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The White Pube
Photography Megan Winstone

How can I survive in the arts when it comes to money? The White Pube advise

In their latest Dazed column, art agony aunts Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad suggest jobs within the art world that will keep you afloat while working on your own stuff

In their ongoing Dazed Voices column, art writers and curators The White Pube answer your burning questions about the industry, in a way only they can 

Anonymous: Dear white pube I am doing an art foundation course in college and I want to go to uni next, but i wanted to ask how can I survive in the arts when it comes to money. can you do it with no income outside art jobs, and if you don’t have parental support or savings? What literally are the jobs, side jobs and good money skills to pick up? i’m worried and hope you can help

The White Pube: I realised about half way through my Fine Art degree that I didn’t want to be an artist, but I didn’t wanna not be in the arts either. maybe i could be a critic or curator instead? idk idk. I still wanted to be here but I didn’t know which direction to go in. I didn’t have a map or a clue, and whenever I asked questions no one knew what to say to me to make me feel better about the situation. no one would show me the way. why does a livelihood in the arts stay such a mystery? there are things you can do, and ways to do them, and it IS possible to make it work - that i know now. so i’ve put together a master list of jobs in the arts based on my own experience but also the wider stories of our generous followers on twitter dot com, all in the aid of making it clearer for ya. please find below all the random ways u can make money from arts-related stuff outside of being a full-time artist.

“I didn’t have a map or a clue, and whenever I asked questions no one knew what to say to me to make me feel better about the situation. no one would show me the way. why does a livelihood in the arts stay such a mystery?” – The White Pube

Not all galleries and festivals have these roles but this is generally the structure or thereabouts, which is good to lay out in case there’s something in there you didn’t know about already and want to work towards now:


Personal Assistant to the Director

Deputy Director


Assistant Curator

Learning Curator / Curator of Learning / Education Consultant

Film Curator, Performance Curator, Curator of Costume and Textiles etc. etc.

Curator in Residence / Curatorial Fellow

Head of Programme

Programme Co-ordinator

Programme Assistant

Head of Engagement

Participation Manager

Diversity Officer


Exhibitions Registrar & Project Manager

Partnerships & Live Co-ordinator

Head of Research / Researcher / Research Assistant

Communications Manager / Marketing Assistant / Marketing Officer

Head of Development

Development Director / Development Officer

Director of Collection Care


Art Handling Technician

Production Technician / Arts Technician

Visitor Services Manager

Gallery Assistant / Visitor Assistant / Engagement Assistant / Invigilator

Intern / Volunteer 

Other gallery things:

Being on panel talks

Running workshops

Stewarding public art (both invigilation and stewarding give u a chance to learn to speak about art and importantly how to speak to the public about it)

Gallery cleaning

Gallery gift shops (as @robin__craig tweets ‘gallery shops are more interested in hiring art students bc they have bg knowledge of artist products’)

Social media (idk how old you are but if you’re young use your age as leverage)

Interpretation (writing press releases and wall texts)

VR/3D scans of galleries and exhibitions

Documenting exhibitions and events

Freelance work*:

Selling your art (or other people’s for that matter)

Selling prints of your art

Selling merchandise of your own work

Artwork commissions (portraits, murals for bars, restaurants and community centres etc).

Personal assistant for artists

Documenting art for artists

Video production and editing: gallery videos, artist interviews, artist videos, documentaries, music videos

Graphic design: logos, branding for artists, galleries, projects, web design, book jackets, publications, event posters

Graphic design liaison (goes between client and designer)


Life drawing model

Life drawing teacher

Writing: art reviews, art journalism, artist statements

Bid writing

Translation for art texts

Subtitling and transcription

Art technician (joinery, painting, AV, programming etc.)

Sound technician for live events 

Other work:

Picture framers

Art law firm

Auction house


Art supplies shop

Studio manager


Lecturer, tutor, course leader (courses, night classes, summer schools, ALCs, prisons)

Visiting artist

Graduate intern

Art technician

Art school library

Art school shop

Course representatives on open days

Assisting tutors (might be practicing artists who can hire you to support projects and research)

*If you have a following for what you do, you could set up a Patreon account for monthly support from fans or readers.

** if you work in education, you might have access to certain privileges like access to Adobe Creative Cloud and MS Office, library services, and Apple Education Discount too

How you get these jobs is a mess of hustle, who you know, volunteering time, and asking for what u want (shy kids don’t get sweets and all that); I don’t think this is the way it should be but i’m not god so here we are. As you write, you are currently on a foundation course and hoping to go to uni next so yours is a good place to start. When it comes to the end of year exhibition or the degree show, is there something you could get involved with there? for example the marketing of the show - making a poster for it, sorting out social media and emailing invites. you could help with the installing of the exhibition, or hold an auction after it or something. basically what I’m saying is use that as an opportunity to kickstart your CV. If you’re not on a course, is there an exhibition at a gallery nearby you can ask to help with - and not just big, big galleries but smaller artist-run spaces. I feel like this is the hard bit. is there an artist or curator in the vicinity whose work you appreciate? bc you could always email them like ‘Hello, I am interested in the work you do and in particular I really enjoyed [insert something they did here]. I am starting off working in the art world but unfortunately I don’t have much experience. I would love to find out more and I wanted to ask if I could shadow you for a day’ or something like that, but with a bit more warmth. That one day might become a long term job assisting an artist, or in any case it will widen your network and you might go onto be recommended for a job with someone and something else. After that, there’s Arts Jobs, Art Quest, and depending on where u are there might be local arts postings - here people check Art In Liverpool.

I really hope this helps. I’m sure there are gaps in the list but i know this is something i wish I had been handed when i was midway through my own degree and panicking because i didn’t wanna be an artist and i didn’t know what to do. honestly good luck, hope you figure it out.