ISSUE 5 | VOLUME 7 | January 2016    

Art Career News – January 2016


Here are some of the trends we anticipate that will affect employment in the Arts and Culture sector for 2016.

Leadership Changes. As "Boomers" retire in large numbers this year (Forbes estimates more than 3.5 million), arts & culture organizations need to plan for the changes that will occur as Millennials become managers and Generation Z (those born beginning 1994) enter the workforce. In addition to providing leadership and management training and opportunities to learn and exercise new skills, arts organizations will have to adapt to the needs and aspirations of these groups — regular feedback; peer decision making; greater flexibility and work-life balance.

Continual Rise of the Artist Liaison Position. As galleries grow more concerned with guiding the overall narrative and "brand" of their artists' careers and commissions grow more complex, the role of the artist liaison as distinct from a sales director or gallery manager has come to the fore. Arts professionals who can support and understand the studio process, as well as being savvy and astute enough to engage with clients and recognize a sales opportunity, are becoming key employees. A blend of skills - from time and project management to relationship building and negotiation - are necessary in order to keep artists' schedules on track, and to meet artist, gallery and client expectations.

Growth of the New Private Museum. With major collectors looking to shore up their individual legacies, the name above a wing or room has been joined by a number of entirely new museum buildings, each with the full roster of required staff and support. As The Broad Museum in Los Angeles and Damien Hurst's Newport Street Gallery in London open to mixed public and critical response, the private collection turned public amenity remains a major feature of the global cultural landscape. Art workers at these institutions have a dual role - balancing the needs of the audience with the wishes and demands of the still-living founder and collector.

Celebrities as active on-the-floor participants. A trend as criticized as it is embraced, 2015 may have been the year when the celebrity participant reached a flash-point in both popular and critical perceptions of arts & culture. Actors, musicians, fashion models and other glitterati launched galleries, debuted shows of their work, presented artists' awards (and accepted them) and were fixtures at art fairs and museum galas alike. Although much of this cross-over has met with little critical success, in the immediate future arts & culture employees may be expected to have an even broader range of general knowledge regarding media, performance arts and fashion as the movers and shakers in those spheres continue to make their presence known.

Work-Life Balance: Recognizing the increased demands in the workplace, some arts and culture groups are addressing work/life balance issues and attempting to be more respectful of employees and to eliminate "bad" behavior. Efforts include health and wellness programs and workshops on how to manage stress, acknowledging the tensions in the environment in which employees work. The next generations of workers will walk away from screamers and habitual abusers and seek employment in more positive environments.

As a professional at an arts and culture institution seeking to hire staff or improve the overall organizational structure of your organization, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for an initial consultation.

As a candidate, let us help you navigate these trends and help you identify and find your ideal position.

Contact us at 212-779-7059, or visit our website at for more information on our firm and services.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Geri Thomas, President

David V. Griffin, Senior Associate

About Thomas & Associates, Inc. /
Celebrating our 10th Anniversary serving the global arts community, Thomas & Associates, Inc. is an innovative firm with offices in New York City that offers staffing, consulting, career services and training programs for museums, non-profit organizations, and arts and culture businesses nationwide. In addition to permanent placement and executive search, Thomas & Associates also provides temporary and interim personnel at all levels and has recently launched its career advisory division and outplacement services to address the needs of arts and culture professionals everywhere.

Please contact us at 212-779-7059, or visit our website at for more information on our firm and our services.
We look forward to hearing from you!

Thomas & Associates, Inc. | 40 West 37th Street - Penthouse A, New York, NY 10018
Phone 212.779.7059 | email