Artistic Direction and General Management

Cultural institutions or events, such as theaters, operas, broadcasting companies, orchestras, festivals and others, employ general managers or general directors. Depending on the size of the institution, their tasks range from the management of individual departments to bearing the overall responsibility for the institution’s operations. They often take on a variety of tasks from content-related artistic activities such as the program planning or directing to conventional management tasks such as personnel management or press and public relations.
General managers in the arts are responsible for the selection, recruitment and coordination of artistic staff and ensure that the artistic concept or programming is realized with due regard for the available resources. They are the representatives of their institution or festival to the public and work closely with individual departments and committees such as directors, production managers, programming departments, directors, dramaturgs, etc. Overall, they are responsible for the organizational management.
Most general managers must be able to demonstrate many years of practical experience in the cultural sector, meaning that they usually start out with related activities, e.g. as assistant director, assistant to the general manager, dramaturge or in production.

Unlike general management, artistic direction is not concerned with the overall organization of the institution or event, but specifically with the responsibility for the artistic concept, i.e. the artistic design, composition and coordination of the program. Individual tasks are, depending on the field, the supervision and selection of works, collections, movies, etc. as well as the coordination of the artists in the context of their interaction. Since artistic direction can be limited to individual artistic fields, depending on the industry, genre and field of activity, it includes such diverse professions as director, conductor, choreographer, art director, game developer, etc.
Depending on the size of the institution, artistic and organizational direction may also be combined into a single position.

Martin Schüler

Martin Schüler

is the General Manager of the State Theater in Cottbus and explains why culture jobs are not necessarily unprofitable. Jenny Krüger

Foto von Jenny Krüger

Jenny Krüger

Managing Partner of the Filmplus-Festival for the art of film editing and montage

Typical tasks

Possible places of employment

Sources and further information on the profession