As emerging arts leaders we are all looking for our dream job. Some of us are in school for arts management, others of us have jobs but wish to transition into the arts management field. So how do we do it? I do not have a special formula as to how to land your dream job in the arts, but there is one thing that I believe can help; that is volunteering. Now I know you must be thinking, “Why would I volunteer, I need a job that pays!” Although this is true, volunteering is a great way to meet people in the arts management field as well as gain valuable experience.

Volunteering in the arts can be done many ways. One example is participating in an internship program. Internships, although often unpaid, are a great way to gain skills, experience and contacts that will benefit you as you continue to look for a job. If you cannot intern you can still volunteer. Reach out to your favorite arts organization and ask how you can help. Many non-profits would be delighted to have the help of an emerging arts leader. The main thing to keep in mind is that volunteering is not a waste of time and anyone can do it!

Personally, volunteering for arts organizations has been a great experience for me. One of the greatest experiences I had volunteering was when I helped at the NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony and Concert. I volunteered as an artist assistant, helping jazz masters navigate throughout the weekend. The experience was great and I made some amazing contacts. Through that experience, I was able to intern at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and from there the National Endowment for the Arts, and now the Kennedy Center. So you see, you never know how volunteering can impact your life. Not only was I able to give my time to an organization I am passionate about, but I was also able to make personal growth. What are some volunteer opportunities you have grown from?