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Posted April 30, 2008 by


When my niece was four-years old, she said, “I want to be a Paleontologist when I grow up.”
Thirteen years later, she’s playing bass guitar, learning Japanese and will probably be pursuing an Art Major. It’s not surprising considering her family’s history of career changes. There’s no lineage of an occupation that’s lasted generations other than a ‘struggling artist’. Artists always find themselves at odds with money and work. Some wind up on a stagnated path of a job, mimicking their talent. Others may find themselves far from home base, eventually making a career change to get back on track.
If pursuing a career in the arts could only be as evident as studying Business or Communications. Artists wouldn’t have to hear the old clich√©, “you should have something to fall back on”, as if that would come to fruition. Not to prove them right, but why is it so hard to find a steady paying gig as an artist? Is it really egotistical or selfish for an artist to be non-conformist? I thought it was just the mindset of an artist? For example, if I were to have a bullet point list of how an artist could make money, the first thing an artist would do is, ignore it.
Eventually, after heartache, wisdom with age and debt to match, the artist will find an outlet to their talent. Maybe the well wishers are right. You should have something to fall back on. Among the re-directed artists, Art and Music Therapy offer importance and a respectable income. Both target different groups for therapy. Art Therapy is psychotherapeutic and psychological. Patients can range from children to adults dealing with trauma. Music therapy deals with motor skills and expressive therapy and is given for occupational or arthritic conditions. Certifications and degrees are required and varied. Detailed information can be found at the American Art Therapy Association and the American Music Therapy Association websites.
Now I’m sure there are artists who are saying, “I’m an artist because I want to avoid people, not help them”, to which I may suggest an alternative career in writing. I’ll admit, a high paying job as a writer usually requires a Bachelor’s degree in English. But there’s plenty of fun stuff that can be found in freelance work. Paying jobs can be found in Web site content writing or freelance articles submitted to magazines and newsletters in circulation in print or on the web. The important thing to remember is that all a good writer needs is material and practice. Life as an artist surely covers that.
Artists definitely have their work cut out for them. After all, who can forecast the dollar value of music, art or dance like they can for computers, communications or commodities? It’s all about demand. So, as long as there is a brain that needs help and others that feed on information, you can be assured you have something to fall back on.