5 Jobs for Visual Arts Graduates
- Art Educator
- Gallery Curator
- Art Therapist
When people think about a career in the visual arts, the image that comes to mind is usually of an artist, photographer or crafter selling their creations to support themselves. There are other careers that use this type of art, however, that may not readily come to mind. Many art professions blend talent, knowledge and skills with other disciplines that give the artist a practical goal. Here are five “other” careers in art.
Related Resource: Top 10 Christian College Visual Arts Programs 2018
Animators may work for film companies or entertainment corporations like Disney, or they could work for game developers. Animation requires an ability to draw motion. Animators must understand how people, animals and even machines move and capture those images onto paper or film. Traditional animation, the kind seen in the stunning Walt Disney features, is a labor-intensive process of drawing many pictures that are slightly different and then storing the images on film so that they can be “played’ to represent motion. This type of animation is almost obsolete. Digital animation completes the frames automatically and in shorter time. The animations can appear extremely lifelike or stylized, as in Japanese features. This type of animation is used in game design as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, animators earn a median salary around $64,000 depending upon what type of animation they do and experience.
2. Art Education
Another job in the visual arts is teaching. Art teachers don’t have to be adept at all kinds of art, but they must be knowledgeable about most of them. In elementary and secondary schools, teachers work to give children an overview of art and allow them to experiment in creating several kinds. In post-secondary education, artists usually specialize in a medium. People thinking about this profession must have a degree in art education, as well as courses and experience in several kinds of art. They must also hold a valid teaching license in the state where they want to work. The BLS doesn’t separate teachers by subject, but art teachers in elementary schools earn a median salary of $55,490, and those in post-secondary institutions earn $75,430.
3. Gallery Owner or Curator
Artists who sell their work often do so through galleries, but the “showrooms” also serve as a place to display paintings, sculptures and photography. Sometimes the facilities loan out artwork. Many people who work in art are curators or own their own galleries. This requires a knowledge of art history and techniques, as well as keeping abreast of names of new artists and new types of art. Curators also must know how to best display and care for art. People who work in larger galleries may only deal in one kind of art or in one area, such as acquisitions. Gallery owners must understand what makes art valuable and have a business background. Curators also catalog and label art, and interpret artwork for the public. That means this job entails having people skills and the ability to communicate well. BLS statistics on gallery curators say they earn a median salary of $45,446, but that depends upon whether they work for someone or manage their own galleries.
4. Art Therapist
This is one of the art professions that pairs art skill and knowledge with training in another discipline. Art therapists have degrees in psychology and use their artistic skills to help people overcome emotional, physical or mental problems through creativity. Art is used in assessment, in research, in treatment and in rehabilitation. People in this profession must be skilled listeners and pick up on visual cues, understanding symbols that people often use to represent feelings. Some therapists working in a rehabilitation program or agency have only undergraduate degrees but work under the guidance of a supervisor with an advanced degree. Because of this, art therapists earn a median salary of $55,900. Professionals with advanced degrees earn significantly more.
Architects are artists with training in engineering as well as art. A US News and World Report article says they create “aesthetically pleasing and safe buildings and their masterpieces are the shops and libraries we see every day. They are artists grounded in reality.” Architects who design buildings must understand stresses and materials, as well as having a command of design principles. Another type of architect works in landscaping, using natural materials like flowers and trees as well as structural components like walkways and shelters. Architects earn a median salary of $75,930.
People are creative by nature. Using that creativity to earn a living is combining the best of both worlds, spiritual and financial. People wanting a career in visual art are inventive people who see potential beyond being “just an artist.”