Art Institute of Chicago Reviews | Glassdoor

Art Institute of Chicago Reviews

Updated November 20, 2017
118 reviews

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3.5
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James Rondeau
9 Ratings

118 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great location, great people to work with (in 7 reviews)

  • Work/Life balance was at least good (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Low pay, as reflective in a non-profit (in 9 reviews)

  • Little room for growth or raises (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "N/A"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Art Institute of Chicago part-time

    Pros

    Great culture and lovely people. Good work life balance.

    Cons

    Work is cooperate and slow sometimes.


  2. "Graduate assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Art Institute of Chicago part-time

    Pros

    Networking with faculty and staff

    Cons

    Minimal benefits and compensation. No room for growth

  3. "Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Assistant in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Art Institute of Chicago full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Benefits and the reputation. I like the transparency as well.

    Cons

    None. I love this place.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good leadership hiring


  4. "ta"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    Pros

    Flexible Hours and great people.

    Cons

    Not much advancement or career path.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Average employee not valued - no advancement opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Art Institute of Chicago full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There are some incredibly talented and intelligent individuals who work at the museum, they are the true backbone of the organization. The benefits aren't too bad either.

    Cons

    Unless you're in a director level or above position, there is no opportunity for advancement. This results in the organization being very top heavy and entire departments made up of directors. There's favoritism within the organization, as those close to current leadership were promoted numerous times during the first few years of his tenure while others, just as deserving of a promotion, were not.

    Work conditions leave a lot to be desired. Museum staff is housed in a building that is designed in such a way that very few staff have windows. This includes several key creative roles in the museum whose only source of daylight are glass block windows from a 90s shower. Needless to say, it’s depressing. Little investment is made in to employee work spaces as the main building for museum staff has issues with cockroaches and mice.

    Most supervisors are very hands off with their staff and focus on catering to senior leadership's whim. Questioning, or even asking for clarification, of key initiatives is frowned upon. This lack of transparency in all levels of leadership makes it difficult to thoroughly understand what the museum's mission on any level is. This wasn't always the case. Prior to the new leadership being installed, efforts were made to promote the long range plan on a recurring basis via internal communications and all staff meetings. Now those communication opportunities are used to basically stroke egos, or cover fluff topics that staff can find out about online (such as new exhibitions) rather than talk about more pressing concerns.

    Deadlines are meaningless and job descriptions are not accurate for the work performed. Hiring more staff to help would make sense but never happens. Instead, when certain positions leave they are not refilled or are handled by unpaid interns.

    Advice to Management

    Transparency in museum initiatives needs to happen, more so than selective topics covered in a the monthly employee newsletter.

    Take time to focus on employee growth and have promotion opportunities available for all. There's people in the museum who have worked there for 5+ years with the same title and are deserving of a promotion. It's unsettling when some people are promoted several times within a year and it's perceived by some that the only reason those promotions happened are because of who they know.

    Move away from the dictatorship mentality when it comes to leadership and initiatives. While you may not see a need to involve staff in some decisions, doing so may present new insights in to an issue or strategy. The museum is full of intelligent people, try to utilize them, it could help with employee morale and purpose.

    Show employees they're valued. Benefits such as 30 days of PTO are nice but let's be real, that doesn't show you value employees and frankly, it's becoming more of the norm across all industries. Showing that employees are valued should entail: accepting their feedback, even if it's critical of a key initiative; giving them the resources (staff and hardware) they need to efficiently perform their duties; having supervisors work with employees to map out their career at the museum / how to grow in their role; and paying them appropriately. Paying people what they would make in the for-profit world would go a long way in drawing interest from qualified individuals.

    Taking even some of this to heart would most likely result in lower turnover. No longer would staff with decades of experience, or those who are experts in their field, walk out the door for a better opportunity.

    The framework to be a great place is there, but the initiative needs to be taken to make it all happen.


  6. "Housekeeping"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Art Institute of Chicago full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Beautiful art, galleries, downtown location.

    Cons

    Overworked. Low salary. Bad management.

    Advice to Management

    Be fair to good workers. Don't overwork them and reward lazy employee's with less work.


  7. "Art is for everyone at AIC"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great place to work if you want to be surrounded by art all day. Love my coworkers!

    Cons

    Not much for interdepartmental collaborations, though it is possible with some serious efforts.

  8. "Find the right fit and this can be the place for you"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Art Institute of Chicago full-time

    Pros

    Generous paid time off, great resources, if you work in the right department you will have smart/fun coworkers, friendly to working artists (school, not the museum).

    Cons

    Salaries are low in comparison to similar institutions, can be hard to advance in career (depends on department), your experience really depends on which department you work in (talking about the school, not the museum).


  9. "Mission drives recruitment, retention difficult given nature of organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Art Institute of Chicago full-time

    Pros

    Very generous benefits package (PTO, matching retirement plan, tuition remission); pride in the work and workplace; colleagues are driven, talented, excited; mission driven environment; excellent work/life balance; obviously the museum itself is an amazing resource.

    Cons

    The pay and advancement/development opportunities. Obviously compared to the for-profit world, but even in non-profits the pay is not competitive for entry to mid-level roles, which makes turnover somewhat high. This makes progress difficult since historical knowledge is continually lost. Aside from turnover, there are very few opportunities for advancement or development outside of department restructures. Many offices and pieces of the infrastructure/procedures are also seriously out of date which is not surprising in a non-profit or museum, but does make innovation on par with its world class reputation difficult.

    Advice to Management

    Invite engagement both top down (like with the town hall meetings and newsletters) and bottom up by encouraging a pipeline of ideas through each department. Developing an infrastructure for greater collaboration between departments at all levels could help cut down redundancies and spark new ideas. There are very talented people at all levels who actively want to be more involved.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "No path for employee growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Art Institute of Chicago full-time

    Pros

    Salaried staff get plenty of Paid Time Off, if you are allowed to use it.
    Tuition remission = free classes, if your boss lets you enroll

    Cons

    There are plenty of positions in upper administration and they are always adding more Deans, VPs, etc, yet never have money in the budget to give raises to support staff, or create new support staff positions to get work done.

    There is no path for career advancement. The job you are hired in to is the job you will have until you are burnt out and leave.

    Administrators love to have meetings, especially "blue sky" meetings where they endlessly discuss the amazing things they want to do to benefit faculty and students, but none of them seem to actually do the work.

    Advice to Management

    You are so busy cramming students into classrooms and bending over backwards for faculty that you neglect your staff. Treat them well and you will have more success.

    No opinion on the Museum CEO, but big thumbs down for the School's President, Provost, and Deans.


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