About ArtsPool

ArtsPool is in the early stages of building an integrated online management dashboard to streamline arts administration work and facilitate collaboration and communication between ArtsPool’s managers and members. We are not hiring immediately, but we have secured an initial round of funding from three key foundations and are looking to build relationships with energetic and intellectually-curious developers interested in working with us in the near future to rethink and reshape arts administration — particularly in the nonprofit sector.

ArtsPool began as a project of The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York and is dedicated to developing a next-generation management framework that will reorganize how artists and arts organizations do their administrative work. Owned and governed by its members, ArtsPool will provide a hyper-efficient, shared system for accessing tools, policies, best practices, knowledge, and skilled labor and will initially support three key infrastructure services: financial management, employment compliance and information technology.

What We Are Building

The ArtsPool online management dashboard will be the primary interface between ArtsPool’s managers and members. This management dashboard will serve as a central repository for information, an integration point for critical systems such as financial management and employment compliance, and a collaborative workspace for members’ staff and ArtsPool’s managers alike. The management dashboard that we envision could be a completely bespoke solution or could leverage the APIs of existing CRM or project management platforms and serve as a wrapper for those services.

Core requirements

  • Financial management and payroll: integration with 3rd party accounting/payroll software such as Xero, Quickbooks Online, ZenPayroll, etc (including key reports)
  • Labor network: employee database, employee search, employee feedback/review
  • Job assignment and time tracking
  • Integration with cloud-based file storage service such as Box, Amazon S3, etc.
  • Messaging/notifications
  • Digital signature integration for documents, approvals, etc., e.g. via DocuSign.
  • Vendor directory of pre-vetted vendors
  • Member onboarding tools (staff intake, chart of accounts setup, data migration, etc.)
  • Compliance toolkit: expand functionality of existing task list generator
  • Comprehensive audit logging and statistics
  • Mobile-first design considerations
  • An open source code base that can be replicated by similar organizations in other cities

Bonus Features

  • Websocket functionality for chat and other real-time collaboration (e.g. between member staff on frontend), etc.
  • API with authentication to provide data feeds to potential partners such as DataArts, etc.
  • Mobile app for iOS and Android phones and tablets

Preferred Technology Stack

The management dashboard will be built for the modern, mobile web using a technology stack that combines flexibility with ease of use and maintenance. While we welcome creative ideas that might require tools other than those listed below, the following list of technologies will give you a general sense of the flavor we would like this application to have and the types of skills we will be looking for in developers.

Backend: Ruby on Rails

Frontend: Javascript framework (e.g. Bootstrap, etc.), HTML5, CSS3/SASS

Integration: Much of the heavy lifting of the management dashboard will be done by existing 3rd party applications, so experience with RESTful APIs and authentication methods such as OAuth is a must.

Database: PostgreSQL

Testing: RSpec, Capybara, Cucumber, etc. We want to be able to read/review tests.

Deployment: Heroku

Design and User Experience

We are big fans of clean, minimal, and flat designs that present information in a well structured, meaningful, and intuitive way. One of ArtsPool’s big challenges is to tame the perceived complexity of arts administration by centralizing and integrating information and workflows from various sources, and the management dashboard will be designed to provide ArtsPool’s managers and members with up-to-date information at a glance and on the fly. Administrative work may never be fun, but we envision a management dashboard that invites frequent use through well-considered design that leverages the latest frontend technologies (e.g. HTML5, CSS3, Ember, React, AngularJS and the like) to provide users with the most seamless and fluid experience possible. The design should be driven by constant attention to the end user’s needs, and we expect developers to participate in regular sprint reviews with users to ensure that those needs are being met.


Our goal is to begin taking on our first pilot members in January 2015, but we plan to develop the management portal incrementally. We will launch a small freemium compliance tool very soon, after which we will begin working with a development team to roll out additional modules in the lead up to January. ArtsPool’s formal public launch is planned for late 2015 or early 2016.

Our Ideal Partners

We are tackling a lot of big problems at ArtsPool and our ideal development partners will be intellectually curious and motivated to fully engage those problems with us. In addition to the management portal, we have a number of challenges that we plan to address as we go along (employee sharing, dynamic labor pools, data feeds to regulatory agencies, etc.) and we are particularly interested in meeting developers who would want to partner with us beyond the scope of this initial project to create the management dashboard.

ArtsPool is currently planning to release the code for our management dashboard as an open source project to allow other cities to replicate our model, so experience with open source development is a major plus.

Get In Touch

If you are interested in meeting with us to discuss the project, drop us a line to tell us a bit about yourself. We want to know about your technical expertise so please include a resume and any relevant samples of past work, but we are equally interested in knowing about your tastes, your way of working, your background, and your interests. Please submit materials in PDF format to Max Dana at max@artspool.co no later than September 15, 2014. Once we review submissions we will be in touch to set up an informational meeting.