Freshman artist looks towards practical careers in the arts

Sophie Decker, Web Editor, A/V Editor

Sun filters in from large windows, illuminating the wood floors of her art studio as freshman Stella Amy works on her most recent project: Christmas presents! 

Last Christmas, Amy made bags for her family using a technique called wet felting, in which a solid form is made by matting together wool fibers. Amy is well versed in many artistic mediums and has been doing art as a hobby since she was five, first encouraged by her babysitter, but is now looking in the direction of a career.                                                                                                          

Amy paints, draws, sculpts, and does various fiber arts, wet felting being one of her favorites.

“You do the base first and then you add all the colors on top and then it like, kind of marbles together and I think it looks cool,” said Amy.

While Amy is confident in her skills, she also deals with a lot of pressure and expectation to be good when she is less experienced than people believe.

“It’s kind of stressful I guess, in art class and camp and stuff, like everyone’s so good around you and then you feel like, it just makes you feel bad,” said Amy.

Being expected to do well and feeling intimidated by others’ work is a common feeling for many artists, but despite this, art remains a calming activity for the freshman. She describes art as a way to express what she’s thinking about, and because of this she is very self-motivated to continue creating in the face of outside pressure. This drive has led her to start considering careers in the arts.

Many believe that careers in the arts are not viable and don’t pay a living wage; however, this is not the case. According to data collected by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, a data and research organization dedicated to collecting data from arts graduates, artists with all types of degrees are able to earn a livable income, the average yearly income for the arts being $49,000. These surveys come from more than 92,000 graduates ranging across various types of arts, including performing, musical, and visual arts. 75% of those artists at one point have been self employed, most likely doing solo freelance work from their home.

This is good news for Amy, as she has recently started to consider job prospects. She currently has her eye on doing product design, creating aesthetically pleasing but also functional products for a company, or interior design, planning and furnishing home and business interiors.

“Something practical,” Amy said. Since she began doing art, her family has been nothing but supportive of her choices, encouraging her in the direction of a practical career.

Amy agrees, “It just makes sense.” Amy is very excited by the idea that she can do what she loves for a living. Rather than just sitting at a desk doing work she doesn’t care about, Stella Amy is able to give something she loves to the world.