The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday August 12th

Q&A: UCS counselor gives tips for making it in the arts

Emily Strader is the student employment coordinator at University Career Services and also counsels students pursuing careers in the arts. In light of the upcoming graduation in May, we asked her questions about what recently graduated artists should do to get started in the arts world.

Daily Tar Heel:
For graduating seniors, how can you get involved in art right out of college?

Strader: Most of them are going to pretty much have a destination city in mind, go to that city and find work that pays the bills and that has an arts community. That city depends on their field of interest within the arts.

For a new graduate, they need to pick a destination city that has the reputation as being an arts city. It can be New York or Chicago, but it can also be Mexico City or Santa Fe.

What part-time options are there for people working another job?

Strader: It’s anything from a temporary or seasonal job, and some of the best casting takes place in the restaurants of New York City. Also, students can find ways to promote and sell their art on the side if it is visual art.

Otherwise, it’s any kind of part-time job that will make ends meet. There are any number of organizations that look for graphic designers or painters; it’s just a matter of doing your homework to seek them out. Most entry-level jobs will be behind-the-scenes, but through those jobs you can network in that art community.

DTH: What are some places or jobs people don’t think about but are still arts related?

Strader: People don’t think of art as being across so many industries – it is thought of as museum and galleries.

People can work in corporate positions, in hospitals, in public relations, in arts centers, in arts education, in venue management. Technology is really impacting the arts industry through gaming and software development.

Art is a very broad, wide area of opportunity, and it’s more than just our perception. We think it’s just a certain way, but it’s really so much more than that. Many arts students have interests beyond the gallery, museum or painting. Many have interests in wedding planning, the tourism industry, design and fabric, textiles and multimedia.


For visual arts, how can you get your work out there?

Strader: Find local venues along Franklin Street that will let you post your artwork. Always have a business card with your work. Students should also tap into public art submissions. There are also local organizations of Chapel Hill. Every artist needs to learn about writing because artists feel effects of grant writing that gets their work out in a space.

DTH: For performance arts, what are some alternative ways to get involved in performances?

Strader: There are tons of non-profit, little theaters that people just love to participate in. If a student wants to build his or her resume around performance, participating in outdoor drama for the summer or the peak season would be one big, good resume builder.

Find those small theater companies that want performers. In big cities, you have to find ways into the theaters with call backs and auditions, perhaps by working behind-the-scenes at first. The best way to get into the arts is to go to the place.

DTH: For music, how can you find gigs or more steady performance opportunities?

Strader: Find management, people who find music to market and promote. Through self-promotion, find places that would regularly let you come in and let you perform.

A lot of that is done by advertising on a Web site and using social media to help spread the word. The real promotion comes in going to gigs for business that need groups and bands.

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