The Silver Lake Blog

7 Careers for Art Majors

Posted By Jamie Grant On September 15, 2016


Some things about college can be overwhelming: deciding which college to attend, and what major is going to best fit your needs and prepare you for a career after graduation.

One common misconception of an undergraduate degree in art is that it’s difficult to secure a job upon graduation. But that’s not necessarily the case: check out these seven careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in art.

Art Gallery Manager

Art galleries display the works of fine artists of all talents including painters, sculptors and photographers. Many gallery owners display their own work in addition to the work of other artists. But the fun part is curating art and presenting it on your own terms. What kind of lighting will you use? Will your gallery be silent or will you set a mood with music? Will you try to make your gallery accessible to the community at large, or will it primarily be for art connoisseurs? These are all decisions you get to make when you’re in charge of a gallery.

Managing an art gallery requires good business skills, as well as a knowledge of art and a connection to professionals in the art community. Art gallery managers must be able to network, oversee other people and monitor financial matters. If you’re an artist with an entrepreneurial spirit, managing a gallery might be a good path for you.

Art Teacher

In a country so focused on the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it’s both a privilege and a challenge to justify the value of art in a student’s education. Yet when many students are honest with themselves, they can begin to understand how important art is to a flourishing culture. They just don’t know how to participate in the formation of beautiful things. Art teachers have the rare opportunity to give students confidence to create and skills to refine.

Art teachers serve as sources of inspiration to their students by encouraging them to unlock their creativity with the expression of their thoughts, feelings and experiences through artistic mediums. Art teachers generally are required to hold a bachelor’s degree in art as well as a teaching certification. Art teaching degrees can focus on one or more of the following art mediums: painting, sculpture, media arts, drawing and photography, to name a few. And, art teachers have the opportunity to educate students of all ages and levels of education.

Art Therapist

Art therapists are mental health professionals who use art and the creative process to help their clients deal with mental health issues. Art therapy combines knowledge of visual art with the study of human development, therapeutic practice and psychology. Art therapy is geared toward individuals with a background in art who also have an interest in the healing and well-being of others. Many art majors go on to pursue a specialized degree in art therapy.

The human experience of life cannot always be reduced to the limitations of language. This is especially true of extreme experiences, such as trauma or loss. Art can be a useful tool for processing extreme experiences because it allows humans to harnesses emotion visually. Art therapy can be a means of both giving and receiving meaning when words are insufficient.

Admissions Counselor

College admissions counselors promote schools to prospective students, high school guidance counselors and parents. They interview candidates, review applications and meet with students off site to deliver presentations, answer questions and give tours. Having experience as an art student and an artist uniquely qualifies you to be an admissions counselor at an art school.

When you hold information sessions, you’ll meet fellow art enthusiasts and show them the academic doors and the future employment opportunities open to them. With a list of your school’s alumni, you can assure hopeful students and skeptical parents that art school graduates really can find jobs. Because the world needs culture, the world has a place for artists.

Event Planner

Event planning is the world of practical art. Ceremonies, galas, promotions, graduations, reunions — they are most memorable when every detail is executed artistically. The event planner must explore imaginative ways to present information, maximize a limited budget, and maintain continuity with food, music, decor and other details.

Professionals in the event planning field must have strong attention to detail, good communication skills and noteworthy time-management skills. Event planners must also be creative. Technical skills combined with an artistic eye are characteristics of great event planners — both innovative and efficient.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are responsible for creating design solutions that have high visual impact. This field requires artists who can develop creative ideas and concepts, and apply the appropriate media and style to meet the client's objectives. Graphic designers often work with individual clients, creative directors and account managers.

Content can have a simple presentation or an eye-catching look. It can be minimalist or complex. It can be purely typographical or it can include images. The graphic designer gets to decide how form and professional content would best work together — which is the ultimate test of an artist’s creative flexibility.


Art majors are creative and imaginative, and similarly, illustrators need to use creative skills to communicate stories, messages or ideas to an intended audience. Illustrators can work on a freelance basis for multiple clients and are likely to specialize in a specific medium such as drawing, photography or digital illustration. Many illustrators go on to pursue an advanced degree and specialize in whatever medium best fits their talents.

Illustration requires an intuitive knack for human interpretation. Whether you illustrate for children’s stories, magazines, science videos or web graphics, you’ll be making sense of someone else’s words on behalf of an audience. You will inform their experience of the original message before the audience has the chance to make sense of it for themselves. But if you do that well, you’ll be well regarded by clients and audiences alike.

From cave art to the Sistine Chapel, humans have always placed importance on art. That means somebody has to make the world a more beautiful place. Before you let the uncertainty of job placement upon graduation affect your decision to follow your dreams as an art major, do your homework on what careers are available — there are always more opportunities than you might think.

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Topics: Arts & Sciences

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Deciding where, when and by what means to go to college can be a difficult decision process. We want to help! The Silver Lake Blog is intended to be a resource as you navigate these choices, from what type of school to choose to how to finance your education. Watch this space for helpful tips. 

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