Careers in Culture and Arts

A number of career options are available in the fields of culture and art, such as museum and performing arts work. Learn about the skills and training needed for these jobs, along with the career outlook.

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Careers in Culture and Arts

There are many different types of careers that involve both culture and the arts, whether you are interested in being a performer, a visual artist, or something else entirely. In the paragraphs below, we will look at six different careers in culture and the arts in detail, discussing what each career entails and what type of education is necessary to find employment in that field.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Museum Curator $53,360 14%
Craft and Fine Artist $48,780 8% (for all artists and related workers)
Choreographer $23.19 (hourly) 3%
Actor $18.70 (hourly) 12%
Music Director/Composer $50,110 6%
Musician/Singer $25.14 (hourly) 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Information About Careers in Culture and Arts

Museum Curator

As a museum curator, you will be responsible for maintaining a museum's art collection by making sure it is stored or displayed properly, as well as acquiring new permanent pieces for the museum's collection or arranging the loan of temporary art pieces. You may also be involved in authenticating pieces of artwork, participating in research projects, and acting as a spokesperson for the museum at various media and cultural events. To become a museum curator, you will usually need a master's degree in a field like art history or museum studies.

Craft and Fine Artist

As a craft artist, you will typically specialize in the creation of some type of object using a specific material, like creating furniture out of wood or jewelry using stones and pieces of wiring. Fine artists usually create art that is meant to be hung or displayed, rather than functionally used, and they often specialize in painting or sculpture. These artists may have their own gallery or studio, and the majority of them are self-employed. Visual arts are a major part of culture, and an artist's work will often reflect their culture, whether in materials, technique, subject matter or style. Fine artists will often need a bachelor's degree in fine arts to develop their skills, while craft artists typically require no formal education.

Choreographer

Attending a theater production or ballet performance is typically considered a cultural event, and a key part of these performances is the work of a choreographer. Choreographers often work for dance companies, ballets, or theater organizations and are responsible for creating different dance sequences for performances. They're usually in charge of hiring dancers through an audition process and teaching the dance routine. Some choreographers may be heavily involved in all artistic details of the show, like music, costumes, and lighting, depending on the company. To become a choreographer, you may begin as a dancer and pursue formal dance training from a young age, as well as postsecondary education in dance.

Actor

Actors work in culture and the arts by performing roles in movies, TV, plays, musicals and other types of performances. They're responsible for portraying different characters in these productions by reciting dialogue and expressing emotions. To find work, you will usually need to attend many auditions and meet with directors and producers. Once you have a job, your duties will include learning your lines by heart and working with the director to make your character as believable as possible. To become an actor, you may want to consider pursuing formal dramatic training, though it is not necessarily required.

Music Director/Composer

Another important aspect of the arts and culture is music, which includes numerous job opportunities. Music directors are responsible for leading different types of musical groups and ensembles, like choirs, orchestras, and bands, while composers are involved in writing original music or reworking existing music into new arrangements. These professionals may work for a city's musical organizations, like the symphony orchestra, and help plan the year's music performance program. To become a music director, the requirements will usually vary depending on the employer, though a bachelor's or master's degree in a field like music theory or music is common. Classical composers typically need a master's degree, though no specific education is required to write popular music.

Musician/Singer

There are also careers in music performance, such as singing or playing a musical instrument. Your job prospects will vary depending on the type of music you create, since classically trained musicians may find work with an orchestra or symphony, while individuals who perform popular music or original music may find work by performing in local music venues. You will be responsible for preparing for performances by practicing and rehearsing, and you may be required to travel to some performances. To become a musician or singer, there are no specific education requirements unless you want to be a classical musician, in which case a bachelor's degree is required.

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