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Art Institute of Chicago Reviews

Updated January 14, 2018
120 reviews

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3.6
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James Rondeau
9 Ratings

120 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work/Life balance was at least good (in 5 reviews)

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

Cons
  • Low pay, as reflective in a non-profit (in 10 reviews)

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

More Pros and Cons

  1. "unusually good place to do adjunct teaching"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Lecturer/Adjunct Instructor in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Lecturer/Adjunct Instructor in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great students, adjuncts are treated with respect, good administrative support available for instructors, unusually good pay for adjunct jobs, opportunities for promotion from part-time to full-time teaching

    Cons

    Normal adjunct problem: can't get enough courses to live on, and can't know for sure how many courses you'll get next year


  2. "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.

  3. "Good for the top employees, not at the bottom"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Rover in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Rover in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    -Working at a world-class museum
    -the reputation (see above)

    Cons

    -low pay
    -a who-you-know environment
    -doesn't seem to be much room for advancement

    Advice to Management

    -pay your employees more, you have the money!
    -hire faster, the turn around time to hire an employee is ridiculously long


  4. "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


  5. "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


  6. "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.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "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.

  8. "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.


  9. "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.


  10. "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).


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