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Few Job Prospects For Art Grads

Sun., June 29, 1997

Students earning degrees in pharmacy this year can expect job offers at $51,414 a year. Chemical engineers are getting an average $42,450.

But artists?

Every spring, 5,000 to 10,000 aspiring Picassos and Michelangelos emerge with degrees in fine arts from American colleges. Many face the same problem: how to eat regularly.

“They mostly have to go into business for themselves,” said Dawn Traub of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which keeps job offer statistics.

“There are no real job opportunities,” adds William Barrett, executive director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design in San Francisco.

“Nobody is going to hire you to be a sculptor.”

At the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, one of the country’s oldest and best known, the whole faculty tries to find students jobs that have at least some relation to art - even if it is just as a guard in a museum.

They do not always succeed. Some new “bachelors of fine arts” wait on tables. A few have hired out as house painters.

Some graduates teach. The College Art Association in New York carried 1,004 help-wanted ads last year in its magazine. The advertising manager says most were teaching jobs.

A lecturer or instructor could hope for $28,250. But there were, on average, 87 applicants for each arts teaching position, many with experience.

Tags: Employment

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