Yesterday I noticed an interesting question from American Theatre Magazine:
Is administration an art?
I'm an administrator so, I will speak for myself. 60% of what I do, as a director of marketing for a fairly large theatre, isn't art.
It's sending emails, it's reading emails, it's having meetings, it's making sure that all of the tiny logistical things involved with marketing a play happen.
But let's be honest, anybody could do those things. You could farm that part of my job out to someone overseas and get comparable results.
I define my work (and my value) by how I handle the non-routine stuff, the difficult stuff:
The hard conversations.
The moments when the marketing strategy is very tricky, or when the plan falls apart entirely.
The moments when I'm pushing myself, or my team, to do something different or stretch our skill boundaries.
If I'm not doing that, then I'm pretty much worthless . . . or at least easily replaceable with a cheaper version.
But here's the trick, none of that stuff, none of the really important stuff . . . is listed in my job description.
My job description says administrator, I had to decide to make it art.
I think that's every administrators choice.
Once the paper pushing and the emailing is done, when does the art begin? The art of pushing limits. The art of connecting dots. The art of making something new happen. That's the job. That's where the value is.
So is administration an art? Nope. Art is art. The question is whether administrators are willing to put the art into the job.