5 Key Players of the Art World You Need To Know

By Neera Sehgal

Any idea who are the movers and shakers of the art world…the influential players who have the power to turn around this vibrant industry? Though the art space has a number of constituents, there are five principal players that form the core structure of this creative community. These include the artist, the dealer, the curator, the critic, the collector, and each plays a pivotal role.


They are the prop, the mainstay of the art world! They make art…but is churning out good art enough? Their beautiful vision and creative endeavors have to be recognized and appreciated to help build a career and open up opportunities. The artwork needs to be valued and receive serious consideration by galleries, exhibitions, biennials, and collectors alike.


Dealers are essentially the supporters and promoters of an artist’s work.  Their primary role is to spot talent, nurture an artist’s career, generate exposure and establish his/her reputation. An art dealer handles the advertising, public relations and the mounting of exhibitions for an artist in exchange for a commission at the sale of the work.


Curators have an eye and passion for all art forms. They use their extensive knowledge of the subject and organizational skills to coordinate exhibitions at museums, galleries or public spaces. Curators are responsible for the conceptual development, design, layout and the execution of an art show. Art curators also research artists and write catalogue essays.


Art Critics:

They analyze, evaluate and interpret the aesthetic value and significance of artwork that is displayed at galleries, museum exhibitions, private or public showings.  Critics also comment and pass judgement on the technical factors, theme and artistic expression of the art being reviewed.  Critics may work for a magazine, newspaper website or choose to freelance.


It is difficult to imagine the artistic landscape without collectors. They are an integral part of the art market that are keeping it afloat. The contributions of art collectors are vital for the very existence of artists, dealers, galleries and auction houses. Prominent collectors’ are very influent and can create recognition of an unknown artist by purchasing his work. In fact, the majority of artworks housed in museums and galleries are donated by collectors.


Well, who do you think wields the real power in the art world? A tough question indeed and often debatable!  Bottom line is that all five components hold clout in their specific domains and are an inevitable part of the art dynamics.