- by Always Art Staff
There are many industry resources available for artists to help them advance their careers and achieve their goals. There are opportunities you can take advantage of to be sure your work is seen and that your career is growing beyond seeking gallery representation. Explore the options below and subscribe to email lists of relevant organizations whenever possible so that you can get updates when there are new opportunities that you may be interested in.
Artist associations are typically non-profit organizations that provide events, education, community resources, or opportunities for artists to pursue projects. Becoming a member of an artist association will allow you to access other artists, as well as email lists, databases, and opportunities to enter exhibitions, funding pools, and other resources that can advance your career. There are private, local, and government-based associations. Some famous examples are Arts Boston, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. You can find relevant associations near you by searching “Art association city name,” or you can look for national organizations.
Residencies give artists a chance to designate a period of time—whether it’s a week, month, or several months—to create work in a designated studio location. Some residencies offer stipends to artists, while others are free or have tuition associated with them. Most residencies will require artists to travel to that site for the duration, where they will be given access to a studio or workspace near other artists.
These opportunities are fantastic, as they allow artists to take a break from other responsibilities and focus on their work for a given period, network and meet other artists, get inspiration from a change of scenery, and join exhibitions and other professional opportunities. You have to apply to residencies like you would with any other program, and some have highly competitive admissions processes. There are thousands of residencies out there, and you can find databases listing all the residency options online, including:
- The big list of artist residencies
- Artist communities
- Res artis
Grants and fellowships
Non-profit, charity, government, or other arts organizations and associations will offer grants and fellowships to provide funding opportunities for artists. These opportunities are typically specific to the type of work you make, or your background. For example, a fellowship for young women painters. You can find these opportunities through art associations or government art councils, and some art institutions, collections, museums, and other establishments will offer opportunities in line with their values and vision, allowing you to produce work for their organization or a show at their location. There are also educational opportunities frequently associated with fellowships to help you grow your career or pursue a particular thread in your work.
Art fairs and exhibitions
Showing your work in an art fair or exhibition is, of course, a fantastic opportunity to grow your following as an artist. However, typically showing at a fair requires gallery representation, so if you aren’t there yet, you should attend fairs to network. You will have the chance to meet other artists, gallerists, and collectors who are all attending and should be prepared to exchange contact information or even bring business cards.
If you don’t have gallery representation, you can also apply to join exhibitions by looking for open calls for solo or group show opportunities or even organizing shows yourself.
When you meet people, you will want to be able to point them to a location online where they can view your work. This should be your website, as well as social media accounts solely dedicated to your art practice and portfolio. Both of these platforms will also be essential in allowing new audiences to discover your work organically through digital platforms. This will expand your reach and get your work seen by as many people as possible.
Professional development programs
Organizations and associations will offer professional development opportunities in the form of courses, coaching, and intensives to help artists with the business side of their careers. You can attend programs about career strategy, finances, leadership, entrepreneurship, and more. The New York Foundation for the Arts hosts online learning programs for artists and other professionals in the field.