Vasanth Subramaniam – art manager and the branch head of evam, Bangalore. He also dabbles in lighting design and execution, sound execution and writing short plays.
Take a culturally thriving city like Bangalore and consider the field of Theatre.
No. of Artists ~ 500
No. of Audiences ~ 5000
The need of the hour is to get more and more audiences to try out Theatre and other forms of Art. Currently, most of the artists try to manage their own creation or there are too few managers handling too many creations.
Artists are just that. They need to spend their time building their skill, learning to push boundaries, meeting international standards and continually thriving to express. If they spend half their time focusing on how to market and execute their creation, neither the art nor the management of it gets their due attention. I feel this is one of the biggest reasons why especially Indian artists are lagging behind International standards, when it comes to finesse and innovation.
Art Managers invest time, effort and mind space in reaching the Artist’s creation to as many relevant audiences as possible. They plan what content to showcase in which market, budget for it, promote it, execute, liaise with all parties involved and close the project with learnings for improvement. Producer, Executive Producer, Stage Manager, Marketing Manager, Crowd Manager, Venue Manager, Accounts Manager, Box Office Manager, etc. are some of the roles that Art Managers take up. They specialize in all of this and make a living out of it.
To throw some perspective, evam took the play ‘Ali J’ to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (the largest theatre festival in the world) in 2013. We showcased it in association with an independent award-winning presenter (read: Art Manager) named Richard Jordan. We were one of the 5 international productions that he presented at the festival that year. His expertise and contacts were instrumental in the play finding the perfect venue partner and getting the amount of visibility and critical acclaim that it managed. Working with him truly opened my eyes to the potential of an Art Manager and it was a huge learning experience for all of us.
In my opinion, Artists working with Art Managers is the most logical and efficient way for: Artists to grow, Audiences to grow and the Arts to grow.
PS: In many cases, Art Managers make more money than artists, because unlike an artist, the Art Manager can manage various artists and various forms of Art, and all it needs is common sense and sheer dedication :)