Gallery Director: Career Information and Education Requirements
Art administration is a competitive field. Read on to find out what it's like to work as a gallery director and learn what it takes to land a coveted position.
Career Information for Gallery Directors
Gallery directors may work in independently standing spaces or those connected to larger institutions, such as universities. Duties of gallery directors often converge with those of curators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field is highly competitive since the amount of aspirants typically outnumbers available positions; however, jobs for curators are expected to grow at a faster than average rate of 25% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov).
Specifics of the position's responsibilities vary depending on the type of institution for which one works. However, according to job postings listed in October 2011 on the American Association of Museums website (www.aam-us.org) and Monster.com, some responsibilities of gallery directors might include managing staff and gallery operations, developing a budget, overseeing the installation and dismantling of exhibits, programming exhibits and maintaining permanent collections.
Monster.com job postings also indicate that generating sales is usually a priority for directors of privately owned galleries. Duties for gallery directors employed by a college or university may also include course instruction, according to the Southeastern College Art Conference (www.secollegeart.org).
PayScale.com listed the range of yearly income for art gallery curators as $21,545-$100,671 as of October 2013, with the annual median resting at $35,020. BLS reported that the median annual wage for curators was $49,590 in May 2012.
Education Requirements for Gallery Directors
A master's degree in an art-related field is generally the minimum requirement for a gallery director or curator, although directly related work experience might be considered in lieu of academic requirements. Some privately run galleries might require only a bachelor's degree, per previously referenced Monster.com job postings. Relevant degrees include art history, museum studies and arts administration, as well as studio art. It is recommended by the BLS that aspiring curators also take some business classes to supplement their arts curriculum, as well as coursework in marketing or public relations, due to the managerial aspects of the job.
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