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The field of arts is very diverse. It often attracts people who have creative interests and want to earn a living pursuing related vocations. Professionals in this field have a deep appreciation for art, photography, music, design, performance, culture and/or language. They may value originality, innovation, and diversity of ideas and perspectives. There are a variety of settings: art studios, theatres, galleries, museums, recording studios, production sets, and office settings. Employment of art and design occupations is projected to grow two percent from 2014 to 2024, and some of the growth areas include graphic design, game design, and multimedia and web design.  It is important to keep in mind that the arts are highly competitive for both salaried and freelance work due to the supply and demand for the arts, so it can be common for people in this field to have multiple jobs or to have a full-time job in a different field and pursue their creative passions in their free time, at least initially until they’ve more fully established themselves.

There is not one major or minor that will prepare you for this field as there are many pathways, the lists below are not all-inclusive.

Undergraduate Coursework 

Consider taking coursework in art, history, music, theatre, global studies, anthropology, and languages. Check out the HECUA program which offers off-campus study options that address some of the most important issues of our time, including programs on Art for Social Change and Making Media, Making Change.

Graduate Coursework 

For a deeper study on a specific discipline within this field, you may want to consider graduate school programs to enhance your expertise, or in some fields open up more job advanced job opportunities.  Faculty in your department are fantastic resources to solicit information from. Additionally, you can search for graduate school programs with the Grad School Directory or Peterson's Guide.

Click to expand each gray box below for opportunities in this career field!


Some of the career opportunities that exist include curator and restoration work at art galleries and museums, business roles (including advertising, marketing, publishing, and design), performance in dance, theatre, and music, translation, film production and editing, photography, art therapy, arts administration, or engagement with diversity or people of various backgrounds both locally and globally in a variety of contexts (political, humanitarian, etc). Some people pursuing art careers will pursue “portfolio careers,” which combine a mix of arts-related roles to achieve full-time work or a mix of work in the arts with other work outside the arts. Pursuing entrepreneurship opportunities is another option. Art careers in this area require a combination of artistic talent as well as business and marketing skills. Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship is a resource at the University for aspiring entrepreneurs and includes entrepreneur and innovation classes, some with experiential components. You can also watch career profiles of professionals (including UMN alums) who are working in the fields of art, entertainment, and entrepreneurship!

Use the information below to explore these different areas further and to discover which may be the right path for you to follow.

Job Titles & Descriptions

Use O*NET, a free online database that provides career information including job duties, salary, and job growth information for hundreds of careers t to start exploring careers in this field. For more detailed information on art career paths, explore The Art Career Project which has a database with information about 100+ art-related careers. For museum career paths, check out museum job descriptions. For occupations related to culture, first decide on the focus, for example, business, education, humanitarian, political, to then be able to explore opportunities within those fields.

Below is a small sampling of organizations and their positions that have recruited CLA students in the past. For a more comprehensive list of job openings, search GoldPASS, a free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students.

  • Freelance Critic/Writer for newspapers and magazines
  • India Program Director, Lifeworks International
  • Graphic Designer, Capsule
  • Lobbyist, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
  • Production Assistant, Random House Publishing
  • Ceramic Technician, Minnesota Clay Company
  • Exhibits and Education Coordinator, National Children’s Museum
  • Co-founder, ReelWorks Video Production
  • Art Teacher, DaVinci Academy of Arts and Science
  • Curator of Performance Programs, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
  • Arts & Crafts Teacher, Internationella Engelska Skolan Orebro
  • Ballroom Dance Instructor, TC Dance Club International


Get Experience: Internships and more!

Seek out opportunities, such as those listed below, to develop the 10 Core Career Competencies. The competencies of Innovation & Creativity, Digital Literacy, Oral and Written Communication, and Engaging Diversity are especially valued in the Arts & Culture field.

Internships and Part-Time Jobs

Below is a small sampling of organizations and their positions where CLA students have done internships and part-time jobs in the past. For a more comprehensive, search GoldPASS, a free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students or search for on-campus jobs. Another option to consider is the HECUA program which has an internship component with organizations related to arts & culture.

  • Digital Product and Web Marketing Specialist Intern, Architectural Antiques
  • Archaeology Lab Intern,  Minnesota Historical Society
  • Development Intern, American Craft Council
  • Administrative intern, Zenon Dance Company
  • Curatorial Assistant, Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Festival and Communications Coordinator, Japan American Society of Minnesota
  • Interpretive Programs Intern, Mill City Museum
  • Liquid Music Social Media Intern, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
  • Multimedia Assistant, Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul
  • Gallery Intern, Katherine E Nash Gallery
  • Research Intern, Conan
  • Human Resources Intern, Joffrey Ballet
  • Intern, Theater Mu
  • Props Intern, Barrington Stage Company
  • Instructor Intern, Urban Arts Academy
  • Production Assistant, sureCAN productions
  • Programming Intern, Audi Dublin International Film Festival
  • Production Intern, The Second City
  • Museum Studies Intern, Exhibits Development Group
  • Assistant Stage Manager Intern, Children’s Theatre Company
  • Communications Intern, Hennepin Theatre Trust
  • Dramaturgy Intern, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Apprentice and Build Entrepreneurial Experience

For many occupations in the arts in which you may be working independently as an artist, it may be more helpful to seek an apprenticeship or mentorship instead of an internship to learn how to navigate being an artist through a specific medium or to build your own business.  Use the Networking tips above to identify potential people from whom you can learn. Some arts organizations (such as the Work of Art program) offer opportunities to build entrepreneurial skills as an artist through workshops on topics such as Marketing for Artists, Funding for Artists, Business Plans for Artists, Career Planning for Artists, Portfolio Kit, Social Media, Grant Writing, etc.

Build a Strong Portfolio

In the arts, your portfolio - whether physical or digital - is evidence of your talent and experience. The content of your portfolio depends on your field — it could range from a demo reel to examples of graphic designs, to creative writing samples, to a collection of paintings to a series of photos. Seek opportunities to build your portfolio, which can also be used on a professional website, and professional skills through classes, internships, volunteering, student groups, and independent work or practice.


The Center for Community Engaged Learning has advising staff that will help you get connected to one of the 300+ community organizations that match your interests.

Join a Student Group

Consider getting involved with a student group. When searching for student groups, select “Cultural & Diversity”, “Fine Arts/Music/Film” or “Performance Groups” as a category to find groups that match your interests.

Job and Internship Search

Job & Internship Search Sites

GoldPASS - search this free database of internship, volunteer, and job postings for UMN students, you can filter by your career interests to find opportunities that connect with your career goals



Building Relationships

Talk With and Observe Professionals

Networking can help you explore a career field and learn about the unique nuances of building experience in a particular area of either art or culture; start by doing informational interviews with people who are in organizations or disciplines that are of interest to you. Find professionals through referrals from faculty, by utilizing the “professional networking” tab on GoldPASS, using LinkedIn, and getting connected to professional organizations.

Professional Organizations

Get involved with one or more professional organizations to gain career insights, search for jobs and internships, attend conferences, and/or connect with people in this career field.

Advice From Employers

“Intern, volunteer and interview as many people as you can to hone into the specific track that you would like to pursue. The Arts and Cultural field is extremely competitive and requires an advanced degree — weigh your options and gain practice experience before graduate coursework. “ –Weisman Art Museum, representative

“Sometimes you can be the first person that holds yourself back. You never know where opportunities in the arts are going to lead you, so keep an open mind when opportunities come up. I see a lot of people young in their artistic career turn down opportunities because it doesn't fit what they think their career should be. Allow your own career to surprise you! “ –The Guthrie, representative

“In nonprofits, volunteering is a great way to get in the door. Volunteer and HR departments work very closely together, so if you are an awesome volunteer it’s a great foot in the door.” “ –The Guthrie, representative

“Be wary of being asked to give your art and work away for free. It seems like you might get a leg up down the road by taking on an unpaid role or providing access to your art, but that's not always the case. Consider whether you feel that the experiences and benefits will compensate you.” -Northern Clay Center, representative

“Be active in your discipline. From an arts nonprofit perspective, it's important for you to display your skills in relation to the job you are pursuing rather than your creative practice.” -Northern Clay Center, representative

“Network as much as possible, take advantage of small opportunities because they can lead to bigger things. Nonprofits/cultural organizations/museums are a small field with people who know people everywhere.” -Minnesota Historical Society, representative

“Get practical experience beyond what you've learned in classes. Volunteer somewhere similar to where you'd like to work. A lot of museums don't have very many paid full-time staff people, so don't be afraid to start small. Use your network! -Minnesota Historical Society, representative

Resume Examples

Arts Career Field Spotlights

Museum photo

Career Spotlight: Art Administrator

The arts administration field was established in response to an ever-growing demand for leadership and organizational acumen within arts and cultural organizations. Arts administrators bridge the worlds of performing and visual arts with applied managerial, financial, and programmatic skills. (From the article, “So what is arts administration?”)


The College of Liberal Arts Career Services and the University of Minnesota has no control or responsibility for the: (a) quality or safety of any experiential learning opportunity/position descriptions or (b) the application, hiring practices, or EEO/AA status of any of the organizations listed here. We encourage students to use precaution when applying to, interviewing at, or participating in volunteer, internship, job, or research programs outside of the University. These opportunities are not affiliated with the University of Minnesota and have not been fully vetted.