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

Arts Administration

Arts administration, also known as arts management, is composed of professionals working behind the scenes to operate the business side of an arts or cultural organization. Arts administrators are the bridge between art, artists and audiences. 


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 / Music

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. 

Skills to develop for success in this field

  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment 
  • Active listening  
  • Adaptability  
  • Attention to detail 
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Multitasking  
  • Organizational skills 
  • Problem solving 
  • Time management 
  • Verbal and written communication 
  • Willingness to learn  

Online resources specific to the industry

  • Vault is a career engagement platform that empowers career seekers by providing powerful insights, unique resources, and impactful relationships so that you can discover your best next step.  Find invaluable resources, such as, premier employer profiles, rankings and reviews, field of study/occupational insights and guides,and career preparedness training and materials.

Job posting and career information sites relevant to the field: 

  • American Alliance of Museums: Identify jobs and career resources related to museum work.  
  • Backstage: Backstage is a resource for actors and performers to find high-quality roles to match their interests and career goals in theater, film, tv and more.  
  • Chicago Artists Coalition :Chicago based careers in the arts.  
  • Idealist: Internship, volunteer and job postings in the nonprofit sector including areas within the arts, culture and other mission-oriented causes.  
  • New England Conservatory's Bridge: Opportunities in music and arts administration, including auditions, teaching positions, administrative positions, competitions, grants, scholarships, and festivals.  
  • NPO: Connects non-profit organizations with purpose-driven professionals to find jobs and internships.  
  • Playbill: Theatre related opportunities: acting, internships, administrative, design, technical, and all other stage employment. 
  • The Association of Art Museum Curators: Fulltime, internship and fellowship opportunities  

Key information or knowledge for this field

Getting your foot in the door: 

  • Volunteer with the organization. Showing your interest in the mission and goals of that organization by putting in the time and effort on a volunteer basis further shows your commitment. One of the great benefits is that you will be able to engage with staff and get to know them, becoming a recognizable face to the organization. Volunteering gives you access to informational interviews to learn about the work. 
  • Start with internships. Be open to opportunities you may not have thought of initially. Getting a full-time job without previous experience in the arts can be very challenging. Most organizations consider people who have previous experience within the arts and taking on an internship as a first step will help you get familiar with the organization and also showcase your work. 
  • Networking:  Visit the arts organization if they have patron visits available and engage with the staff where appropriate. Attend their hosted events and introduce yourself so you connect with people after the event as well. 
    • Join the Northwestern Alumni Association
    • Use LinkedIn to search for alumni and join relevant groups
    • Join the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program
    • Attend arts and culture related campus-based events and speakers 

Relevant student groups and professional organizations

Northwestern Student Groups: 

External Professional Organizations: