How to Become an Art Critic


Becoming an art critic might be a great career choice for you, if you have a keen interest in art, you can base your judgments on objective and rational elements, and have a desire to spark discussion and spread awareness of all things artistic.


Attending exhibits, researching artists, building relationships with gallery owners, preparing critiques and keeping up to date with the world of art are all in a day’s work for an art critic. 


If you’re interested in learning more about what it takes to get into this field, read on below! We’ve prepared an overview of what it takes to set the foundation for a career as an art critic. We’ve even included actual “Art Critic" job postings, as well as a list of scholarships that are relevant for getting into this field.



Educational Requirements

Most art critics have at least a bachelor's degree in fine arts, art history, art appreciation or a similar field. It’s important to have education, and experience, in the type of art you’ll be criticizing, as it will give you an informed base for your opinions, as well as professional credibility.


Success Tip: Earning a graduate degree related to art or art history is an excellent means of acquiring the knowledge, the analysis tools and the writing skills to become an art critic.





How to Get into the Field

“How do I become an art critic?”


Even with a proper educational background, it’s difficult to get started in this profession, as it’s an extremely competitive field, within which there isn’t a lot of demand for new critics. Of course, it’s still very much possible to get into the field and reach an audience, especially with the rise of digital media.


To get started while you’re a student, you can try writing for campus and community newspapers, doing art reviews for local cable television stations or writing content for websites or blogs. You should also attend as many arts related functions as possible in order to make contacts and keep approved as to what’s happening in the art world.


It’s also worth noting that some art critics start out as general reporters or staff writers and eventually move into a reviewer or critic’s position when one comes open.


Success Tip: As with many positions in the art world, having a mentor can be of great benefit for learning how to enter this field, and succeed once you’re there.



Art Critic Job Description

“What is an art critic?”


Art critics are responsible for giving their objective and informed opinion and analysis of art works, which include drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, ceramics, collages, prints and others. They might write reviews of individual art works or art exhibitions for the general public, or for a more specialized audience. 



Art Critic Job Duties

“What do they do?”


Art critics are generally responsible for performing the following job-related functions:

• Traveling to galleries, exhibitions and private collections

• Speaking with gallery managers, exhibitors and private owners

• Making informed opinions on various pieces of fine art and communicating those opinions in a well-articulated, objective and honest manner

• Researching the background, personalities, techniques of the artists

• Critiquing a work of art based on knowledge of comparative works, and knowledge of aesthetic value and quality of work

• Interpreting and communication the meaning of a piece of artwork

• Constantly maintaining current knowledge of their field





Are You a Good Fit for This Occupation?

As far as factors for qualifying to work in a job are concerned, being a good fit for a career is just as important as having the proper skill set. While each individual job and each employer may have their nuances, you’ll need the following skills, interests and personal traits to succeed as an art critic, otherwise, you won’t enjoy your work and become dissatisfied with it very quickly:


• You have strong research and organizational skills

• You’re able to maintain objectivity when reviewing art

• You have a keen interest in writing

• You enjoy finding innovative ways to express your views

• You have the ability to communicate clearly, concisely, objectively and in a strong personal voice

• You enjoy stimulating public interest and discussion

• You’re willing to deal with the reality of angry readers and artists 

• You like to work independently, with self-direction

• You're willing to spend time and effort honing your craft outside of ‘working hours’

• You're willing to work your way into a very competitive field

• You want to inform people as to what artistic works they can discover, that they may not know about

• You wish to write for a specific audience, such as those who love to observe, analyze and discuss art, or those who simply want to know about new opportunities to explore artistic works



Art Critic Salary

As with any other career field, the level of pay you could earn as an art critic can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• The size, type and budget of your future employer

• The region in which you will be working

• The specific responsibilities that will be involved in your job

• Your education, skill and experience level, as well as your professional reputation (if applicable)


Art Critic Salary - Canada (Alberta figures only): According to the 2015 Wage and Salary Survey of the Government of Alberta, the average salary level of Albertans working in the Critic occupational group is $72,527 per year. At the time of writing, similar statistics were not available for other provinces or territories, or the whole of Canada.


Art Critic Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Writers & Authors occupational group is $61,820 per year.


Please Note: The above figures are meant only to serve as a general guideline for what you could earn, and are not meant to represent exact figures.



Who Employs Them?

As an art critic, you could work for the following types of organizations:


• Newspapers

• Lifestyle and entertainment magazines (online and/or offline)

• Art related blogs, websites and online magazines

• Radio, television and web-based broadcasters


Some art critics work as full time in-house employees for publications, although many are employed as freelancers. Some are even self-employed as magazine, website or blog owners.


Art critics can also apply their specialized skills and knowledge for other complimentary professional purposes, such as for appraising art, teaching art in university classes, or for working for museums and galleries in a curatorial, or other role.



Current Job Opportunities in Your Area

Check our job board below for open Art Critic postings in your area:



Career Advancement in This Field

“How can my career grow?”


If you’re able to establish yourself as a well-respected and established critic, you will have a few options to grow your career. For example, you could move to a larger publication, or become an editor or publisher. You could also create a blog, website or online publication, or grow your existing one to new levels.



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to art critic, in that they may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities.



• Blogger

• Book Critic

• Broadcast Journalist

• Film Critic

• Journalist

• Photographer

• Restaurant Critic

• Theatre Critic



Scholarships for Becoming an Art Critic

The Relevant Fields of Study section below lists fields of study that are relevant to this profession. You can look for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page (simply select the appropriate major).


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!




Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to work in this field:


OCC info - Occupations in Alberta:Critic.” (March 9, 2016). Government of Alberta - Alberta Learning and Information Service. Retrieved Oct. 5, 2018.


Occupational Employment and Wages:Writers and Authors.” (April 13, 2018). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved Oct. 5, 2018.


Job Descriptions - Fine Art:Art Critic.” (n.d.). Career Planet. Retrieved Oct. 5, 2018.


Fine Arts Careers - Art Career Profiles:How to Work as an Art Critic.” Susan Kendzulak. (July 14, 2017). The Balance Careers. Retrieved Oct. 5, 2018.


Métiers:Art Critic Job Description.” (n.d.). IESA Arts & Culture. Retrieved Oct. 5, 2018.



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming an art critic. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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