Arts

Career Information 

The Arts can be divided in several different ways including arts administration, museums/galleries, performing arts/theatres and visual arts.

Arts Administration

Also known as arts management, professionals in this industry work behind the scenes to operate the business side of an arts or cultural organization. Arts administrators are the bridge between art, artists and audiences.

Museums/Galleries 

The focus of museums and galleries is on preservation and exhibition. They are operated by nonprofits and for-profits including colleges, universities and every level of government. Some are managed by a large staff and others are run solely by volunteers.

Performing Arts / Theatres 

Performing arts include those who perform on stage, as well as those who work “behind the scenes.”

Visual Arts 

Professionals in this industry create work visual in nature. The visual arts can be divided into four categories: commercial art, fine art, craft, and multimedia art.

Recruiting Timelines & Methods 

Tips for Success 

To successfully navigate the internship and job search process, it is important to take an active approach to networking and expanding your Northwestern career network because most people in the arts find work through networking. As soon as you know what areas within the Arts interest you, start reaching out to personal connections, alumni, and others who work in the industry to build relationships to advance your career in the Arts (see Get Involved, Network, & Find Opportunities within each industry/profession below).

Skills to be successful in the arts vary by specific industry but include: 

  • strong interpersonal skills
  • attention to detail
  • ability to multitask
  • organizational skills
  • time management
  • verbal and written communication
  • ability to work collaboratively in a team environment

Job & Internship Search 

Internship Advice

Finding an internship within the arts can be very competitive, but having internship experience will greatly help you when looking for a fulltime job. For performing arts specifically, summer opportunities may be called apprenticeships as opposed to internships. There are some clearly defined internship programs for larger organizations, but don’t be afraid to initiate contact with smaller organizations to gain hands-on experience.

Fulltime Job Advice

Finding a fulltime job within the arts is even more competitive, but internship experience and continually networking will increase your chances of success. For theatre specifically, post-graduate apprenticeship programs exist both for production and arts administration, to provide professional experience and bridge the gap between school and the professional theatre.

 

Arts Administration: 

Where Students Intern/Work: Orchestras, Theatres, Dance Companies, Museums, Galleries, Educational Institutions, Arts Centers/Agencies, Arts Festivals, Operas.

Sample Intern/Job Titles:

  • Booking Agent
  • Communications Manager
  • Development Associate
  • Education & Outreach Coordinator
  • Entertainment Promoter
  • Event Planner
  • Marketing Manager
  • Program Coordinator
  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Talent Manager
  • Volunteer Coordinator

Resources

Internship/Job Resources

Professional Organizations (*Also may have internship/job postings):

Museums / Galleries:

Where Students Intern/Work: National & Local Museums (art, national, historical, science), Art Galleries, Aquariums, Arboretums/Botanic Gardens, Culture Centers, Historic Sites, Planetariums, Zoos.

Sample Intern/Job Titles:

  • Architect
  • Art Dealer
  • Art Sales Associate
  • Artist
  • Assistant Curator
  • Conservator
  • Curator
  • Educator
  • Exhibit Designer
  • Gallery Assistant
  • Gallery Intern
  • Museum Technician
  • Photographer

Resources:

Internship/Job Resources:

Professional Organizations (*Also may have internship/job postings):

Performing Arts / Theatres: 

Where Students Intern/Work: Performance Centers, Theatres, Dance Companies, Performing Artists Troupes, Touring Companies, Festivals, Orchestras, Operas, Community Organizations, Colleges/Universities/Schools, Amusement & Theme Parks, Cruise Lines.

Sample Intern/Job Titles:

  • Actor
  • Acting Coach
  • Casting Agent
  • Costume Designer
  • Dancer
  • Development Associate
  • Director/Producer
  • Dramaturg/Literary Manager
  • Makeup Artist
  • Musician
  • Playwright
  • Opera Singer
  • Special Effects Technician
  • Talent Agent
  • Theatre Educator
  • Theatre Manager

Resources:

Internship/Job Resources:

Professional Organizations (*Also may have internship/job postings):

Visual Arts: 

Where Students Intern/Work: Self Employed/Freelance, Advertising, Computers, Film, Publishing, Software industries, Colleges/Universities/Schools.

Sample Job Titles:

  • Animator
  • Art Teachers
  • Fashion Designer
  • Filmmaker
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Multimedia Artist
  • Painter
  • Photographer
  • Sculptor

*Formal internships are rare, as it is more about working on the creation of the visual art, and getting your art shown/known.

Resources:

Internship/Job Resources:

Professional Organizations (*Also may have internship/job postings):

Resumes & Cover Letters

Resumes

Students pursuing positions within this industry may have both a performance and “non-performance” or industry-specific version of their resume, particularly those interested in opportunities in both performing arts and arts administration. It’s important to include your transferable skills on your resume, which are skills you have acquired during any activity in your life that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in a particular position. You can find transferable skills from your performance experience, film/TV experience, leadership experience, activities, etc.

Arts Administration Resume Sample

Non-Performance Resume Sample

Cover Letters

When applying to positions in this industry, ensure your cover letter emphasizes your passion for the organization and the industry. It is appropriate for your writing to be more narrative and/or creative while still being professional, and following standard cover letter format

Get Involved

Northwestern student groups, professional organizations, and the Northwestern alumni network can provide students with an opportunity to gain the skills and experience needed for a career in the arts. These opportunities can also develop students’ networking skills, a critical component of the job and internship search within this industry.

Arts Administration:

Professional Organizations (*Also may have internship/job postings):

Museums/Galleries:

Professional Organizations (*Also may have internship/job postings):

Performing Arts/Theatres:

Professional Organizations (*Also may have internship/job postings):

Visual Arts:

Professional Organizations (*Also may have internship/job postings):