Career Changers: How To Make A Fresh Start In The Arts

Excerpt: Nicole Bray made the switch from working in advertising as an account director to art curation and consultancy via Sotheby’s Institute of Art in her mid-30s. When she entered the job market, she was determined not to compromise and turned down a marketing role at an auction house. “You have to be very honest with yourself.It wasn’t where my heart was.” In the end, she decided to set up her own company, Mercer Contemporary.

She found the key to a smooth transition was creating a network of mentors. “[In] deciding which [art] school to go to, I became queen of the coffee chat. People love talking about themselves and love being admired.” She would ask for 15 minutes of someone’s time and buy the coffee. “You have to make it easy for them,” she advises.

Money — or worry about a lack of it — can prevent professionals from making a switch, particularly to the creative industries.