An art consultant is a professional who advises individuals and businesses in the purchasing of works of art. A professional in this field might help a restaurant to purchase decorative art for a dining room, advise an investor who is interested in putting money into art, or work with organizations that wish to commission new works. To become an art consultant, it can be helpful to first earn a degree or gain valuable experience in the art world. It can also be helpful to associate with established professionals and to find a firm or gallery for which to work.
While there are no certifications or degrees required to become an art consultant, many individuals who work in this field do have academic backgrounds in the discipline. A good first step toward becoming an art consultant might be to enroll in an art history program. In these courses, you can learn about different movements and schools of art, as well as to appraise different kinds of art, such as painting, sculpture, and video art.
Gaining valuable experience is another way to become an art consultant. Many professionals start out working in galleries. They may help to set up shows and perform administrative work, such as data entry and communicating with artists and clients. Managing financial aspects of art is a big part of an art consultant's job. For this reason, getting a firsthand education in how works of art are bought and sold can be effective training and can also make you a more desirable employee in the future.
As in most industries, moving up in the art world is often a matter of meeting the right people. In other words, forming business relationships with dealers, collectors, and artists is a great way to become an art consultant. If you develop a good reputation in the industry and people have a good experience working with you, they will be more likely to recommend you for positions and write letters of reference.
While much art consultants work as independent contractors, a good way to get started is to work for a firm, gallery, or museum. These organizations all need individual art consultants who can assist them in pricing and choosing works of art. The more experience you have in this field, the more likely you can be to fill positions with higher profiles. Professionals who work independently often have years of experience working for organizations that prove them to be proficient and knowledgeable art consultants.