Arts Manager

The Job and What's Involved

Arts managers provide administration support to the cultural and creative industries, which include the visual, performing and literary arts. Their work may involve organising, managing and developing a wide range of arts events and activities.

An arts manager's job varies widely depending on whom he or she works for. For example, in a small theatre company it may involve a whole range of tasks on a day-to-day basis. In a larger organisation, an arts manager is likely to specialise in specific administrative areas, such as marketing, programming or sponsorship. Job titles vary widely, too.

Arts managers' responsibilities may include:

  • Planning a programme of events, securing dates and venues.
  • Booking artists and performers.
  • Event management.
  • General management.
  • Looking after visitors, including directors, producers and artists.
  • Coordinating front of house and box office.
  • Keeping records and analysis of data.
  • Organising marketing and public relations activities.
  • Identifying fundraising opportunities and writing funding bids.
  • Identifying and applying income generation activities such as sales, merchandising and sponsorship.
  • Personnel duties, such as advising on contracts.
  • Planning and managing a budget.
  • Dealing with performing rights and other legal requirements.
  • Overseeing the maintenance of the venue.
  • Overseeing and taking an executive role in artistic production.
  • Researching and applying cultural policy.
  • Attending exhibitions and/or performances.

If working for a local authority, they may also:

  • Organise education and training programme's.
  • Process grant applications and allocate funding.
  • Work closely with arts organisations.

Arts managers usually work a set number of hours a week. Their hours can often be irregular and usually include evening and weekend work. Job sharing and part-time opportunities are available.

The role is generally office and venue based, although some traveling may be required to attend meetings or events.

Starting salaries are usually between £15,000 and £25,000 a year. Experienced arts managers may earn up to around £30,000 a year and Senior managers may earn up to £50,000 a year or more.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

The creative and cultural skills sector is growing. Arts managers may be employed in any private or publicly funded organisation that organises, plans or delivers any artistic or cultural event. Government-funded initiatives and local partnerships are providing increasing opportunities.

Opportunities exist throughout the UK with:

Theatres, concert halls, art galleries and museums
Arts production companies
Circus and street theatre
Arts, photography and media centres
Theatre, opera and dance companies
Orchestras and music ensembles
Regional and national arts projects
Arts festivals and community arts organisations
Local authorities

There is a considerable amount of competition for jobs.

Vacancies are advertised in the local and national press (particularly Guardian Jobs at, at and through specialist publications such as Arts Professional and The Stage. Regional arts magazines and websites may also list vacancies. Arts Jobs at lists vacancies, and also volunteering opportunities and internships within the arts community.

Education and Training

There are no set entry qualifications for arts managers, and entry may be possible via an administrative or support role. However, many arts managers are graduates. It helps greatly to have some practical experience in arts projects and events, which may be gained through voluntary work.

Degree courses, foundation degrees and postgraduate courses relating to arts management are available and are particularly relevant to this career. These courses may include practical projects and work placements in arts organisations and enable students to build their contacts and experience. They provide grounding in the broad range of skills needed for the effective management of arts organisations.

Other degree courses that may be relevant include:

Business studies
Visual arts and design
Performing arts
Art history
Events management

Degree courses usually last three years full time or four years for sandwich courses. Entry to degree courses is normally with at least two A levels, or equivalent qualifications. Useful A levels for a degree in arts and event management are arts-based subjects, such as fine art, drama, music and theatre studies, and also business studies. Candidates should check with individual universities for specific entry requirements.

The Diploma in creative and media may be relevant to this area of work.

It may be possible to enter arts management via the creative Apprenticeship programme, which offers a pathway in community arts management.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work, Careers Wales; and for Northern Ireland contact

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Arts managers train on the job. This may be supplemented by short courses to develop relevant skills, e.g. in arts marketing or financial management.

Organisations such as the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) and the Independent Theatre Council (ITC) offer professional development courses.

Arts managers looking to progress their career may study part time towards postgraduate qualifications relating to arts management. Qualifications available include postgraduate certificates, postgraduate diplomas and Masters degrees.

Some arts managers study for specialist marketing, human resources or finance qualifications.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Arts managers should have:

  • Strong interpersonal, communication and team working skills.
  • Creative flair and an awareness of artistic sectors.
  • The ability to recognise how the arts can be used in community projects.
  • A good visual sense.
  • Some understanding of graphic and web design for marketing materials.
  • Outstanding organisational skills.
  • The ability to work to tight deadlines and manage several projects at once.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Initiative.
  • The ability to work with numbers and manage a budget.

Your Long Term Prospects

Although there is no structured career path, arts manager's skills are transferable and various career opportunities are available. These include:

  • Becoming a general manager, director or chief executive of an arts company or local authority arts division.
  • Working for European or international arts projects.
  • Working alongside artistic directors to devise and develop projects.
  • Moving sideways and specialising, e.g. in marketing or fundraising.
  • Becoming self-employed, working as a consultant or setting up a small independent company.

Get Further Information

Arts Council England,
14 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 3NQ
Tel: 0845 300 6200

Arts Marketing Association,
7a Clifton Court, Clifton Road, Cambridge CB1 7BN
Tel: 01223 578078

British Arts Festivals Association,
2nd Floor, 28 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DB
Tel: 020 7240 4532

Independent Theatre Council,
12 The Leathermarket, Weston Street, London SE1 3ER
Tel: 020 7403 1727

International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies

Voluntary Arts Network,
121 Cathedral Road, Pontcanna, Cardiff CF11 9PH
Tel: 02920 395395

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