Art Careers: Are They Worth the Sacrifice?

As the world rapidly advances technologically, careers in art become less enticing than business or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

As the world rapidly advances technologically, careers in art become less enticing than business or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. High-paying companies tend to rely on technology to fulfill consumer needs and thus often have a higher demand for employees who specialize in such fields. As a result, many artists face the challenge of choosing between pursuing their passion or succumbing to a practical occupation that ensures financial stability. Whether pursuing a career in art is "worth it" depends on an individual's situation and beliefs. If one's main goal is to generate a fast and steady income, then perhaps he or she would prefer an occupation that ensures economic prosperity. On the other hand, though a career in art may not provide the same level of economic security, artists can still earn a livable income while profiting from added emotional benefits such as more creative freedom, the opportunity to create universal impact, and to foster long-lasting relationships.

In contrast to popular misconceptions, a career in art doesn't necessarily lead to financial instability. As the demand for technology continues to increase, many lucrative career opportunities are arising as intermediaries between jobs focused entirely on art and ones focused entirely on income. Jobs such as music, film, video production, or Google's graphic design program integrate art with innovation, making artists more attractive to money-making industries. These jobs provide artists comfortable incomes while also allowing them to pursue their passions. Such jobs are viable solutions to the dilemma of choosing between a high-paying occupation or a creatively-driven profession that risks one's financial stability. Artists today have access to more career routes that simultaneously grant monetary gain and creative expression.

Art careers benefit individuals in ways other career paths do not. Most of the time, the work done in technological fields caters to consumer needs, so there is less opportunity in allowing innovators to initiate their own social conversations. A career in art often involves expressing important ideas and creating statements that words sometimes fail to convey. It facilitates a communication of ideas that drive both personal and worldly conversation and change. In 2013, an art installation dubbed What Were You Wearing? brought awareness to multi-aged and gendered victims of sexual assault. The creators of this installation sought to dissolve the myth of clothing as a provocative factor in rape culture, a perception that still endures today. More recently, Rael San Fratello, an architecture studio, installed three sets of pink seesaws across the U.S.-Mexico border with the intention of creating "meaningful connections" to implement "balance and equality" in a divided world. These few installments display the impact of artists' statements that respond to prevalent socio-political issues. Through art, artists of all mediums offer their perspectives on worldly issues and have opportunities to affect social change through worldwide movements such as the Black Arts Movement or the Chicano Movement. Artists affect our personal opinions as well as our values, because we are constantly exposed to different forms of art. From listening to music in the car, watching television, to reading a book, we absorb different artists' stories that either strengthen or shift our views. Ultimately, art serves as a method of communication, affecting social impacts that connect individuals from small communities to entire nations.

Although the importance of art sometimes remains unrecognized, we need to acknowledge its benefits. Whether it be through literature, visual arts, or performing arts, each art form creates lasting impacts that influence our beliefs and decisions. In a world so economically focused, many overlook the value of art and its intentions as they fall victim to wanting a greater sense of financial security provided by a nine to five job. The pursuit of art, on the other hand, creates opportunities for both personal and universal discussion by emphasizing the benefit of creative license. As innovative jobs integrating artistic abilities evolve, the dilemma of choosing between monetary prosperity and pursuing art ceases to exist. In the end, an art career provides personal fulfillment without sacrificing a comfortable lifestyle. From small installations to a cultural renaissance, artists stimulate change and create connections throughout the world that continue to impact our lives.

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