Top 10 Tips for a Career in the Arts

This article was written by members of NYAAG, find out more about the group and what they've been up to.

1. A career in the arts doesn't always mean you have to be the artist

Lisa Simpson riding a bike and saying "Gotta pick a career"

Whilst being an artist is the dream for many, there are a variety of jobs that help to facilitate the arts which are equally important to the artists themselves. These can include jobs in creative funding, youth arts facilitation, art galleries, admin related jobs - the list goes on! If you're looking to work in a theatre company, don't just look at being an actor, director or writer but look at the wider possibilities: what about working on the company's finances, marketing, producing or communications? There's plenty of ways to make the arts part of your future career!

2. Follow as many art-related social media channels as possible

Gif from Dumb & Dumber of Lloyd handing out Facebook likes

Art related pages, groups and threads on various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can open your eyes to a whole variety of art forms that you may never have seen before; list opportunities for competitions, job offers, artistic prompts or a place to showcase your work; offer chances to engage in talks and discussions about the arts; even opportunities to see artists’ creative processes and drafts. They’re also very good for relaxed, informal communication which alleviates any pressure/anxiety that people may normally feel whilst networking. So, whether you've visited an artistic venue once before or have heard of a cool group, follow them! You never know what you might stumble across.

3. Know what’s happening around you

Jake and Boyle from Brooklyn Nine-Nine saying "What is happening?"


Be aware of what’s going in in your local area in regards to the arts. This will help you to find out what you're interested in, what you don’t like and where you might want to go in the future. By knowing this you can find out what’s missing and what you’d like to be part of. This is another great way to meet people and make great contacts as well.

4. Consume as much art as possible


Baby frantically reading a book

No matter what kind of art form you're interested in, there will be ways of finding other people who are already in the industry who are doing great work. You can find inspiration from seeing what other people have done to get a career in a creative industry. For example, if you're interested in writing, read as much as possible, research your favourite authors to see how their career started and how they became the great writers that they are now. Taking inspiration from other people is a great way to shape your creative style and to find what you want from the arts.

5. Take a break, and don't be afraid of art-block

Spongebob slapping down a blank piece of paper and saying "break time!"

Take a break from your art if things aren’t working out and you find yourself experiencing art-block. If you try to force yourself to be creative, you’ll end up frustrated and no further forward. If you take your time, however, it's likely your brain will fill up with more creative ideas, become inspired and have a resurgence of energy!

6. Look for support

Schmidt from New Girl saying in the mirror, "You got this son"

Try to find people/places which will be interested in and support your art, whether that’s a group, a band, a mentor, or just a few good friends! It really helps to know that someone is out there waving a banner for what you do!

7. Don’t be afraid to try out new art forms

Pink singing "You gotta get up and try, try, try."

It can be scary to try out new things especially if you think you will be at different stages to others but don’t worry about what others will think and do it for you. It can be easier to start up something new with a friend or family member so you are both in it together!

8. Competitions are great platforms

Serena Williams lifting a trophy

Sites such as Creative Scotland Opportunities are great for showcasing competitions, awards and other opportunities for different art forms. Entering competitions is a great way to set yourself targets and challenge yourself to do projects you might not normally attempt. You may also find that organisations running competitions have other ways to get involved with their work.

9. Practice, practice, practice!

Great British Bake Off contestant saying "I probably should have practiced"

Take every opportunity to learn what you can about how the creative industry functions; what it looks for in an artist and just more about your own art form. Never be afraid to make mistakes because that is what practising is all about!

10. Don’t be afraid to contact people or to create your own opportunities

DJ Khaled saying "Take your opportunity to the next level"

Particularly in the creative industries, having people who know you and can recommend you for work or opportunities is a massive help. Go to networking events, ask people for a coffee, ask questions and learn about the industry. You might learn about a new opportunity, a new area you hadn’t considered exploring or they might know someone who can help you out further. If you have a passion for a specific area within the arts but can't find the right opportunity for you, email around and find out if it can be created. Ask if you can shadow a director, ask if the art gallery would provide work experience. Even if opportunities aren’t advertised, the arts community always want to help and you’d be surprised at how many opportunities you can make for yourself.

Head back to the NYAAG landing page for more information about the group and other arts-related articles.