiering this fall. We hope you’ll tune in.

Welcome to Artstitution.

Thomas Breeden
Founding Director