Skip to main content


The Art(ist) Administrator

Written by: Dontae T. Muse

The Art(ist) Administrator

Written by Dontae T. Muse


An artist is described as a person engaged in activities related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating art. If an artist only engages in activities that create the art, what happens after the art is created? How is the art itself engaged once produced?

Arts administrators facilitate the daily operations of their organizations while striving to achieve that organization’s vision, mission, and mandate. What if the organization or business is you/your’s? What if you are both an artist and an art administrator? Are you leaving yourself enough time to create? Who is taking care of the administration side for you that you usually take care of for others?

Most art administrators became so because they love the arts. A large portion of these art lovers also happens to love creating the art too. In the case of audio art, also referred to as music, an artist representing themselves is taken less seriously compared to an artist who has management. Most people think that they have talent so your opinion of yourself doesn’t count. If someone else co-signs that opinion to the point where they are willing to invest their own resources into an artist, then, the perception is that there might be something there.

So, if you are both an artist and an art administrator, how do you balance the two while increasing reputation and resources while retaining integrity and professionalism in both? That’s a good question, thanks for asking.

My proposed solution might be easier for some than others. If you have just embarked on your career at either end then you are in a better position. It is easier to establish yourself than it is to reestablish yourself. If you are just beginning then be sure to have as equal output on both ends as possible. Even if you are too tired from your art administration job during the week to create make sure you make time to create on the weekends. Self-promote your creations so that all who meet you will be aware that you are on both sides of the coin. Even if you simply make videos or take pictures of your creative process you will be acknowledged as a creative.

For those who are looking to reintroduce themselves and their creative sides after being known in the field but not known for creating, you have additional steps. Not only do you have the same continuous homework assignment of consistently creating but I would recommend that you also solicit your peers for help. If I have a peer in arts administration that can include my art in their planning it then appears to their audience that I am an artist. Do not be afraid to seek assistance from friends. After all, what are friends for? If I were only to do it myself it might be considered tacky.

About the Author:

Dontae T. Muse is the co-owner of Above Art Studios located in New Brunswick, NJ, and the best-selling author of “Tripping Over Canvases: How To Open Your Own Art Gallery With No Prior Experience”.  The gallery has won many awards including “Best In Art” 2019 from New Jersey Black Businesses and boasts that some of the best visual artists locally, nationally, and internationally have graced the walls of the gallery.

Dontae’s remarkable contribution to the Art community has allowed him to gain wisdom from the lens of both the creator and the business owner. In his second full-length publication, “Tripping Over Canvases: How To Become A Successful Artrepreneur” Dontae maps out how you can do it too.

About Vital Voices & Vision

This blog series is intended to be a platform for members of the New Jersey Arts and Culture Administrators of Color network to share their creativity, expertise, and thoughts. Are you a network member and would like to contribute to this series?

Please email Summer Dawn Reyes, Administrative Coordinator , at