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The arts generate 4.2% of the overall U.S. GDP, with roughly 4.9 million Americans working in the sector in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.
According to the Arts Alliance, the arts in New York constitutes a nearly $4 billion industry, attracting nearly 99 million people to the city annually (arts institutions are the number-one attraction for tourists by far). The arts industries compose the fourth-largest employment sector in New York. Particularly in New York, but across the country, there are a wide variety of careers in art and art history that require different education and/or skills. Below is a list of careers, with descriptions, for many types of jobs in the arts. While some may require further education, there are a number of career paths for those with a bachelor’s degree.
There are a lot of careers for people with a degree in art or art history. Some careers for studio artists are animator, art director, artist, graphic designer, industrial designer, interior designer, and photographer, which usually require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent amount of experience. With a degree in art history, some careers are archivist, conservator, curator, or museum worker. Typically, people in art fields have a bachelor’s degree as well as experience in their desired field, usually through internships. Many artists teach classes in private establishments like studios or galleries. In order to teach in colleges, however, a master’s degree is typically required. Some museum jobs require a master’s degree in art history, museum studies, or something related, but there are many entry-level jobs for college graduates.
Here are some career guides and articles that share information on various career options:
You can get a lot more information by looking at the profiles of close to 5,000 Brooklyn College alumni who graduated with a degree in art. Join the Brooklyn College Alumni group and see where alumni are currently working, their skill sets, and their career progression. You can filter further based on employer, class year, etc.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for arts and design occupations was $46,660 in May 2018. The highest-paying job is as an art director, with an average annual salary of $92,780. An artist would have to work up to this position, as this job requires at least three to five years of experience because they are the ones directing others.
Salaries depend on the type of job. Pay for artists who work freelance would depend on their level of experience and the type of job, which is decided between the two parties. Freelancing gives artists more freedom in the type of jobs they choose and the ability to plan their time. Working in a company would bring higher salary and benefits (depending on the job/company) and be more stable. In a company, artists would also typically work with a team of people and communicate with staff from other departments.
A number of resources on campus will help you learn more about art career options. Attend events and keep up to date on the resources available to you.
The Magner Career Center has a wealth of information on everything you need to get started in your career, help with résumés, an internships database, job fairs, etc.