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Screenshot by the author for Hyperallergic (via USAJOBS)

Are you an arts administrator with experience in any of “the arts, entertainment, motion picture, and television industries”? Has strip-mining the world for talent with 501(c)(3) impunity left you with an aching void where once resided a crystalline commitment to truth and beauty? Are you an American, and does your patriot’s sense of charity extend to providing free labor to the misunderstood gentle giant of our federal government, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? Does the prospect of moving to Washington not provoke in you a physical sense of foreboding?


Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security, will take you under her wing. (image via Ricochet)

Good. Because according to a listing on federal job portal USAJOBS, Uncle Sam is hiring (“hiring”), and he’s looking for you. Well, he might also be looking for you, but forget about that for now — someone like you should definitely consider applying for this thing. The Department of Homeland Security, a federal agency with a projected 2014 budget of just under $60 billion, would like to retain an experienced arts administrator for its “Loaned Executive Program.” The proposed position offers a salary range of “$0.00 to $0.00 / Without Compensation” and is

[A] special opportunity (unpaid) that provides top executive-level talent from the private sector an opportunity to share their expertise with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fill special, discrete needs.

Yes, the word “special” does appear twice in that sentence, and it’s not so much a “loan,” career-wise, as it is a “forfeiture of income.” But if you’re game for such linguistic hazing, you could surely leverage the experience at DHS into a gig pumping out verbal runoff for the global contemporary art trade. And, should you find yourself falling in love with that god-forsaken stretch of Potomac swampland, you might stay a whole year: “[I]nitial appointments are for six months with the possibility for extension up to one year.”

All effrontery and labor exploitation issues aside, this is an intriguing position that appears to demonstrate some interest on the part of DHS in developing the visa infrastructure for foreign artists. So there’s that. If you have any interesting stories about applying for a US visa as an artist, please do get in touch.

Mostafa Heddaya is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic.

6 replies on “Department of Homeland Security Seeks … Arts Administrators”

  1. Dear Beryl D. Scott

    I would like to give you a tip about how to get someone qualified in your employ. YOU PAY THEM. I am referring to the position on USA JOBS listed as: arts administrator. It is “interesting” that in this day and age, that you would list anything related to work as no
    compensation and no benefits. I get that you are an arm of the government, but really, who do you think you are?

    Here’s the thing, artists, need to get paid for ANY work they do, just like any other professional who has a skill set and has (most likely) a terminal degree. We also need food to live, just like other human beings…weird, right? It’s OUTRAGEOUS that your division would even suggest NO COMPENSATION for a JOB listed on a JOB site. Here’s another tip, if you are not willing to pay, it’s actually considered an low-level “internship”.

    Furthermore, I would like to know of any other profession where you would think this
    is okay to do, especially with the economy the way it is. Really and seriously, SHAME ON YOU. I hope no one is stupid enough to apply to this so called “job” of yours. You COMPENSATE people for the work and skill they have to offer, ALL OF THEM.

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