Career Information for a Degree in Visual and Performing Arts
Degree programs in the visual and performing arts teach students the history, theory and technique of specific art forms such as painting, sculpting, dance, musical performance or acting. These programs typically combine classroom study with hands-on training to assist students with developing essential knowledge and specific skills in their chosen mediums.
Visual Artist Career Information
Visual arts degree programs can teach aspiring artists advanced skills and techniques necessary to succeed in their fields. Examples of visual artists are painters, sculptors, illustrators, printmakers and photographers. Degrees that prepare graduates for these fields include Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with concentrations in students' areas of interest, or Bachelor of Arts degrees, which complement art training with general education courses in other disciplines.
Some visual artists work for advertising or design firms, while others work on a freelance basis and attempt to sell their art to private collectors or corporate patrons in galleries, at art fairs or online. Many work for employers during the day and dedicate their free time to developing their personal work. A career as an artist requires extensive training and unwavering dedication to continuously develop skills and perfect techniques.
Performing Artist Career Information
Individuals with performing arts degrees may use their training and skills to perform for audiences or to work with other performing artists as acting coaches, dance choreographers or vocal teachers. Actors, singers and dancers are all considered performing artists, and many are trained in all three areas, although degrees specific to theatre, music performance or dance are also possible. Performing artists can be found in theater troupes and dance companies, at recording studios, on stages, at television studios and on movie sets. Jobs are concentrated in New York and Los Angeles, but talented performing artists can also find jobs at local television companies, festivals, children's entertainment companies or regional theater companies.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many individuals with degrees in the visual or performing arts face heavy competition for jobs, in part because the arts draw many talented people to the field (www.bls.gov). The BLS expected the number of jobs for dancers, musicians and singers to grow at a near-average rate during the 2010-2020 decade, but anticipated slower-than-average job growth for craft and visual fine artists and actors. For financial reasons, many artists hold part-time jobs in other areas or put their artistic skills to use in other industries, such as advertising, marketing or sales.
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