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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Arts Administration & Policy Research Guide

Banner with image of two people looking at colorful art on the walls of a white gallery with a purple rhombus overlaid. White text over that reads: "How to Make a Living and a Life in the Arts, Resources for Labor, Unions, Money, and More!"

About this Resource Guide

Arts Administration embraces interdisciplinary thought and practice and is made of many interwoven and uneven layers. Arts workers and creatives can be found in a variety of places: museums, artist residencies, theaters, galleries, think tanks, festivals, higher education, publishing (to name a few) and perform a variety of work: marketing, management, programming, fundraising, policy, research, curation, and consulting, while often maintaining a creative practice. Knowing what resources are available for managing a career path in this non-linear and decentralized field can be daunting. This document aims to provide some guidance.

This virtual resource guide was curated by Arts Administration and Policy graduate students Alex Botts, Heather Burich, Elise Butterfield, Meghan McCray, Emily Nagel, Marin Williams, and You Wu, with support from Josh Rios and Flaxman Librarians. It is a non-exhaustive list to help folks learn, explore, promote connection, and broaden our understanding of ecologies of art worlds. Are there resources you would like to see included? We welcome you to email to suggest additions.

Last Updated 5/20/2021.


  1. Labor within the Arts Administration Industry
    1. Job Boards
    2. Freelancing
    3. Unions/Unionizing
    4. Financial Management
    5. Wage Transparency
    6. Demographics
  2. Publishing
    1. Understanding Peer-Review + Finding Journals
    2. Call for Papers
  3. Grant and Fellowship Opportunities
  4. Membership-Based Orgs/Newsletters
  5. Mental Health at Work

I. Labor within the Arts Administration Industry

Labor is an inherent aspect of industry. This section offers texts that discuss its implications, consequences, and management within the arts sector to help administrators and creatives as they navigate the workforce. 

Job Boards

An abridged list of online job boards that actively share open positions in Chicago and across the nation. 


Many arts administrators and creatives find that freelancing is essential at some point in their career. In this section, we’ve brought together links to support freelancers to establish a clear budget plan, develop tools for working with clients, and understand the unique needs and possibilities for creative freelancers.


Forming, or attempting to form, a union in the workplace can be a daunting task. Below are resources to help in the understanding of contemporary unions and how they can benefit workers within the arts industry. 

Financial Management

Fiscal knowledge is an undeniable asset to every arts worker. The resources in this section correspond with establishing and nurturing the financial health of individuals and their organizations.

Wage Transparency

This section focuses on wages in the arts sector for all types of workers. It is made up of a combination of statistics and analyses, commentary on the topic of wages in the arts, and tools to discover pay trends for your particular place of work or sector of employment. 


A critical aspect of the arts industry is dismantling and restructuring institutions to be more equitable and opportune for BIPOC administrators and creatives. Every emergent and established worker can contribute to this mission by educating themselves and taking action against unjust practices that have historically harmed people of color working within the sector. 

II. Publishing

Publishing academic work and personal projects is a way to share knowledge and engage with other emerging and established professionals with similar interests. Knowing how to publish work and opportunities for doing opens up networks for administrators.

Understanding Peer-Review + Finding Journals

Calls for Papers

III. Grant and Fellowship Opportunities

This section pertains to grants, fellowships, and funding opportunities for arts workers.

IV. Membership-Based Organizations / Newsletters

Newsletters and memberships to local and national organizations is a great way to stay connected with current events, calls to action, and valuable information within the sector. 

V. Mental Health at Work

Many organizations fall short when it comes to employee wellness. Knowing how to evaluate and maintain your own mental health is imperative to a robust, well-rounded life.