I Met a Guy at a Bar

I met a guy at a bar.  No, this isn’t one of those stories.  It was a sushi bar, and he was getting takeout while I was getting something to eat on the way home.  A few minutes of chatting revealed that J was an “arts worker.” He earned a BS (that’s bachelors of science, not the other kind) in Art from UW-Madison, where, coincidentally, I had been on the faculty for umpteen years.  After studying sculpture and painting as an undergrad, he moved into digital art and now writes, storyboards, and sometimes directs visualization and training films for public and private clients, the largest of which is the US Army. He said he really enjoyed his work, and was sincerely happy to share his story.

The story of J is a good example of a person who uses his talents, skill and training in the arts to build a career, albeit not one he would have envisioned as an art student.  Students enter study in the arts with many dreams and aspirations.  When I was a student, I had a clear and very narrowly focused professional goal in mind that, in hindsight, blinded me to other opportunities.  Today, I advise students to work toward their most ambitious goals, but to do so with their eyes open to the many alternative ways in which their talents and training can be used to support a fulfilling work life.  If J had kept his head down, looking only toward the world of studios and gallery shows, he might not have seen the opportunities that have led to what became an enjoyable and sustainable career.

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, including its award-winning arts entrepreneurship program, Pave: http://pave.asu.edu The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of ASU. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix and "like" the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship at http://www.facebook.com/pages/pave-program-in-arts-entrepreneurship/386328970101 Find Pave's journal, Artivate, at http://artivate.org
This entry was posted in Arts education, Arts entrepreneurship, Higher education and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to I Met a Guy at a Bar

  1. Pingback: Career Scaffolding « Indirect Routes

  2. It’s always nice to hear where artists end up and they still get their creative release. Who do you think should start the conversation on career alternatives?

    • lindaessig says:

      Tascheena: That *is* the arts entrepreneurship conversation: learn to recognize opportunity, learn to seize opportunity, minimize your risks in doing so. It’s a conversation that has been happening for the last five years or so at professional association meetings like ATHE, NASM, USITT, CAA but the conversation needs to be had within the curriculum of arts schools as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s