Career Pathways

Arts & Design

Industry Overview

Career opportunities in the arts and design realm are truly what you make them. Unlike more traditional career paths, artists and creatives have the ability to mold their craft into a career. About 60 percent of artists are self-employed. Those who are not often to work in the advertising, computer, film, publishing, and software industries. Opportunities for artists will continue to exist in both traditional and freelance structures, with each offering its own positives and negatives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects continued expansion of opportunities for creatives due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, television, and on smartphones. As companies continue to increase their digital presence, more art and design workers will be needed to help create visually appealing and effective layouts of websites and other media platforms. 

The Vault Guides offer a sample of careers for artists and designers. Each guide gives, among other valuable information, an overview of the job and entry level requirements. You’ll notice that some jobs may overlap with a variety of majors or industries.  Access The Vault to learn more.

Other exploration resources for artists and designers

My Skills My Future--Match your work history with careers that have related skills.
My Next Move -- Research how to get into and find positions in your fields/careers of interest.
Creative Live – Live and pre-recorded videos of artists practicing their craft
LinkedIn University–a great tool for connecting with VCUarts alumni

Preparing for a career

The visual arts are highly subjective and success depends on the aesthetic perceptions and choices of the audiences who view works of art. More than half of artists are self-employed and therefore must wear both artist and salesperson hats to make a living.  Art Fairs or selling online are excellent ways for new artists to showcase their work. However, most successful artists are represented by a gallery or agent that displays their work and approaches potential buyers when new works are available. Focus on building a broad portfolio that demonstrates your ability as an artist and seek out ways to promote your work.

For individuals seeking employment with a company or organization, hiring managers consistently hire candidates who demonstrate critical thinking, problem-solving, professionalism, teamwork, and communication skills. In addition, practical skills are an essential part of positioning yourself as a highly-sought-after candidate. VCU has a partnership with Lynda.com to provide free skills training. Consider taking some of these recommended courses as a part of your training.

To access Lynda visit, Lynda.vcu.edu and log in with your eID and password.

  • The Freelancer Playlist
  • Customer Service Fundamentals
  • Code Clinic
  • Creating Your First Website in Dreamweaver
  • Learning Paths

Internship, Shadowing and Volunteering Resources

Experience matters. Fortunately, this industry offers numerous opportunities to build experience through volunteer work, shadowing opportunities and internships. Consider these options to find experience:

HireVCURams
Linkup
LinkedIn University
VCUarts Internship resources

Applying and interviewing

Resumes and Cover Letters
Interviewing
Portfolios

Opportunity search resources

HireVCURams
LinkedIn
The Creative Loft

Meet with an Adviser

To schedule an appointment with an Arts & Design adviser, call (804) 828-1645 or log into your HireVCURams account.

Jeanette Hickl

Jeanette Hickl

jwhickl@vcu.edu
linkedin.com/in/jeanettewhickl

Career and industry professional who plays well with creatives. Over ten years of experience. Aspiring to be the next toughest fitness trainer.