Creating Opportunities for People of Color in Performing Arts Management
According to a 1996 study, 165,000 people in the were employed by nonprofit cultural and arts organizations. In that same year, another study, conducted by the Independent Sector, indicated that only 8.8% of the arts and culture work force, including managers, were black, and 6.5% were of Hispanic origin. Based on this data, one can conclude that the arts and culture industry is predominantly comprised of whites.
This article asks:
If nonprofit performing arts organizations and the artists they represent are legally, socially, and morally bound to serve the public as a whole, what implications should such service have for the recruiting and staffing of their managerial personnel?
To what extent are the recruiting strategies of nonprofit performing arts organizations centered on their public missions of being public for all?
What would account for the low levels of minority managers in the arts?
This article addresses the lack of racial diversity within the large proportion of organizations that have historically recruited white managers and served white audiences.
The author finds several explanations that may account for the small numbers of minority managers who enter the nonprofit field. These include:
stereotyping within the recruitment and selection processes;
use of credentialing and information bias within the recruitment and selection process;
lack of networks and mentors; and
insufficient diversity within graduate programs in nonprofit management which feed the field with employees.
Suggestions are given for change toward a greater inclusivity in the field of performing arts management.