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For those people who are creative, a career in the arts industry is very appealing. The breadth of careers is large, with the potential to develop a career as a fine artist or graphic designer, or alternatively to work in another role related to the industry.

This could be museum or gallery curator, which involves planning, organising and managing exhibitions in these spaces, or it could be in something such as art therapy. 

Art therapists give their patients an outlet to express emotions that they normally wouldn’t be able to vocalise.

Art agents identify talented artists that they would like to represent, and then work with the artist to help sell or display their work, looking after their client’s interests. Those who enter careers in conservation and restoration focus on improving the condition of artefacts, from paintings to stained glass windows. 

Animation is another outlet for artists, where they create moving content for TVs, films, websites and computer games.

The possibilities are seemingly endless, and it helps to identify what particularly interests you in order to tailor your studies towards it. Many of the creative courses out there are vocational, providing artists with the skills to gain employment and move into the world of work more easily upon graduation.


How to get into a career in art

The majority of people working in the art industry went to art school to study. There are numerous courses to choose from, with the opportunity to specialise in a particular field.

There are a wide variety of courses - fine art, animation, art and design, conservation, photography and curation, to name but a few. Specialist and competitive careers such as those in conservation offer the opportunity to build on knowledge in further postgraduate study, which often helps a candidate to stand out from the crowd. 

Work experience in relevant environments will help, be it a museum or auction house if a candidate is interested in curation, or working somewhere such as English Heritage or the National Trust for someone looking to gain employment in conservation.

Qualifications and experience

Many art-related degree subjects require candidates to have studied an art foundation course, and expect them to have a portfolio of work to present, demonstrating their abilities. This portfolio of work is usually made up of a lot of the work carried out during the art foundation course.

A-Level requirements from candidates vary between courses and institutions, with some only asking for one A-Level pass. Subjects that can be seen as relevant are Art, English, History and Graphic Design, although specifications are different from university to university, and particular subjects may not be identified.


Salary expectations

The average salary for an artist is £30,000 and an art therapist is £29,000, while an animator’s average salary is £30,000. The career of a curator is known for being badly paid, with starting salaries sometimes being in the region of £12,000. There is, of course, the potential to earn much more in these careers, however competition to get to the top of the tree can be fierce.


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