The China Canvas – Professional Skills in the Art Galleries Sector

In 2010, key national art galleries were formally recognised, as a way of promoting art gallery development across the country. From nine early ratifications, including the National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum and Guangdong Museum of Art, there were further additions, such as Zhejiang Art Museum and the Wuhan Art Museum.

Alongside the museums sector, over the last 10 years, China’s art galleries (both private and public) have grown further, and faster, than ever – driven by preferential tax breaks and government-driven incentives for the collection and donation of artworks. However, there remains an acknowledged skills gap in the professional workforce that “falls far short of the widely accepted requirements”.

The British Council, with the support of the UK government’s China Prosperity Fund, commissioned the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing to undertake preliminary desk research to examine, analyse and evaluate the relevant “soft skills” required in China, to match the Gallery sector’s development.

This introductory report examines the existing infrastructure (and international readiness) of China’s Galleries sector, with key areas including cultural policies, current higher education in the fine arts, as well as addressing some of the galleries’ professional development needs.