What sustains employees in an event economy?

Sculpture of the Sea, Bandi (SXS) celebrates its 25th edition this month. This is an incredible achievement for a cycle event, especially one produced by a non-profit organization.

Equally interesting is the event’s ability to retain employees over that long history. Festivals typically involve the gig economy – short contracts for intensive work periods, and high-level delivery – a recipe for burnout, and anything but stability in the workplace.

ArtsHub He talks to five employees who have worked at the company for more than a decade, in an attempt to learn how festivals can retain and motivate employees despite the fear of event cycles. Their five pieces of advice are:

1. There is always a solution

Susie Clark managed the seasonal aspect of her role as production manager for a major sculpture festival by taking five weeks off in the middle of each year. 'With the intensity of this work, long breaks are necessary to refuel and do it again!’ she says ArtsHub.

Susie Clark works on a sculpture in the sea. Image: Provided.

What has sustained her passion for more than a decade on the job? 'After a long career in theater and film and producing large-scale events, I thought it would be easier to put on an exhibition and see people come. But for production A sculpture of the sea With so many tentacles and moving parts that I didn’t expect, it was anything but simple or straightforward. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

’The lifelong friends I’ve made with artists, patrons and colleagues are now my passion for art in the public space,’ she adds. SXS For more than a decade.

And her top advice? 'There is always a solution.’

2. I could go on!

Davina Corti is SXS company manager (and previously director of sculpture sales and special projects), and like Clark, says it’s 'definitely the people’ who have sustained her for over a decade. „I get to meet and work with interesting, intelligent and fascinating people,” he says. 'There is always a new idea or thought for me to explore. It’s inspiring.’

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Cardi says her favorite part of working the exhibition gig is the variety that a rotating event provides. 'Each exhibition is a completely new experience, with artists at different stages of their artistic careers; Their practices are diverse, they work with different materials and production methods, and their works focus on important local and global issues. They live in Australia and around the world. Their passion and dedication is intoxicating and motivates me to do better for them.’

After the fair is over, Corti says people often ask what she does throughout the year. „It always makes me happy,” she says ArtsHub. 'Actually, most days of the year are very busy for me as I work with our team Our annual Cottesloe Fair Every March in Perth, our annual Bondi Fair and, more recently, our new Ice Canyons Sculpture Trail in the most beautiful part of the world, only four hours from my home in Sydney.’

He says the diversity of events happening across the company keeps his job 'professionally interesting’.

According to: Is the 'side hustle’ really worth it?

3. Don’t take each day for granted

While many of the A Sculpture Festival team are outdoors and on equipment, General Manager Andrew Williams plays an equally important role in finance and administration. SXS. It’s no wonder, for him, that the festival doesn’t really feel seasonal, except during exhibition periods when six- and seven-day weeks work very long hours.

For someone who works in the world of accounts and finance, a sculpture festival may not be the most obvious competition. However, says Williams, the organization has 'adopted the services very quickly [and programs] Like Square, Typeform, Donorbox, Stripe and Microsoft 365.’

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He continues: 'Pre-production and reporting post, all the grant proposals and releases and the perpetual search for ways to do more with fewer resources and at less cost keep the core team busy throughout the year.’

It all sounds serious, but Williams’ advice: 'Don’t take each day too seriously. Trying to responsibly manage the finances of a nonprofit arts organization is harder and more stressful than working at a large nonprofit. I have done both.’

He adds: 'You have to have the agility to balance your income and your expenses, and often do resources before you know you can generate the income to support it. We’ve been balancing the books for 27 years now, but it’s been a constant challenge.

’What has kept me motivated all these years is allowing the public to see the amazing work of artists from all over the world in such a stunning coastal location, and the collaborative atmosphere of the group.’

According to Williams, 'the favorite part of the job is sending out artist reports and paying artists at the end of the exhibition’.

’In the most recent fiscal year, we distributed over $2.8 million to artists through proceeds from sculpture sales and awards and grants we can offer. For many artists it is an essential part of their annual income, allowing them to continue their practice.

According to: So you want my artistic job: Tour Manager

4. Handle artists with care

Justin Morrissey is no stranger to curating sculpture festivals. His first job was curating a sculpture festival exhibition in 2007 SXS Cottesloe. “I was working on the Australian circuit at the time for a number of arts festivals and I was blown away by the professionalism. A sculpture of the sea The sheer magnificence of the staff and the program.

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“Once I began to understand the artistic training and dedication of many of the artists to sculpture, I was drawn to continue working with the company,” he says. 10 years later, Morrissey is here Ice Canyons Sculpture Trail Site Manager.

In his vast experience, his main advice is: 'Handle artists carefully!’ Morrissey adds, '[While] While there are many benefits and challenges to working on seasonal events, there is a lot of work behind the scenes throughout the year to stage these events.

He explains that all creatives learn how to balance lean times with times when 'there’s more work than you can manage’.

’I’ve been lucky to work on some really exciting installation projects,’ says Morrissey, and his 'favorite part of the job is having a broad understanding of the material qualities that go into fabrication and installations. In the group you will meet amazing characters and artists from all over the world.

Yuri Humenyuk, 'Sculpture in the Sea’, has been working on creating sculptures for Bondi. Image: Provided.

5. Dogs are the best judges of sculpture!

Completing the staff club for more than a decade SXS Technical consultant and chief founder, Yuri Humenyuk. Balancing office projects without trial realities is an important part of Humeniuk’s day-to-day. Variety retained his interest in this work. 'Incomparably warm people, amazing artists and technical challenges, all working together in a high-pressure, intense environment, with a great sense of achievement,’ he says, keep the work fresh.

Humeniuk continues: 'Seasonal and periodic in nature A sculpture of the sea Allowing me to concentrate completely for two weeks, then I can return to the real world!’

Humeniuk’s little advice learned on the job? 'Dogs are the best judges of fine art!’

Sea sculpture, Bondi Offered from October 20 to November 6. Learn more and schedule your visit.

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