Dear Estelle. Can an artist ever be financially secure? When I was in school I was always told that if I wanted to be a painter I should marry a “rich guy” or else I would live in poverty. So now I paint for relaxation and work as an accountant in a large firm. Hardly creative. Now my daughter, a high school junior, has decided she too wants to be an artist and plans to attend either an art school or major in fine art at a university. As parents we naturally are concerned she will always be struggling. Parents, Parker, CO
Your question prompted me to contact several art schools to gain an understanding of what artists actually do after graduation. Apparently, fine art graduates are in great demand in a multitude of industries throughout the U.S. and around the world. Artists don’t have to give up their creative visions nor financial security in order to pursue their passion. Nonprofits that attract artists include museums, academics, and cultural institutions. Art school graduates find exciting employment opportunities as animators, art teachers, directors of nonprofit art organizations, children’s book illustrators, arts administration, book designers, photo editors, set designers, master printers, gallery owners, costume designers plus many more. Industries employing artists include web site design, ad agencies, theatre, fashion, education and publishing.
Many art schools integrate business skills into the curriculum to prepare students for life after college. They also provide career planning, internships and graduate school counseling. It may be more difficult to get a job as an artist than as an accountant but it looks as if the field has opened up and opportunities for artists abound.