So, you are an artist. But what sort? If you have studied and worked in any fields of fine art, including teaching, this resume guide is for you.
The thing is, art is many things to many people and it is expressed in many different ways, all of which demand skill, imagination, and creativity.
Let’s imagine that you are wonderfully creative and have exhibited some of your work in galleries. You have even sold some of your paintings and have a couple of art shops that are willing to consider taking your work on consignment.
We are going to delve into the world of art-related jobs that are available to artists like you, and we will show you how to craft a skillful, imaginative, and creative art resume that will help you get the job of your dreams.
At the end of this article, you will find a sample art resume that shows what information should be included.
Resume objective for art
You’ve been working in art-related jobs, but now want to up your game and get a position that is better paid and more challenging.
It can be tough, and there is lots of evidence that artists switch in and of self-employment and paid employment a heck of a lot more than other professional workers. So hang in there.
Maybe you’ve got a degree or diploma, maybe not. If you haven’t, you’ll need to show that you have the skills and experience that make you just as good as many of those who do.
Artists, especially Bachelor of Fine Art graduates, can get jobs in all kinds of fields from hands-on painting or illustrating to teaching or even dealing in art. If you haven’t done it already, you are going to need to decide which direction to take. Or you could change your mind!
You might even consider taking a Master of Fine Arts degree because your opportunities will multiply enormously. But right now you need a job.
Once you’ve found a job opportunity that you like the sound of, you will need to be sure you understand exactly what skills and experience are required for the job. Then you can go ahead and start crafting an excellent art resume that will stand out above other competitive candidates.
For this sample objective, let’s presume you have an MFA.
Experienced art teacher and program manager with MFA. Strong computer and learning management system skills. Dedicated team player with the ability to juggle projects and meet tight deadlines. Thrives on staying in touch with trends and developments in the world of fine and applied arts.
Resume skills for art
The skills you will need to highlight on your art resume must be in keeping with those required for the job you are applying for.
But, at the same time, if they are relevant, add any additional skills you may have even if they aren’t specified in the job advertisement. Just don’t be tempted to claim skills that you don’t have, even if you hope to acquire them soon.
If you don’t have the prerequisite skills, you’ll probably be better off looking for another position with a company that has different goals and opportunities.
The funny (as in strange) thing is that not all fine art jobs entail creative painting, drawing, illustration, and so on. Some involve teaching and training other people. Others require conceptual capabilities. So you need to think out of the box.
You also need to be aware that there will always be specific skill sets specified within job parameters that require artists to know or learn new software packages, from basic computer skills to on-screen graphic design or 3D sculptural modeling.
3D design will also require CAD skills, concept generation, and laser cutting.
You might also be expected to be aware of industry trends and changing techniques depending, of course, on the specific job.
Getting a job as an artist doesn’t just rely on the fact that you have exceptional artistic skills!
Painting and illustration | Microsoft Office suite | Database skills | Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle learning management systems | 3D modeling | Digital visualization and drawing tools | Excellent teamwork skills | Post-secondary level teaching | Arts management
Art work experience
Some artists dream of getting into a gallery and participating in international exhibitions, others just want to teach other people about the subject that is part of their soul.
Some prefer to do something quite different. Perhaps something that might involve video games.
It might surprise you that jobs like the PlayStation environmental artist position listed in the sample work experience below, require artists with strong traditional fine art skills and training. Most will though also want the artist they employ to have the relevant production experience.
The highest paying job you are likely to get with a fine art degree is Gallery Manager of an establishment that sells the work of well known and iconic artists.
It’s always a challenge to gain enough experience to break into a particular field of art, and internships are a possible solution. Some are paid and some unpaid, and many are available to graduates.
Internships are also a great way to branch out into a specialist field. For instance, if you’ve been teaching art for a few years, you could get an internship in a gallery that will give you invaluable experience in that field.
At the end of the day, there are a plethora of possible art jobs available for artists. The sample work experience examples below give show just how varied they can be.
When you list your art experience, it’s also a good idea to use accomplishment statements to describe your achievements. If you’ve won competitions and participated in exhibitions, this is where to mention them.
The layout in the samples is recommended because it will enable you to show simply and effectively what art work experience you have had.
Sample Work Experience
Creative Art Works non-profit
Program Director, 2016 – 2020
Established new mission-driven goals for the CAW program department. Oversaw a dynamic portfolio of cultural partnerships in the arts that involved public and community art, school programs, and youth employment.
- Successfully presented three youth-led art exhibitions
- Built substantial financial support for the department
- Improved the existing evaluation tools that were being used or youth and teaching artist performance
- Suggested a new program with cities in the same area to benefit everyone
Sony Interactive Entertainment PlayStation
Environmental Artist, 2013 – 2015
Created content for PlayStation video games using 3D modeling and 2D texture map painting. Involved with material setup and UV layout. Collaborated on conceptual designs and artistic styles for games.
- Part of the team that created an award-winning game launched in 2014
- Chosen to lead the analytical team during 2014
- Initiated a research program to identify the best 3D games that we needed to outdo
- Upped my game and went from employee to top lead player (literally) in 2012
Rhode Island School of Design
Project Manager, Fine & Applied Arts, 2014 – 2016
Responsible for research, planning, coordination, monitoring, evaluating, and implementing a diverse selection of continuing education programs. Worked as a subject matter expert for all fine and applied art programs.
- Actively engaged Continuing Education staffers and key instructors in all new programs
- Recruited, hired and trained six new CE staffers, most of whom are still in the department
- Ensured all standards, procedures, and academic policies were maintained and regularly updated
- Prepared comprehensive descriptions for all courses and programs for approval by the School Director
Joscelyn Airway Fun Center
Artist, 2013 (part-time including nights and weekends)
Hosted fun classes and taught painting to guests. Interacted with guests – both adults and children – helping to create a memorable experience with Painting with a Twist.
- Motivated multiple return visits by guests who brought new guests to the center
- Voted the friendliest Paint and Sip Fun Party Host of 2014
- Introduced face painting
- Hosted more than 20 paint parties
Many artists opt to study fine art at a college or university. Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees last for four years and can be a stepping stone to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
An MFA is a terminal degree, meaning it’s the highest academic achievement in this field of study. Maybe this will be your next goal!
Technical colleges and some community colleges offer diplomas for specialized art learning.
When you specify your education on your resume, you need to be sure that the education is suitable and adequate in terms of the qualification (if any) it has resulted in.
Bard College, 2010 – 2013 (summer sessions)
Yale University, 2008 – 2011
There are various online art courses artists can take to expand their skills and increase their job opportunities. There are also continuing studies at some universities that can help you expand your skills and experience.
For example, the Art Institute of Chicago has a School of Continuing Studies that offers a wide range of courses that cater to everyone including children, high school students, adults, and teachers. So even if you have been working for many years, there are opportunities to learn new professional art skills.
Some universities and colleges also have continuing education courses that offer you the opportunity to expand your knowledge and get additional certificates in art-related fields.
If you want to do a specific type of course, shop around because there will likely be a bunch available in your city. They can be particularly useful if you decide to change direction after graduating with a bachelor’s degree or diploma.
The examples below are offered by Tufts University in Massachusetts.
- Anatomy for Life Drawing
- Color Mastery
- Digital and Experimental Animation
- Certificate in Illustration
You might have the best skills and talents ever, but even artists can gain from certifications and licensing. These are generally only available to art graduates who have at very least a bachelor’s degree.
The benefit of certification in art is that it verifies your education and training and so helps to endorse you as an excellent candidate for a new job in certain fields, including teaching.
If you’re gunning for a job as an art teacher or lecturer, certifications will help to make your resume shine.
In the US, certifications differ from state-to-state, but you will usually need to have passed specific exams to be able to apply. And in most states, you need to pass the Praxis II: Art Content Knowledge or other Praxis exams.
Ultimately, it’s all about credentials. You might need to do some homework if you don’t know what certifications are offered in your state. But it will likely be worth the effort because art teacher certifications will rank you higher than competitors who want the same job you are applying for.
Certifications also enable art graduates to qualify for advanced degree programs. So this is another key to upgrading your professional art career. Most need to be renewed every three to five years.
Here are some examples.
- Graduate art teachers in Florida can get a Professional Florida Educator’s Certificate that gives you access to a Professional License to teach.
- Graduate art teachers in Georgia can apply for a license/certification if they meet certain education requirements, including a specified passing score.
- In Louisiana, art teachers can apply for different, progressive levels of professional certification each of which has different requirements.
- In Massachusetts, you can get a preliminary certification with a bachelor’s degree. There are more stringent requirements, including at least three years of full-time employment, to qualify for a professional license.
- The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences offers a two-year licensure program for BFA graduates and those with a BA degree in an art-related field. It doesn’t result in a second degree but rather prepares students so they can become licensed in Ohio.
Complete art resume sample
Now we’re going to compile a full art resume to be included in a job application based on a real advert for the Assistant Professor of Drawing and Painting at Utah State University.
While the job focuses on two of the traditional fine art skills of painting and drawing, to get the job you’re going to need at least two years of teaching experience at university level.
The university would also like the new professor to have exhibited their art nationally and/or internationally. They also want someone who has mentored undergraduate fine art students.
Assistant Art Professor
Experienced art teacher who has taught undergraduate and graduate university courses. Drawing, painting, and 3D design are specialties. Undergraduate research mentor. Extensive exhibition record with sales. Committed to teaching students of all cultures.
CAD | Concept generation | 3D modeling and printing | Microsoft Office | Painting and drawing in multiple media | Figures, landscapes, abstract, digital | strong communication skills | Strong student cohort | Successful searching and research records
Dixie State University, 2019 – 2020
Taught courses in studio arts including contemporary painting methods and ideas. Participated in the continuing development of studio courses. Participated in committee work at departmental level.
- Conceptualized and incorporated digital media in the fine arts university program
- Mentored six fine art students majoring in Professional Practice in Fine Arts
- Introduced an annual competition for post-graduate students
- Launched a continuing education course for art teachers
Utah Valley University, 2018
Lecturer – Art & Design
Lectured in 3D design, including the difference between mass-produced and artisanal design. Planned, prepared, and taught using a variety of learning styles. Set and marked papers. Provided half-termly reports.
- Initiated workshops where students produced potential 3D artwork for local exhibitions
- Prepared a short course on 3D design for a continuing education course
- Wrote and delivered a paper on The Rise of Digital Art in America
- Awarded first prize in a community artisanal art competition
Westminster College, 2017
Visual Arts Tutor
Worked with a team of teachers in the Arts Education Continuing Education program. Provided professional development training in the field of visual arts, including painting and drawing.
- Two of my students were accepted on the Arts Connect International Course
- My work was accepted at several European exhibitions
- Did part-time research into art culture
- Increased the number of participants in the continuing education program twofold
The University of Utah College of Fine Arts, 2015 – 2016
- Graduate Research Assistant
- Graduate Teaching Assistant
- Won third prize in a university oil painting competition
The University of Utah College of Fine Arts, 2011 – 2014
- Best grades in the class of 2013
- Received an A grade for a research project in 3D sculpture
- Passed the required Praxis Subject Assessments
- Utah Educator License
Here are some good ideas to remember when you are crafting an art resume for a new job.
- Some artists dream of getting into a gallery and participating in international exhibitions, others just want to teach others about the subject that is part of their soul. Your resume is the key to getting your dream job.
- Enter as many competitions and exhibitions as possible so that your work gets exposure in public spaces. These always look good on an art resume.
- Do extra courses and enroll for continuing education workshops if you want to expand your knowledge of art.
- Anyone aiming for a senior art teaching job should undertake research projects. Any research papers that are published can be listed on your resume.
Tips from Experts
“We imagine the possibilities. I believe. They believe. Together we achieve more.” – Stacie Cantin, art teacher with a Professional Educational License in Art Education
“A strong art resume is a marketing document. It’s important to know that the average employer today takes about seven seconds. So they are not reading the resume, they are skimming these resumes.” – Linda Spencer, associate director and coordinator of career advising at Harvard Extension School that offers courses for artists
The field of art is vast and varied even when you restrict it to fine art. Job opportunities are also diverse and different, ranging from teaching art subjects to managing art galleries. Many self-employed artists paint or draw pictures for a living.
When you craft an art resume, you will need to focus very closely on your abilities, talents, skills, and above all else, your experience. Of course, you will also highlight your qualifications including a BFA or better still an MFA.
Be confident about your talents and experience. It is these that will enable you to market yourself and get the job that you really want.