Students have been discouraged from studying the arts, humanities, and social sciences based on the misperception that there are no meaningful career opportunities for graduates who have studied these subjects. This is simply not true! There are exciting, well-paying, growth-oriented professional positions for people with an art background. Indeed, they are vital for the economy today. The following draft letter may help students with an interest and talent in art convince mom and dad that they should be taking art classes in high school and college.
Dear Mom and Dad:
I’d like to study art and/or music in high school and college. Don’t worry. I know that you have heard that there are very few jobs in these areas and have images of starving artists with lots of debt when you think of an art or music student. All of us know that few professionals are selected to play music for leading orchestras, and few earn large incomes from their paintings. It is also true that you will find starving artists and musicians. However, you will also find many with very successful careers earning very substantial salaries applying their knowledge of art and music. The key is that these successful students study art and/or music along with business and/or technology, which is just what I want to do.
Here are a few examples of the types of work I might do, applying my skills in art and music in industry.
Advertising. Designing product packaging, internet advertising, and billboards which are attractive and help to sell products.
Architect. Designing a nice-looking structure requires knowledge of art as well as technology.
Cosmetic Surgeon. Artistic ability is critical, right?
Dentist. Would you want someone without artistic ability reshaping your mouth (or mine)?
Human Factors Engineer. In addition to understanding psychology and technology, having
artistic ability is an asset in designing products which are safe, easy, and fun for people to use.
Industrial Designer. Designing products for consumers and professionals.
Interior Designer. Designing attractive building interiors requires artistic talent.
Landscape Architect. In addition to understanding science, a landscape architect has to make landscapes look beautiful.
Software Engineer. Did you know that prior to colleges and universities offering degrees in computer science and software engineering, music majors were widely sought after to do computer programming? Evidently, the skills which a music student acquires help them to program!
I hope that I have shown you how my art and/or music training will be the differentiator that helps launch my career in whatever discipline I may eventually choose, so that I will be so much more successful than graduates without art and/or music training. It will be a great investment.
Your Future Professional,
Ronald G. Shapiro, Ph.D.