Get to know your arts administrators!
The inspiration for this bit of sage advice occurred while I was upstairs in the school gallery a few days ago, taking some time to really look at the work of Gage instructor, Larine Chung. As I stood in contemplation of Chung's use of color and space, one of the atelier students walked by and, in devilish good humor, said "Hey, what are you doing up here? This floor is for artists". I gave him a screwed up look, he said "just kidding" and we laughed. After he had tromped down the stairs, I got to thinking – he may not actually know that I am an artist!
If you are a student/emerging artist, you spend a significant part of your day in the studio in pursuit of your craft. You interface with the people working in the offices of various organizations to take care of things like registering for classes, submitting work for shows, applying for grants or residencies, etc. Much of this is done through email and online and you may never even see the people helping you grow your career, much less get to know them!
Many arts administrators are probably more like you than you realize. It takes passion and sympathy for the cause to keep the wheels of the art world turning and while it is not necessarily a requirement, most art-related organizations hire people who are actively engaged in the arts for this very reason.
So – get to know your arts administrators. You may find that the art world is much wider and deeper than you thought.