The Suburban, Montreal

March 27th, 2013

From inspiration to creation, making art is far removed from conducting business. But when it comes to making a living from making art, business know-how becomes just as important as aesthetic intuition and artistic creation.

With federal arts budgets and external funding for the arts being slashed worldwide, artists are increasingly required to perform double duty, acting as both cultural interpreters and salespeople. Few are the individuals, however, who naturally boast both skillsets. That can be remedied with the help of a new book by Lidia Varbanova, assistant professor of management at Concordia University’s  John Molson School of Business, which provides a roadmap for artists and arts organizations struggling to thrive.

Strategic Management in the Arts, just published by Routledge, provides a comprehensive overview of the management strategies and tools needed by organizations in the art and culture sector. Varbanova looks at the unique characteristics of these organizations in order to show readers how to tailor a strategic plan to help them meet their long-term objectives.

“Strategic management is an essential element that drives an organization’s success, yet many cultural organizations have yet to apply strategic thinking and entrepreneurial actions within the management functions,” she explains. The book is aimed at university professors, instructors, lecturers and students in strategy, cultural administration and arts management programs worldwide. Notes Varbanova, “this is also a useful reading for arts managers, cultural administrators, arts entrepreneurs, board members, project leaders and business managers in the arts who need step-by-step guidance in the process of strategic management and a fresh approach in elaboration of a strategic plan.”

In order to produce Strategic Management in the Arts, Varbanova undertook the review and analysis of over 350 theoretical resources and selected 16 case studies in countries around the world, including Canada. “The qualitative research forms the backbone of the book’s findings and is based on a series of questionnaires and interviews with 90 arts managers, experts, scholars and cultural professionals from Europe, Canada and Asia,” she explains. “These cases and examples illustrate the complexity of managing diverse arts organizations strategically by applying elements of innovation and organizational entrepreneurship, or what is called intrapreneurship.”

Varbanova thinks that artists especially will benefit from reading Strategic Management in the Arts. “This book will help artists shift their minds from creative processes to the pragmatic language of management, marketing and economics. That way, they can learn how to run their organizations and projects efficiently and sustainable in the long term, keeping in mind the importance of money and markets in the field of the arts today.”

You can buy the book from or other online book shops: just browse and find the best option!


The Suburban was founded on March 1, 1963 in Sophie Wollock’s basement on Davies Avenue in Côte St. Luc. Wollock vowed that the paper would be uncompromising in reporting the news and getting the truth out to the public. The Suburban has won numerous Quebec, Canada-wide and international awards for its top-notch editorials, news coverage, sports reporting, photography, opinions, community activism, feature stories and editorial cartooning. Today, The Suburban has a print circulation of 145,000 copies and is the largest English-language weekly in Quebec.


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