Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Publication Title

American Journal of Arts Management


Organizational Communication


Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business


The road toward arts administration often begins with art practice. This can be problematic, as artists are educated and trained to be practitioners of their art form. Experience and education in the requisite administrative skills is too often learned on the job, as one is thrust into a new role with entirely new and separate responsibilities and different priorities. This disparity can lead to confused priorities, disorganization, and lack of professionalization of administrative services. Beginning with an examination of classical pragmatism and its historic emphasis on plurality, coherence and integration, moving into the contemporary applications of pragmatism as a mediating philosophy capable of navigating the tensions that exist within the fields of public administration, I hope to inform current and future arts administration practice with regard to the training of practitioners recast as administrators. We balance tensions between artist and administrator both individually and organizationally and this paper proposes that Pragmatism is an effective and useful philosophy for maneuvering that space of difference. This paper takes an epistemological approach to examine the current condition and then calls for further research and program development for the training arts administrators.


This is a peer-reviewed article published by American Journal of Arts Management (



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