The term gallery education is used to describe the work done in and with the visual arts and galleries to broaden understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts – through projects and programmes that help people of all ages become confident in their understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts and galleries.
Gallery education continues to develop in response to changes in art practice, changes in audience needs, and changes in formal and informal education.
Many galleries and art museums around the world now have gallery education departments, and gallery education programmes organised and delivered by gallery education staff, working with artist-educators, artists, teachers, professional partners and community leaders.
Many gallery educators do some or all of the following, but the make-up of the job depends on the size of the gallery and programme:
- Run practical workshops for people of all ages
- Give tours of exhibitions and facilitate discussion sessions
- Organise workshops and other projects
- Co-ordinate and manage projects and staff
- Work together with other gallery staff, artists, teachers, community groups
- Raise money for projects and programmes
- Run outreach projects (outside of the gallery)
- Work with curators in developing information about exhibitions
- Work with the reception or front of house staff
- Organise training for teachers
- Evaluate projects
- Devise education programmes and strategies for their gallery
- Work with curatorial staff on exhibition programmes
Some gallery educators work full-time and others part-time for particular galleries. Others are freelance and are employed to work on different projects by a range of different galleries or organisations.