Should You Be Working for an Arts Charity?
Think about all the museums you’ve been to in your life. Now ask yourself, how are these museums funded? And who is involved in the day-to-day running and upkeep? What most people don’t realise is that many art foundations and museums are actually charities and non-profits. They rely on private donations, government funding and the support of their local community. And they’re always after bright, eager candidates to join their team and help them to continue to flourish.
Working for an arts charity can offer an unparalleled level of job satisfaction and sense of fulfilment. Wherever your passions lie, whether it’s music, painting, or ballet, you can follow it. And working in an area you’re genuinely interested in will make you the best champion of your cause.
Think a job in an arts charity or museum may be right for you? Let’s take a closer look.
What is an arts charity?
Talk to any artist and they’ll tell you that art is a broad concept. Almost anything can be interpreted as art as long as it’s driving some sort of message. That’s probably why so many people are excited by the prospect of working for an arts charity; it speaks to them on both a visceral and intellectual level. So what does it take to work in this sector and what sorts of things do these charities actually do?
Arts charities can be anything from museums and galleries to theatres and world heritage sites. It can mean working in places such as The Tate, The National History Museum or the National Youth Theatre, as well as organisations involved in community outreach and aid. In fact, in the UK a large proportion of arts and cultural organisations are part of the third sector, we just don’t always think of them in that context.
Why do they need funding?
The short answer: to keep the doors open. Those big national bodies wouldn’t be where they are today without the donations that enable them to be at the forefront of their fields. It’s the funding that The Royal Shakespeare Company generates which allows them to put on the finest productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Donations are also what permits galleries to attract great talents and nurture new ones.
Many arts charities put their funding into research, supporting artists and bringing the arts to those for whom they might not be quite so accessible, such as in poor and deprived areas. Through outreach work, they are able to champion the talents of those that may not have otherwise been recognised. Additionally, a number of arts charities acknowledge the therapeutic and transformative qualities of art and bring them into people’s lives for the better.
There’s a whole spectrum of charities who use the arts to lift the spirits of those in hospital, to give carers a break or moment of relief, to bring change to those in prison, and to boost self-esteem and support amongst the disabled and other marginalised communities. Whatever work it is they undertake, raising funds is absolutely crucial to enable them to do it.
Why get involved?
If you’re passionate about art, working for a charity that promotes and preserves it is a bit of a no brainer. For fundraisers and marketers, it’s easy to get excited about what already interests you, which means you can pass on that enthusiasm much more readily when encouraging others to donate or participate in events. Working for an arts charity can also often mean access to really great assets such as event spaces, wonderful buildings, and artists themselves – making putting on a fundraiser a whole lot easier!
There are many people who love arts and culture but can’t be involved as an artist themselves. If you’re one of them, then working for an arts charity is a great way to carve out a career based on your interests. You may well find that immersing yourself in cultural events and attending them is part of your job role – so if that’s something you enjoy anyway then great! It can even be an amazing backstage pass to meet people your heroes, particularly if it’s a theatre, orchestra or gallery you’re working for. In the world of arts charities, it’s easy to find your passion and your work seamlessly colliding.
Think this may be the right career path for you? Take a look at what jobs are available in the arts and starting applying today.