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Art Gallery Manager: Job Description and Training Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an art gallery manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and professional experience to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Art gallery managers primarily work to create an effective link between artists and their audience by displaying artworks and hosting shows. The gallery manager may control the finances associated with the gallery, curate collections and help to increase community involvement. Along with an education in the arts or arts management, future art gallery managers need considerable field experience.

Education Requirements Bachelor's degree at minimum; some have master's degrees
Other Requirements Work and/or internship experience in galleries
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 13% for all curators*
Median Salary (2014) $40,297 for art gallery curators**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Art Gallery Manager Job Description

The primary responsibilities for an art gallery manager can include managing exhibit preparation and maintenance, scheduling programs that develop an artistically appreciative audience, staffing, and inventory control. Some of the more involved tasks faced by art gallery managers may be curating shows, developing working relationships with artists, and arranging transportation for art work.

Local arts councils, privately owned galleries or non-profit state galleries are among employment possibilities for qualified gallery managers. Frequently, galleries will require management to be available for weekend and nighttime art shows.

Training Requirements for Art Gallery Managers

In order to become the manager of an art gallery a student first needs to obtain a bachelor's or master's degree in an related program, such as the Bachelor of Arts in Art Management or Master of Arts Management. Specific focus in courses, such as arts management and society, collections care, gallery environment, and arts management research, can also provide foundation for aspiring art gallery managers.

Prior to assuming the title of art gallery manager, students generally need to gain related work experience, which can include working in art sales or another position with an art gallery. This allows an aspiring art gallery manager to apply their knowledge of art while also learning valuable leadership skills.

Adequate training can also aid students in developing aesthetic awareness for art gallery design, something that may be necessary for driving art sales. This training can be completed through an art internship or through an entry-level art gallery position, which helps prospective gallery managers perfect their ability to plan a project and research art collections.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, the majority of art gallery curators earned between $20,558 and $86,500 per year, as of September 2014. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to the field of art gallery management, the BLS did project that the employment of curators in general will likely grow by about 13% between 2012 and 2022, a rate consistent with the average predicted for all occupations.

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