Fine arts degrees often get a bad rap. In today’s economy of not enough jobs, why would a person choose to go to school for something with narrow job prospects? But for decades, young people were told they could be anything they wanted to be as long as they got a good education. It seems that being anything you want to be has proven to also require knowing someone who knows someone in your chosen industry and probably an unpaid internship or two. At ArtMoi we still have faith in the arts. Making a living creating art is hard, sure. Not impossible, but definitely difficult.
We know artists whose art provides a livable income. We also know artists with a “day job” who create their art in their free time; a side hustle, if you will. There are degrees and careers that allow you to create, or at least be creative, almost every day. Of course, there is the obvious: You can get a fine arts degree in painting or drawing or sculpture. That is absolutely something you can do. However, if you’re hoping for a little more stability or maybe a few benefits while you work to make your art your career we have some suggestions.
Communications and Digital Arts
Digital Media Design
If you have some background in computers, digital media design might be just your thing. Now that technology is king, many fine arts degrees offer graphic design as a focus; DMD takes graphic design a little further. This field is growing quickly as the need for website design, animation, graphics, and video production is becoming more important to many industries. As a relatively new career option, here are a couple schools in Canada and the US to help with your research. You’ll find more of these programs if you do a quick internet search.
The Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, British Columbia
Digital Media Design at Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba
DePaul College of Computing and Digital Media in Chicago, Illinois
Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia*
*Included is the link to SCAD’s Motion Media Design program, however, they offer many programs in the arts. SCAD also has locations in Atlanta and Hong Kong.
Many communications programs at universities and colleges in the US and Canada include classes in graphic and desktop design, typography, and photography. You’ll need to be good with words for this career path, so if that sounds like you, communications might be a good fit. Typical career paths for a communications degree can be in public relations, journalism, photography, and advertising.
If you don’t mind a little (okay, probably a lot) of math, architecture might be up your alley. The architecture world is cut throat, but the right creative personality might thrive. Architecture combines art and science and is a serious amount of work even before you get into the field, but somehow seems glamorous anyway. Design, drafting, and project management are all possible careers for someone with an architecture degree.
Interior Design is another industry with plenty of competition, but in the right city, can be a lucrative career. Interior designers are similar to architects in that you’re creating spaces for human interaction. A poorly designed space can reduce worker productivity or subconsciously chase people from your place of business. Because of this, some knowledge of sociology and psychology is often helpful. Colour, patterns, texture, arrangement of furniture, and lighting all matter so a keen eye for detail is necessary.
Yes, carpentry. Carpentry is fantastic for an artist with a passion for watching something take shape at their own hand. The skills learned in the carpentry field can span from furniture design, fine woodworking, and instrument making to cabinetry and construction skills. Trade skills are always valuable which makes carpentry a worthwhile career choice.
Early Childhood Educator
Early childhood education puts you right smack dab in the middle of molding the minds of the future. No pressure, of course. Creativity is required in nearly every task throughout the day to day job. You’ll need to be able to think quick on your feet as you manage a classroom of tiny humans who need constant watching and mental stimulation. There will be art projects almost every day and songs as a way of memorization. Organized chaos will likely be part of your day-to-day so someone with a creative mind who also happens to love children might find this career absolutely ideal.
Teaching art is a more traditional route for someone passionate about art and spreading that passion. Very few students ever dislike art class, even if they think they aren’t very good at it. Art has been proven to be beneficial and essential to students’ success, whether it’s fine art, music, or theater. Here’s a link to some studies if you are interested in learning more about the effects of the arts.
Art makes a huge impact on the world in ways we don’t always notice. No matter what your choice of creative career path, know you are making a difference in many ways.