© Q-Art (Tour of Deptford X Festival)

© Q-Art (Tour of Deptford X Festival)


contemporary Art festival director

Contemporary Art Festivals are city or region-wide festivals that invite contemporary artists to exhibit work across a variety of art and non-art venues. They tend to take place within a fixed time frame e.g. 10 days each year and aim to attract wide audiences.  

Festival Directors are responsible for the overall strategic development, leadership, and management of the festival and before they take up this role they are likely to have previous experience of managing events within the arts. The role of a contemporary art festival director will include activities such as fundraising; managing budgets; building and maintaining relationships with project partners; managing a team of staff and volunteers; managing a programme of events and related learning programmes; coordinating marketing and press coverage; risk assessment and evaluation.

What skills do you need to become a contemporary art festival director?

  • Knowledge of, and interest in, the contemporary art sector

  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability build and maintain good working relationships with others

  • Previous experience of delivering large-scale events and projects 

  • A high level of literacy with the ability to write and edit text and promotional copy

  • A high level of numeracy, with the ability to set and manage budgets 

  • Strong organisational skills and an ability to work to deadlines and under pressure

  • Knowledge (ideally) of the area in which the festival is located

How do I become a contemporary art festival director?

  • Study a related subject such as art or events management at degree level

  • Get experience of working with arts organisations and galleries in a variety of roles such as curating, public programming and those mentioned above

  • Get experience of events management by designing, planning and putting on your own events

Where next? 

Look up other roles in the visual arts including:

Commercial Art Gallery Manager

Art Curator

Art Writer