The shortage of funds available to the arts may appear to be the primary cause of many of their organisational difficulties. However, further inspection reveals the lack of sound management as a more fundamental problem. In an increasingly competitive environment it will be the best managed organisations that are the most likely to obtain the public funds needed for survival.
This study explores the management practices and problems within the not-for-profit arts industry and develops guidelines for overcoming some of the inherent difficulties. The underlying aim of the guidelines is to achieve effective management of public funds and increase community participation in the arts. In the report, reference is made to the few but growing number of articles in the literature concerned with arts management. Issues emerging from the literature were discussed with managers of local arts organisations and summarised.
The approach adopted was to study the external and internal environments within which the arts manager must operate, for only then can the special managerial problems facing the arts manager be isolated and addressed. The areas found to present the most difficulties for management included selection of the board, marketing and financial management.
It is concluded that although there are some differences between arts organisations and other enterprises, arts organisations need to adopt essentially the same management practices, and procedures which are common to any successful organisation. However, at this point in time arts organisations will need to undergo significant changes before these practices can be successfully implemented. These changes should include management training, definition of the roles of the artistic and administration directors, development of the marketing function and improved financial reporting.