How many CCC employees does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Two. One to get up on the ladder to change it and the other to take a picture on her cell phone. That’s exactly what happened in the office this afternoon. Shayna (our grant writer) took a picture of me taking down the light fixture above my desk to change the bulb. I suppose it’s probably because I don’t really seem like the type to be hauling around ladders and fixing things (to be fair to Shayna, I was wearing a skirt) but it’s one of the many facets of this job.
The longer I spend working here, the more I get to thinking that jobs in the arts are hard for people to wrap their heads around. Friends, family and patrons ask me all the time what exactly it is I do all day and the answer is anything and everything. In an average work day I can do anything from going shopping for beer, pretzels and office supplies (yes, we need all those things to operate successfully)to washing dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, taking potential renters on a tour of the building, doing the office banking, managing the door for a concert, bartending for the same concert, gathering statistics based on our past performance revenues or taking the garbage out. Actually, that’s exactly what I did yesterday. I am the janitor, the office manager, the MC, the superintendent, the bartender, the house manager and anything else that might be needed on any given day. The funny thing is, that’s not all that unusual.
Marian Donnelly handled all this plus booking and grant writing before the current staff came along and she’s still helping us out as we transition into taking over the office. Arts organizations across Canada function with ‘jack-of-all-trades’ staff who make the place run while working hard for grant funding to keep the programs rolling. It’s not your typical office.
There are a lot of perks to a job like this as well. As an artist-run centre, our staff keep pretty flexible hours which we work around our other gigs. We often work from home, and can work late nights or early mornings depending on what shows and meetings are booked into the calendar. Speaking of shows, that’s probably the best part of this job. We’re exposed to new artists every day. I have discovered dozens of artists that I love since starting here in July and have been inspired by all of them. I think I speak for all staff when I say we feel pretty lucky to be here.
It’s an unconventional job but I’m glad it’s mine. Music, flexible hours, a beautiful building and an amazing staff. All in a day’s work.