Arts administrators play an important part in the development of new projects, making arrangements for tours and events and taking on marketing and planning responsibilities

As an arts administrator, you'll plan and organise activities and projects, with the aim of facilitating the work of artists and arts programmes.

You could work within a range of organisations in the arts sector, including:

  • arts festivals and centres
  • community and disability arts organisations
  • dance companies
  • local authorities and arts councils
  • theatres, galleries and museums.

The work is varied and the type of tasks you'll carry out will depend on the size of your organisation and the service it provides. Your work could include:

  • budget management
  • customer care
  • education
  • front of house administration
  • programming
  • sponsorship.

Many arts-related organisations rely heavily on funding, which affects the staffing structure they can maintain. Therefore the amount of job vacancies and opportunities may fluctuate.


As an arts administrator, you'll need to:

  • plan and organise logistics relating to events, buildings, performers or artists and other personnel
  • work to secure funding for venues or specific events
  • arrange venues, security, catering and sale of tickets
  • handle the programming for events, including booking performances and making arrangements for tours in the UK and abroad
  • market performances and events through social media, direct mail, advertising, websites, posters or publicity leaflets and attract media coverage
  • plan and manage budgets
  • develop new projects and initiatives in consultation with arts professionals and key stakeholders (e.g. local authorities, local government and communities, venue directors and regional arts boards)
  • write or contribute to publications which accompany events and activities
  • use skills in press liaison, public relations, arts-related law and accountancy
  • provide administrative support to managers, directors and boards of trustees
  • take responsibility for operational and office management issues such as venue accessibility, health and safety issues and building maintenance
  • implement and maintain office and information systems
  • recruit and train staff
  • schedule meetings and take minutes
  • ensure corporate and legal requirements are complied with, and report to the board of directors
  • carry out strategic planning and make managerial decisions - this is usually a requirement in more senior roles.


  • Starting salaries range from £15,000 to £20,000. Salary scales are often related to local government administrators.
  • Experienced arts administrators could earn £20,000 to £33,000.
  • Typical salaries at senior management or chief executive level range from £35,000 to £60,000+ depending on the size of organisation.

With experience you may become a freelance consultant and at that point you could earn a higher income depending on the nature of the contracts you secure. Positions at all levels attract higher salaries in and around London.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

The hours you work will vary but will typically be around 37 to 40 hours a week in full-time positions. If you're involved in performances, exhibitions and festivals you may need to work some evenings and weekends.

Smaller organisations may only be able to offer part-time roles or fixed-term contracts due to fluctuations in funding.

What to expect

  • The working week may be divided between office-based work and visits to venues or partner organisations, involving regional or national travel.
  • In large organisations, you're likely to specialise in a particular area of arts administration, whereas in smaller organisations you could be responsible for the day-to-day running of projects and venues and work across all activities.
  • Jobs are available across the UK.
  • The arts sector has a strong commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and welcomes applications from underrepresented groups. The Arts Council England has information on relevant schemes and reports including access to work initiatives and creating inclusive workplaces.
  • For some posts, absence from home overnight is required on occasion, usually for festivals or exhibitions. Overseas work is uncommon unless the organisation regularly tours abroad or has specific connections with other countries.


It's not essential for you to have a degree but many arts administrators do have some form of higher level qualification. Useful subjects, either at degree, diploma or certificate level, that may give you an advantage include:

  • arts administration options in other arts-related courses
  • art history
  • arts management
  • business-related studies, e.g. finance, logistics, marketing and human resources
  • English and literary studies
  • events and entertainment management
  • performing arts
  • visual arts and design.

You could also get into the role via an apprenticeship in an area such as administration or events. To see what's available, Find an apprenticeship.

Entry without a degree, diploma, certificate or related qualification is possible via a secretarial, support or assistant role. You should then be able to work your way up as you gain relevant experience. It might also be possible to become an arts administrator if you have experience at a similar level within another area of administration.

A pre-entry postgraduate qualification, such as arts or cultural administration or management, is not essential but might be useful. However, it may be difficult to gain financial support for one of these courses. You might consider undertaking a part-time course over two years, so that you can work at the same time. It may also be possible to secure Research Council funding.

Some courses include placements in arts organisations that help you to build contacts and relevant experience, while the more competitive courses usually require you to come equipped with prior experience. Before undertaking a postgraduate course, do your research and make sure it's going to help your chosen career path.


You will need:

  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • organisational skills, with a good eye for detail
  • knowledge of, and an interest in, the arts
  • awareness of the specific arts activities and events in the area in which you are applying
  • ability to work independently, as well as part of a team, meet deadlines and manage a number of projects at the same time and with accuracy
  • administrative skills and ability to work to budgets
  • excellent IT skills including spreadsheets, social media and database management
  • high-quality customer service
  • a flexible approach to work and an openness to new ideas
  • knowledge of political and economic issues affecting the arts sector.

Work experience

Jobs in the arts are highly competitive. It's therefore important to get pre-entry experience in administration, management or the arts through work experience, voluntary work or an internship.

Administrative skills alone are not usually enough and should be supplemented with more specific experience in arts projects and events, perhaps while at university, for example:

  • promoting a drama society
  • helping to organise drama productions or concerts
  • writing reviews of productions
  • staging an art exhibition
  • organising and gaining sponsorship for events.

Anything from volunteering in a local art gallery to carrying out temporary work at a theatre or arts festival will be relevant. Try to become involved in as many areas as possible and be sure to demonstrate your passion for the sector. Any contacts you build up may be useful later on. Search for volunteer opportunities near you on websites such as:

Arts magazines, websites and social media pages are a valuable source of information for upcoming events and projects that you may wish to visit or become involved with. Relevant resources include:

Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.


You can be employed as an arts administrator in any organisation that has responsibility for organising, planning and delivering artistic or cultural events. These include:

  • arts centres
  • arts festivals
  • concert venues
  • galleries
  • local authority venues
  • museums
  • orchestras
  • photography and media centres
  • theatres
  • touring companies.

There are many government-funded initiatives and local partnerships that employ administrators on various short and longer-term contracts.

Many of these projects focus on development of arts activity in both urban and rural communities with a view to stimulating local economic development, addressing social inclusion and ultimately building stronger communities.

You could also find work with local authorities, usually in leisure and recreation or planning and development departments.

Other organisations that employ arts administrators include arts councils and bodies involved in grant aiding, such as:

It's likely that you'll need to have some experience within arts administration to secure a role in one of these bodies.

Look for job vacancies at:

Networking and establishing contacts is a crucial part of developing your career and finding opportunities.

Professional development

Continuing professional development (CPD) is needed to maintain your sector knowledge and support career progression. You'll need to undertake training in a variety of areas such as accountancy, HR, law or marketing.

There are various organisations that provide relevant training opportunities. These include the:

There are groups on social media dedicated to arts administration which encourage knowledge sharing as well as providing opportunities for networking.

Career prospects

Jobs and promotion within arts administration are highly sought after and competition is strong. As a result, it may be necessary to relocate or commute further in order to move jobs and gain experience.

Progression may include becoming a general manager, head of administration, director or chief executive of an arts company or local authority arts division.

Another option is to work freelance once you have built up significant experience and contacts. You could also consider becoming a consultant, undertaking research and feasibility studies and contributing to the development of arts policies for a range of establishments.

Getting involved in project partnerships between European and British arts companies, where European artists are brought to Britain, may open up opportunities for working overseas.

With experience, you could make the transition from arts sector administration into public, private or voluntary sector posts, or into the media industry in a role such as arts agent or promoter. Such a move may provide greater career development and promotion opportunities.

Alternatively, you may decide to specialise in a specific area of work such as:

  • communications
  • education
  • events organising
  • HR
  • marketing
  • PR
  • programme management.

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