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Workshop Teaches Students Best Practices for Pursuing Arts Admin Jobs

By Leslie Zhu

What is Arts Administration? How do you get into arts administration? MSLCE students attended the “How to get hired into Arts Admin” workshop at Norris Center on Jan. 25 to hear answers to these questions.

The workshop included two guests: Lynne Sorkin, HR director at Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), and Erica Denner, HR Assistant Director at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA). They walked students through the hiring procedure of Arts Admin.

Arts Administrators, also known as arts managers, are the professionals working behind the scenes to operate the business side of an arts or cultural organization, which is a promising career prospect for MSLCE students. To get a job or an internship in Arts Admin, you need to prepare yourself for all the application routines and hiring cycles.

There were plenty of detailed questions about resumes and cover letters asked by the students who are passionate to enter this industry: Should I have a creative resume since I am applying for an art-related job? Do I need to put on my GPA? If I do not have enough experience, will high-school experience count? How to be courteous in writing? Should I start with “Hello” or “Dear”?

The answers from two HR directors and the skills they offered were similar to what you might learn from a career coaching lesson. What they emphasized was that, when applying for an arts admin position, a candidate should trace back to their real interest and love, and think thoroughly of their reason for wanting this job. Then they will naturally come up with why they are the best candidate for this position. This is what we called “tailoring”. If you pay attention to details and all the materials are arranged in a professional manner, tailoring the content for an organization, a job, or an internship will make you outshine other candidates.

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