Art & The Art Manager

RabhinderRabhinder Kannan shares his experience of being an Art Manager.

Rabhi is a Project Manager with Evam. He is passionate about writing and draws inspiration from everyday life. He recently saw Birdman.


I left my previous job, a corporate-y setup, last year to join Evam as a project manager.
No, this is not a bitching session about the corporate world. I liked it for the most part in fact. It was disciplined, comforting, I made some great friends and the long con-calls really taught me the art of digression. For instance, last Diwali…

Anyhoo. The first major project we managed after I joined was “Laugh OK Please” — A stand-up festival that happened at Phoenix Market City, Chennai. A 3 day stand-up festival with artists from all over India coming to perform – easily the biggest live comedy festival Chennai had seen. It was three hectic weeks of preparation, with non-stop work. And when the show day finally came, we were all super psyched.

I was and am excited about being in the space of art and art management. As a wannabe writer (I have 3 underdeveloped script ideas and a wealth of lethargy to my credit) and a person who has spent time searching for art around me, I was extremely curious about how being an art manager would affect my art. As I finally watch the show after all the hard work by the team — will I feel the same redemption from the show as the artist does? Will I feel a gush of gratitude and love for the live arts when I see a packed house? And dishearteningly, as I stood there watching the show unfold and running successfully, none of this happened. The laughter and joy of the audience and the high of having pulled off a show didn’t hit me at all. Was I glad the show was going well? Of course I was! Did I feel part of the arts? Well, not really. I was only wondering about what will happen after the show, if we will fill house the next day and how we can better things next time. The high of feeling wowed and having an audience support and encourage artists — I could see that it was happened, but it triggered nothing in the writer or person seeking art in me.

The thoughts eventually left me. I went back to my everyday life. A week after the festival got over, I went to see Birdman. After the longest time, I fully disconnected with the world, didn’t see my phone even once during the movie and managed to completely immerse myself. A few days later, I suddenly managed to rub the dust off few writing assignments I’d abandoned and wrote two better drafts. Being in the art management space didn’t give me the instant artistic redemption or having high of watching audience fill in. It gave me something much more precious. It left me hungry for more.

About EVAM

Founded in 2003 by Sunil Vishnu K. and Karthik Kumar, ‘evam’ today is a profitable young thriving arts organization making people believe in the power of the Arts.
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