What Are the Different Types of Arts Industry Jobs?

Tara Barnett

There are many different arts industry jobs, but many of these jobs require education outside of the arts. Jobs for people who work purely as artists are somewhat rare and typically involve significant amounts of skill and talent. In the arts industry, however, there are jobs related to managing art collections, providing art therapy, or selling art. Additionally, people can work preserving artwork or managing the careers of artists. Sometimes these jobs are considered part of the cultural industry depending on the terminology popular in an area.

Museums have many arts industry jobs, for example, conservator or curator.
Museums have many arts industry jobs, for example, conservator or curator.

Some of the most common arts industry jobs involve exposing people to art in some manner. This might involve managing an art collection, providing art tours, or even teaching about art. Art teachers are often considered part of the education industry, but these positions could also be considered arts industry jobs. Managing an art collection typically requires a degree in museum studies or library management.

An arts educator needs to have a passion for art, as well as the ability to teach effectively.
An arts educator needs to have a passion for art, as well as the ability to teach effectively.

Preservation is a major part of the arts industry, whether the art in question is performance, music, or visual arts. For example, preserving sound and creating libraries and databases of audio art is an important and complex task. Typically, people who are involved in arts preservation need skills related to a specific recording mechanism, such as film. Alternatively, they might be involved in restoration of paintings or other items that can degrade over time.

In some cases, arts industry jobs may involve writing about art as well. Analysis and study of art is required not only for teachers but also for museums and publications. Some people write about art as a career, while others merely incorporate art analysis into their career.

Art therapy positions are sometimes considered arts industry jobs, but these jobs involve significant training in psychology or other therapeutic practices. In most cases, the art aspect of art therapy is visual, so many people go into this career with a background as a visual artist. Offering classes or therapy independently can be a career path in the arts, but some people work with larger organizations.

In addition to working in businesses related to art, it is also possible to find arts industry jobs in the government. People who obtain these jobs typically have some experience working in the arts industry and are in some way qualified to determine how the government finances the arts. It is also possible to find office jobs in the arts industry as well as many other employment opportunities that require no knowledge of the arts.

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Discussion Comments


@MrsPramm - It's not impossible to get a job in the arts industry with only art experience or no experience at all. Often there are a lot of internships available, because it's an industry that needs a lot of cheap labor in order to survive. You can get a lot of experience just through internships or through volunteering.


@croydon - Well, for the most part I don't think training in art is what is lacking when people are attempting to enter the arts industry. It would be a rare person who went into this industry who had no intention of ever pursuing some kind of artistic path and more often than not it's a way for artists to make enough money to live while their creative pursuits gather steam.

Often jobs in the arts industry are very competitive as well, so if you were just trying to get into a job based on your business degree, with no background in art you wouldn't have much of a chance. The people who do best are the ones who have both art and another related discipline in their background, whether it be education or business or whatever else.


Jobs in the arts industry might require additional training outside the arts, but that doesn't mean that you should neglect an education inside the arts, so to speak. Being able to directly relate to artists sometimes requires that you know where they are coming from professionally and it can be difficult to really understand something like that unless you've experienced it yourself.

Also, just knowing the technical requirements of artists is always a good idea, particularly if you want to be a curator. The more you know of art techniques the more likely you are going to be able to keep the artworks in your charge in good condition and display them the right way.

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