It’s typical for people to believe that it’s impossible to survive on an artist’s income. Artists are all-to-used to being told to pick a “safer” career path; no one can realistically survive the realm of creativity. But what has always separated artists from non-artists is the ability to see and believe what lies beyond the surface.
Luckily, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) provides many perks, and job opportunities — on campus and off, present and future — are among them.
A good place to start is SAIC Launch: a job and opportunities database that lists on-campus positions from employers that are looking for SAIC students. Positions include part-time, full-time, volunteer, and freelance. Students can search and apply directly from Launch.
Students are also able to select work related to their artistic field. Users can filter for work specifically for photographers, graphic designers, painters, writers, sculptors, and more. Students who want to use the database must register with their SAIC account information to be granted full access.
The next step is to upload a recent resume. If resumes freak you out, SAIC has you covered: Career and Professional Experience will assist you in creating a very impressive document. If you’re not on campus, there are plenty of websites, tutorials, and videos available online. Perdue Owl offers an online workshop; Forbes has a useful article on the subject; and College Art Association offers tutorials specific to college students.
In August, there will be many exciting changes happening to the Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) office. Terri Lonier, dean of CAPX, said that “ one of the biggest changes is that there will be a new platform for part-time, full-time, and freelance jobs, called SAIC Compass. In addition, students will also be able to search for internship and volunteer opportunities. SAIC Compass will be a one-stop shop. Launch will remain, but only for on-campus jobs that can only be accepted through federal work study. SAIC Compass is for all opportunities outside of the campus.”
In the past, students have complained that the sheer volume of jobs in the Launch database make searching for an SAIC job needlessly difficult; this change aims to alleviate that burden.
If Launch fails you, CAPX can assist SAIC students as they broaden their job searches. The center provides additional research, application assistance, cover letter guidance, and tutorials on portfolios to help make job searching more successful.
Other resources for finding employment include Chicago Artists Resource, which is an artist-curated directory of professional resources, job postings, and calls for artists. The resource database is committed to serving artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, and actors. From the site you are able to search for specific calls for artists by entering keywords or choosing from the lists of types, locations, and disciplines.
If you’re looking to branch out and build your network, check out Chicago Artist Coalition. This is group of artists that produce events throughout the year that provides vital professional development for entrepreneurial artists and the creative. This website offers opportunities to artist for jobs, calls, and space rentals.
If you fail, remember: Persistence counts. Check daily on Launch, weekly with the Career and Professional Experience, and try to freelance in the meantime.