Fine Arts: Worth it

Majoring in the arts has gained a bad reputation for producing lower incomes than other majors, and as such, artists are generally seen as the underdogs of society for choosing the “unconventional” path of life. However, when it comes to studying the arts in college, students will be receiving a comprehensive education well beyond the  basic art arts courses in high school. This inaccurate reputation stigmatizes those who choose to study what they are most passionate about.

Claiming that these degrees are inherently unprofitable and hence useless harms our culture. Art is a reflection of who we are; to shy students away from art degrees is turning them away from self-expression and asking them to give up a part of themselves. No one can fill in the large shoes of great American artists, such as Georgia O’Keefe and Andy Warhol, when society discourages the very profession. Although it is true that artists do not need degrees to be successful, art degrees are not just pieces of paper. Careers such as digital designers, stage managers and museum directors are more easily attainable with an arts degree in hand.

It is fair to say that art is seen as an “unlikely” career choice because of the low chances of being successful. However, these stereotypes are blown out of proportion and simply wrong. According to The Guardian, 56.8 percent of fine arts graduates directly enter employment. These degrees can also lead to further growth, as another 19 percent continued their training after receiving their degrees.

Realists will claim that an art degree will take you nowhere, but that is not the case. For the student who  is afraid of not making a living with an arts major, they shouldn’t be fooled by society. One doesn’t have to be a famous director to be considered successful in their field. Many behind the scenes, hands-on, technical jobs are available after graduation.

According to a survey by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, 92 percent of alumni who sought employment were employed. The study also found that a degree in fine arts can lead to entrepreneurial opportunities, as 14 percent of the employed had founded their own company. After graduating, careers in the field of arts can have a median yearly income of $150,000, according to the survey. Having a career in the arts can result in a more than livable salary.

If a college student dreams of one day performing in a prestigious concert hall or producing the next Oscar-winning film, no one should stop them from studying what they love. Even if students decide not to pursue a career in the arts, what they learn will add value to whatever career they decide.