Yes, you CAN get a job with a Fine Arts Degree!

If you haven’t yet noticed, we’ve focused a lot on emerging printmakers this month in honor of our Excellence in Printmaking show.  As February wraps up, we want to share one more post of encouragement for all those in MFA and BFA programs staring graduation in the face.

Don’t worry, there is life after art school!  And not just one of a poor, starving artist! (Yes, even in this economy!)

True, it may take a little while to get your own artwork up and going, and you’re probably going to have to sink some money into it before you start seeing a pay-off, but just remember to keep at it.  No one will know what wonderful work you’re creating if you don’t get it out there.  But, while you’re busy creating, you need something to sustain you, right?  Let that fine arts degree work for you and find a job in the field you love!

We’re happy to report that many WPG interns are doing just that.  After interning here, Fawna Xiao put that experience to work for her and became the Director of Studio Gallery after graduating UMD.  Another intern from UMD, Mara Duvra, is teaching printmaking at a summer camp this year before she goes to graduate school.  Rachel Cohen is still in school, but manages to combine two of her interests, art and hockey, by illustrating the blog “Russian Machine Never Dies.”

If you are looking a pursuing a career in the arts (other or in addition to that of “artist”), networking and building relationships is key.  The people you meet during your school internships can help you later–either by introducing you to someone offering a job, writing letters of recommendation, or guiding you in the right direction in your search for a position.  If you didn’t take an internship, don’t worry!  Keep in touch with teachers, visit and start volunteering at organizations you like, and keep in touch with class mates.  Keeping these relationships alive can help you land that arts-related dream job.

But don’t rely on other people to do the work for you.  You have to start digging!  Look at job banks–we like idealist.org, the Smithsonian Institution Career Center (listing all currently available positions in all Smithsonian-run organizations), and the Americans for the Arts Job Bank. Don’t rule out Craigslist, either–WPG’s current director happened to find the listing for this job on Craigslist the day before resumes were due! Finally, always check the websites or call the organizations you want to work for–they may have something listed there or be ready to list something, and you can get your application in early.

Basically, it comes down to persistence and hard work.  If you keep looking, eventually you will find something that is right for you.  Happy job hunting!

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2 responses to “Yes, you CAN get a job with a Fine Arts Degree!

  1. Great advice. I graduated last June, and have found it very beneficial to have a routine. My morning is coffee and internet (updating my printmaking blog, finding jobs, organizations, calls to artists), then my actual day job, and then evening studio time. Persistence is key.