Duties of a gallery assistant

Written by kj henderson
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Duties of a gallery assistant
Gallery assistants prepare the facility for exhibitions. (sign. exhibition image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

A gallery assistant is a junior-level professional who assists a gallery manager by performing a variety of manual tasks needed to ensure that the gallery operates efficiently. According to job search website Indeed.com, in 2010, the average yearly income earned by those in this position is £23,400. A candidate for this position must be in good physical condition, as the duties will require him to lift heavy objects, as well as kneel, walk and stand for long periods of time.

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As the gallery mounts and ends exhibitions, the gallery assistant is required to physically install and uninstall the various works. In support of this task, she receives and unpacks all artwork. She patches and paints walls. She may also have to climb ladders, so she may accurately measure, space and hang photographs, portraits and other forms of visual art. In addition, she may have to install lighting, positioning spotlights and changing bulbs as necessary. Following the conclusion of an exhibition, she must remove all artwork from the venue, storing it in its proper location. She also packs purchased artwork for shipping.


There is an abundance of work to be accomplished prior to a gallery hosting a reception. The gallery assistant prepares the venue for the event. He sweeps and mops the floors. He sets up any tables and seating that is required. He directs caterers, communicating multiple instructions, such as where to set up. In some instances, he may serve as caterer. In this capacity, he purchased and prepares all food that is to be served. He also tends bar. Throughout the course of the reception, he serves as a monitor, answering any basic questions visitors may have about the gallery and work being presented. Following an event, he cleans the space, sweeping and mopping as necessary.


In addition to the artistic tasks of running a gallery, a gallery assistant performs a variety of operational duties. She opens and closes the facility. She answers the telephones and responds to incoming correspondence. She may also prepare brochures and other literature for mailings. When prospective customers visit the establishment, she answers any basic questions they may have. She performs any additional ad hoc administrative tasks such as faxing, filing and photocopying as required. In addition, she may maintain the gallery’s records and archives.

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