Achieving a bachelor of fine arts degree allows you to develop your artistic skills in your area of choice. Some of the most common fields focus on sculpture, painting, photography and new media, though there are many others. Most who obtain a fine arts degree have the goal of becoming a professional visual artist, but this is highly competitive field and can often take years of practice to develop personal style. A variety of jobs can employ and develop your skills in the meantime.
Major artists often employ art assistants and art administrators to keep their studios running smoothly. These positions are usually located in major art hubs such as New York City or Los Angeles. Art assistant duties can range from administrative work to stretching canvases and documenting work leaving the studio. This position is desirable for those with a fine arts degree who want to keep developing their skills after school.
If your fine art degree included advanced photography skills, you can easily relate your talent to photographing events such as weddings. With your existing skills in lighting and composition and the equipment you already own, you can create your own schedule of shooting for others as a flexible career that allows you to maintain your own art studio practice. If you prefer to stay working in the arts, offer your services to local galleries to document gallery exhibitions.
Working as a gallery assistant allows you to maintain a close relationship to the arts community while working regular hours. Duties range greatly depending on the size of the gallery. Large galleries in major cities may have a hierarchy of duties, meaning your skills are highly defined like tracking press releases on gallery artists. At a smaller gallery, the assistant position may include gallery sitting and exhibition hanging to actually selling work.
Working as a visual merchandiser in retail can be a steady day job that employs your fine arts skills such as sculptural aesthetics, color theory and craftsmanship. Visual merchandisers work for retail stores creating displays of their products in windows and inside their store. Well-known examples of this include the Macy's windows in New York City, which are transformed into intricate holiday scenes each winter.
A concentration on theater can have you prepared for a career either onstage or on-screen. This is a highly competitive position and you'll likely spend much time at casting calls and auditions, but the work is highly enjoyable for those who want creative freedom. As you begin your career, it's likely you'll start in smaller productions such as community theater, Off Off Broadway or commercials and nonspeaking roles.
A concentration on creative writing offers a great variety of directions you could follow including reporting, writing novels, copywriting and screenwriting. Working as a writer for many is a freelance position that allows you a great amount of freedom. But this comes at the expense of needing to hustle to find work, and it's common to have an agent if you freelance. Early positions can include offering your services to local newspapers and copyediting for other writers.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.