Art galleries are located throughout the United States. They range from large, taxpayer-funded galleries such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to university-run galleries such as the Yale University Art Gallery, to private galleries in small towns that specialize in the work of a handful of local artists.
Few people start their careers as gallery owners or directors. Many start as gallery assistants, art consultants, or assistant directors or in some other position in the art industry. If you attend college, an internship at an art gallery is an excellent way to learn about these careers and make valuable contacts. Your college's career services office will also be useful for finding job leads.
Gallery owners don't advance in the same manner as gallery directors or other gallery workers. Instead, they might "advance" by getting the opportunity to display more prestigious works of art or by opening additional galleries or expanding their existing gallery. Some gallery owners become renowned for their knowledge about the art world and are sought out by members of the media to offer commentary on developments in the field.
Advancement opportunities for gallery directors vary according to the size, reputation, and location of the gallery and the interests of the director. Advancement also depends on the individual's work experience and educational background. Some directors may decide to open their own galleries after they have acquired enough experience. Others may work as writers, art consultants, and educators.
Contact art galleries for information on job openings. The Art Dealers Association of America offers a list of member galleries at its Web site, http://artdealers.org/member-galleries.
Attend art shows and exhibitions to network and learn more about art and jobs in the industry.
Talk to art gallery managers and owners to learn about the field. Ask them for advice on breaking into the industry, and let it be known that you are interested in entering the field.