Go through our full job guide to learn more about becoming an Arts administrator in the UK.
What does an Arts Administrator do?
Arts administrators plan and organise cultural and arts activities. They work in organisations such as local authorities, arts centres, theatres and regional arts boards.
As an arts administrator, your work would vary according to the size and type of organisation, but could include:
- arranging venues and artists
- working with local arts organisations
- negotiating sponsorship and funding
- organising publicity and ticket sales
- organising security and catering
- managing budgets and keeping records
- carrying out general administration.
In small galleries and arts centres you could be involved in the whole day-to-day running of the centre. In larger organisations, such as arts boards, you may specialise in one area, for example marketing, public relations or education.
Working Hours for Arts Administrators
Your working hours would vary depending on the particular job. For example, you may work evenings or weekends if you are involved in performances, festivals or exhibitions.
You would have an office base, but would usually travel to attend events and performances, or to meet with artists and arts organisations.
How much does an Arts Administrator earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Salaries can start at around £18,000 a year.
- Experienced staff can earn up to £29,000.
- Senior staff can earn up to £50,000.
Some salaries may be related to local government administrator scales.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
There are no set qualifications for becoming an arts administrator – the real key to this work is relevant experience, which you could get through volunteering or temporary work. Ways of gaining experience include:
- helping with student or community drama productions or concerts
- getting involved with community events such as street carnivals
- working in front of house or box office in arts centres, cinemas or theatres
- taking temporary work, for example with arts festivals.
Visit the Arts Council website for details of local arts organisations which may have opportunities for volunteering or temporary work. You can also get information from arts officers in your local authority and from Voluntary Arts.
You would need general administration skills, and you may find it useful to have qualifications or experience in areas such as word processing, book-keeping, public relations and marketing. You may be able to start as an assistant or secretary in an arts organisation and work your way up.
Many arts administrators are graduates, so a degree could be an advantage, although not essential. Relevant subjects include arts management, arts administration options in other arts-related degrees, events and entertainment management, and business studies.
Some postgraduate courses include work placements in arts organisations, which can be useful for developing contacts.
Training and Development
Once you are working in arts administration, you can develop your skills by attending short courses. These are run by organisations such as the AMA and the Independent Theatre Council.
You could also work towards qualifications such as:
- NVQs in Cultural Heritage Operations (Level 3), Cultural Heritage (Level 4) and Cultural Heritage Management (Level 5)
- the exams of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA)
- part-time postgraduate certificates, diplomas or degrees in arts administration or arts management.
Adding to your skills and knowledge, for example in areas such as human resources, accountancy, arts-related law and marketing, will be useful for developing your career.
Skills and Knowledge
- an interest in the arts in general, or a particular art form
- administrative and computer skills
- good written and spoken communication skills
- the ability to organise and prioritise work
- problem solving skills
- good time-management skills
- the ability to meet deadlines and keep calm under pressure
- commercial awareness
- the ability to make information accessible to a wide range of people.
You could be employed by a wide range of organisations, including:
- museums and galleries
- arts centres
- theatres and performing arts organisations
- arts festivals
- disability arts organisations
- local authorities
- arts councils and regional arts boards.
Competition for work is strong and many jobs are not advertised, so making contacts and gaining experience on a temporary or voluntary basis is important. Many organisations have volunteers working alongside paid workers, and some are run entirely by volunteers.
With experience you could become an arts officer or manager, do freelance work or become a consultant for organisations developing arts policies.