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    Preparing for a Career in the Arts: Do Summer Programs Help?

    Posted by Johnathan Kindall

    Attending an arts summer program is a wonderful opportunity for a number of reasons: it can expose students to ideas not available at their school, connect them to artistic peers and mentors, and prepare them for whatever direction they want to take their artistic career.

    A number of the summer programs offered in this guide allow artistic students to explore and refine their skills in an open and encouraging environment, and there’s few better ways to prepare for an artistic career than getting a taste of it while still in high school. In fact, the summer programs in this guide offer all students - but art students especially - a leg up above the competition. Participating in one may greatly increase one’s chances of turning their passion into their career.

    That being said though, it’s important to be honest about the realities of living as a working artist, if that’s the path your student takes. For many, the struggles that come with being a professional artist are more than worth it for the personal and creative fulfillment that their work can bring. But like with all jobs, pursuing a career in the arts brings its own set of unique challenges and difficulties.

    Yes, summer programs can absolutely help prepare students for a career in the arts. But if you’re considering the option, there’s a few other important questions to ask yourself or your student. Here’s 5 that we recommend answering:


    1. Are You Willing to Be Dedicated?  

    For professionals in the art world, a high degree of self-motivation and dedication is required. If you’re making a living as an artist of any kind, you’ll likely have to learn how to set your own schedule and meet important deadlines. Whether you’re a musician with a can’t-miss gig coming up or a writer with a draft soon due, dedication to your work is essential when it comes to being a professional artist. If you find that you’re procrastinating on your artistic work now, ask yourself why that might be and whether or not you’ll have the self-determination to follow through once art is your career.


    2. Are You Prepared for Art to be More Than Just a Hobby? 

    Simply put: professional artists must sometimes work on their pieces even if they’re not in the mood to create. Are you ready to meet a deadline even if you don’t feel intense artistic inspiration? Are you willing to learn the difference between a finished product and a perfect one? Or, would you prefer for your art to remain something that you only do in your free time? These are important questions for any artist, and the delicate balance between passion and productivity is something that all professional artists must eventually come to discover on their own.


    3. Can You Market Your Work? 

    There are many aspects to a career as a working artist besides the mere creation of art. If you’re working as an artist under the employ of a larger company, then this aspect of the job may be taken care of by other departments. However, if your eventual goal is to be self-employed on the basis of your artistic skill, then be sure to ask yourself whether you’re willing to take on the business side of being a professional artist. The most successful professional artists have skills in promoting, selling and marketing their art, in addition to just creating it. Are you willing to learn these skills as well?


    4. Are You Willing to Put Up With Other Difficulties?  

    Like with all businesses, conflict will undoubtedly arise from a career in the arts. Whether it’s a botched audition, a canceled event or a rejection from a major publisher, there’s sure to be some rough patches along the way. Sometimes this comes from people who don’t understand your work or your passion, and sometimes this comes directly from other collaborators. How much are you willing to put up with when it comes to your art? Do you have a thick skin or are you willing to grow one? As all professionals learn eventually, you must be willing to take the good with the bad.


    5. Are You Ready For the Most Fulfilling Experience of Your Life?

    If you’re able to answer yes to all (or even most) of the questions above, then it sounds like you’re ready to start your future in the arts! Like with all careers, a job in the artistic world comes with a unique set of challenges and struggles. However, if you’re passionate about your work and willing to learn, grow and create as you go, then a career spent in the arts can only be fulfilling and rewarding.

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    Johnathan Kindall

    Johnathan Kindall is the Content Editor at TeenLife Media. He attended Boston University’s College of Communications, graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Journalism. Johnathan is dedicated to launching teens into life by providing a number of resources that help teens navigate the world of college, enrichment learning and more.