Arts Consulting

There’s never been a better time to be in the business.

Debt, shrinking audiences, and rising expenses. These are the issues which plague too many of today’s orchestras, small and large. For many organizations, these are the issues which consume their day to day work efforts and distract the institutional stakeholders. In light of such seemingly overwhelming forces, many organizations are reverting to drastic stopgap measures in order to slow the decline; however, there are almost always other options. The arts have always been – and continue to be – a remarkably viable product capable of making a strong connection with audiences. Unfortunately, a great deal of media attention throughout the nation has declared that the arts are less and less relevant and there’s simply no longer any demand for what arts organizations deliver.

Fortunately, this prognosis couldn’t be farther from the truth.

For a variety of reasons, many organizations have been the victim of inefficient and stagnant business practices. They spend a great deal of time and resources identifying external forces as the root of their problems, when in fact, they should be spending those same resources toward the sincere challenge of examining internal forces. As tensions increase artists, managers, and board members have been engaged in increasingly hostile battles over the solutions to their mutual problems. With every new conflict, a partisan mentality increases and organizations move farther away from discovering their win-win solutions. Mr. McManus maintains a distinctive philosophy which is founded in the confidence that the win-win scenario is always obtainable. As such, he is well suited to help move organizations away from these slowly destructive cycles and identify options which unite organizations toward their individual goals. Leadership, vision, and a dedication to core competencies lie at the heart of future success. Drew McManus can help your organization realize its potential and become cultural leaders in your community.


The Venture Platform

We Build Websites For Arts Organizations And Artists

The Venture Platform offers the best managed website development solution available. We’ll create designs that not only look great on any device but also provide the stability, hosting, support, and ease of use you deserve.

Visit VentureIndustries.Online

UpStage CRM

The Ticketing CRM Arts Organizations Have Been Waiting For

Launching Fall, 2021.


Online Media Group

Since starting my first culture blog in 2003, my related activity in that field has expanded to include several culture publishing networks where I serve as Editor-in-Chief and/or webmaster.

The Adaptistration Network
  • Adaptistration Blog: founded in 2003, Adaptistration has become the definitive go-to culture blog for the entire orchestra field with thousands of daily visitors.
  • Counting The Costs: calculating the career cost of ownership for orchestra string musicians.
  • Adaptistration Store provides a way for readers to leave tips as well as provides access to downloadable IRS 990 files with enhanced content for more than 70 professional US orchestras.
  • Who’s Minding The Score? is a cartoon about orchestra life takes a satirical look at the insanity that is orchestra management. The cartoon ran from 2010-2013.

Visit Adaptistration


“Practical tips, tricks, and pointers for getting things done as an arts manager.”

ArtsHacker is the result of good old fashioned necessity; up until the time of its launch, the field of nonprofit performing arts administration has been awash in a sea of theory and visioning. There are new models aplenty and regardless of their value, they don’t amount to a hill of beans without implementation.

Simply put, forget the conceptual stuff, people just need to get stuff done.

As a result, ArtsHacker is designed to fill this void by providing high quality nuts-and-bolts oriented content from a broad cross section of contributors; each with unique skills sets, experience, and areas of expertise.

Visit ArtsHacker

Arts Admin Jobs

A jobs board and talent database focusing on positions within the arts administration field.  Job listings are free for employers to post and completely free for job seekers to browse and apply.

Visit Arts Admin Jobs

Inside The Arts
Inside The Arts, a cultural blogging exchange

Founded in November, 2007 Inside The Arts is your gateway to a behind-the-scenes look into the world of performing arts. Here you’ll find a clearinghouse of the latest articles from some of the most insightful and diverse group of professionals who make their living immersed in the world of performing arts.

Visit Inside The Arts

Press Kit

“I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired.”

Those were the first words out of an executive’s mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals “aggressively embracing career change” but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn’t matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can’t keep your own clients out of the ground, and I’m fortunate enough to say that for 20 years, I’ve done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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You may feel free to use these images in association with appearances by Drew McManus along with the following embedded photo credit: Photo Todd Rosenberg.

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Media Reputation

It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as a useful resource for such a wide collection of media outlets. To date, I’ve been quoted in more than 100 media outlets and has been a featured presenter at more than 50 industry conferences.

Newspapers & Online Outlets

  • New York Times
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • Crain’s New York Business
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Dallas Daily News
  • Dallas Morning News
  • Baltimore Sun
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Detroit Free Press
  • Cincinnati Enquirer
  • Houston Chronicle
  • New Jersey Star-Ledger
  • Washington Post
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Star-Tribune
  • Indianapolis Business Journal
  • Indianapolis Star
  • St. Louis Post Dispatch
  • Salt Lake Tribune
  • Kansas City Star
  • Ohio Beacon Journal
  • Syracuse Post Standard
  • Springfield Business Journal
  • Louisville Courier-Journal
  • Omaha World-Herald
  • San Jose Mercury-News
  • St. Petersburg Times
  • Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette
  • Nashville City Paper
  • Traverse City Record Eagle
  • The Guardian Unlimited (UK)
  • The Evening Standard (UK)
  • Melbourne Age (AU)
  • The Scotsman (UK)

Broadcast Appearances

  • WQXR – Conducting Business
  • WNYC – Soundcheck
  • NPR – All Things Considered
  • NPR – Weekend Edition
  • MPR – Morning Edition
  • CBC One – Definitely Not The Opera
  • WTOP – D.C. all-news radio
  • WDET – Detroit
  • WWFM: A Tempo with Rachel Katz
  • WGTK – The Joe Elliot Show
  • WHFR – Detroit
  • KUVE – Austin Radio
  • KBAQ – Arizona radio
  • WFPL – Louisville public radio
  • Michigan Radio – NPR affiliates
  • WTVH – Syracuse CBS affiliate
  • WWNO – New Orleans Radio
  • WWLTV – New Orleans CBS Affiliate
  • WBUR – Boston Radio
  • Inside Indiana Business – TV & Radio
  • WZFG AM 1100 – Doing What Works with Maureen Anderson
  • SoundNotion.TV
  • The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast
  • The Audience Development Podcast

Trade Journals

  • International Musician
  • American Symphony Orchestra League
  • International Arts Manager
  • Musical America
  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • The Strad
  • Association of California Symphony Orchestras
  • National Association of Music Education (MENC)
  • Strings Magazine
  • San Francisco Classical Voice
  • American Viola Society
  • International Bassists Society
  • International Ticketing Association
  • University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication
  • World Clarinet Alliance
  • International Tuba Euphonium Association
  • The Oberlin Review
  • Wisconsin Arts Board
  • Music Council of Australia

Conference, Convention, and Academic Appearances

  • Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTENT)
  • Americans for the Arts
  • National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMP)
  • Association of Arts Administration Educators (AAAE)
  • Arts Alliance Illinois
  • Arts Midwest
  • ArtsReach
  • Institute of Outdoor Theatre (IOT)
  • Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC)
  • Chamber Music America National Conference
  • Columbia College Chicago: Guest Lecturer
  • Conductors Guild Conference
  • Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) Keynote Speaker
  • International Conference of Symphony Orchestra Musicians (ICSOM) National Conference
  • TEDx Michigan Ave 2011; an independently organized TED event that will focus on how to strengthen and evolve the arts industry: the future of labor relations in the arts.
  • Arizona State University Post-Graduate Orchestral Conducting Seminar: Guest Lecturer
  • Columbia College Chicago: Guest Lecturer
  • Eastman School of Music: Guest Lecturer
  • Northwestern University School of Music: Guest Lecturer
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Bolz Center for Arts Administration: Guest Lecturer