Assistant Gallery Directory 

(Female, Age 22) from Alexandria, VA

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 22 who works as a Assistant Gallery Directory in Alexandria, VA. We have removed all names and personal information in order to protect privacy. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete one of our job profile surveys so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job Title Assistant Gallery Directory
Salary $22,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week 42
Company Size (not answered)
Location Alexandria, VA
Years Experience 3 months

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career 0
Education (not answered)
Income Rating 0 / 10
Interest Rating 0 / 10
Work-Life Rating 0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating 0 / 10

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
A large arts non-profit that runs a membership art gallery and an art school. The gallery hosts monthly juried shows available to members only, as well as opportunities for solo shows, workshops and critiques.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
As Assistant Director, I am expected to perform and be knowledgeable about all obligations of the Director, to be able to work in her absence and make decisions. As a non-profit membership gallery, we hope is to provide guidance to our emerging artists about moving forward in their careers. We also see that shows are juried and hung smoothly; provide feedback on artists’ work from the jurors; and inform them of resources and opportunities. Due to our location, the gallery sees thousands of visitors per month. When visitors are interested in seeing more work by a particular artist, we work between the artist and potential client to hopefully produce a sale. Administrative tasks include membership database oversight and basic bookkeeping.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
Retirement plan 301b, HMO health insurance, 1 week sick leave and 1 week vacation (both paid) per year

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
Due to the large amount of visitors the gallery sees day to day, I am constantly answering questions, explaining artworks to people, and negotiating sales. Because we are a membership gallery (there are over 1000), we also deal with their questions about shows, submission requirements, and other such inquiries. I enjoy this aspect of my job because I enjoy helping artists move forward, and I also greatly enjoy negotiating sales and bringing visitors to see the value of purchasing pieces before them.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
With some long-term projects, we work collaboratively on different aspects of them. The majority of our collaboration is talking about new marketing ideas or opportunities for artist members.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 6
Benefits: 5
Hours: 4
Co-Workers: 6
Supervisors: 2
Job Title: 2
Level of Responsibility: 1
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am
8am to 9am
9am to 10am
10am to 11am Day began at 10:30am; Checked voice messages and e-mail and responded; Went over my to-do list for the day
11am to 12pm Posted to gallery’s blog about the evening’s painting critique taking place in the gallery; checked visitor stats and recorded for future analysis
12pm to 1pm Worked on finishing touches to gallery’s photo gallery on web site for current show – updating titles and artists accompanying images, price list; Supervised the volunteer for the day in calling artists who needed to pick up work
1pm to 2pm Worked on award winner images in photoshop to send to Communications Dir to use for press releases; Lunch
2pm to 3pm Member came in who I had chatted with on the phone a few days ago; She brought in another member she wanted to sign up and also asked me to update her email address in our system
3pm to 4pm Went through referral book (we make notes when we refer clients to artists in the gallery) and followed up to artists with e-mails asking if deals went through with clients
4pm to 5pm In database, entered client purchases and artist commissions for the month thus far; Proofread membership renewal email that Director planned to send that day
5pm to 6pm Read up on local art blogs and art news articles; scanning for opportunities for our artists, and art business seminars and workshops that might be useful for me to attend; Discussed upcoming event schedule with Gallery Director
6pm to 7pm Stayed for part of the critique in the gallery that evening
7pm to 8pm
8pm to 9pm
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

Table of Contents

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
Internet Ad on Non-profit job site

What was the application process?
Submitted resume and cover letter

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes. My initial interview was with the Gallery Director, the Human Resources Manager, the Deputy Director and the Executive Director. My second interview was with the Gallery Director alone, and I was hired that day.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Talk about a difficult situation at a previous job and how you handled it. What interested you in this organization/job? What are your responsibilities at your current job? Can you describe your job history and duties?

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. She thoroughly explained everything step by step and gave me the time to digest and learn as we went.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
There was training in the sense that I had to understand their filing and record-keeping system. It was done mostly on a learn by doing basis, as situations arose.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes. My art history degree helps me talk about and judge art effectively, as well as understand the visual challenges faced by member artists.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
My marketing internship led to an Associate position. Marketing, I feel, is a great background for selling art and promoting the gallery. From all my internships, I learned a tremendous amount about how every aspect of a non-profit and an arts business works.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
With both commercial and non-profit arts organizations, it is really important to do a lot of interning and in various positions. You want a well-rounded view of development, marketing and sales. You should also, obviously, have an art history background and have worked in at least one commercial gallery before getting a higher-level position like Assistant Director. It is also extremely important to have a finger on the pulse of the local art scene – to become familiar with the names of critics, newspapers, artists and the like, and the galleries in the area and the type of work they show.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
You have to be willing to deal with people, but you also have to hold your own. When the gallery has certain rules or policies, you must not be afraid to stand up for them. You need critical reading skills to be able to evaluate critical writing on art, as well as great writing skills to help artists write and edit their professional materials like resumes and artist statements. You must ingenuity to find no- or low-cost marketing tools. You also need great social skills for networking and promoting the gallery and your artists convincingly by word of mouth.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
BA in Art History or Studio Art (Art History is better) and varied experience in arts organizations; or MA Art History, Arts Administration

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Start by interning in a non-profit arts organization (performing or visual arts) – they always need the extra help. Marketing, I think, is one of the best places to start because it relates to every other department or position you will ever hold in these types of organizations.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes. I hope to eventually work as an independent art dealer/consultant. One can only be successful in such work after having worked in many different types of galleries and art organizations. Each one brings a new angle to how to run such a business. Also by working in these organizations, one builds contacts which will eventually prove useful.

What are your current career goals?
I hope to be an independent art dealer/consultant, working with specific artists who I promote, and working with clients to fit their art needs. I want to help clients buy work within their budget, and be able to evaluate the investment value of each piece. I also hope to make art buying less intimidating for them. By representing specific artists, I want to advocate hard for their careers and move them forward.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?
There are so many directions you can take in the art world. It’s hard to know which way you want to go until you just start working in the field. It’s not the end of the world if you end up in a job for a while that turns out not to be what you expected. The experience helps you in the next angle you’ll take.

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

Title Length Salary Description
Prior Job 1 Summer Assistant 4 months 0 Oversight of gallery in director’s absence; coordinating printing of show invitations and catalogs; writing and sending press releases
Prior Job 2 Development Intern 4 months 0 Press release writing; Cataloging press clippings; working with contact databases EARLIER: Intern for Career Development for a Non-Profit Visual Arts Organization/Gallery; Webmaster for a Non-profit performing arts organization; Marketing Intern, then Associate for a large non-profit performing arts organization

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:

GPA School Degree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3.7 CUA BA Art History, Philosophy
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)

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