10 Ways being an Artist Makes You More Employable

Written by Bailey Patterson, Student Informatician

Experience in the arts hones a valuable skill set when it comes to employability across all markets. Artists are a fountain of talent and discipline, with applications from the healthcare industry, to marketing, to social services, and everything in between. In addition, artists make for great collaborators when designing accessible spaces across many contexts. Here are ten reasons why experience in arts translates into high employability: 

1. Creativity

The ability to “think outside the box” is invaluable in the workplace. Minds driven by artistic backgrounds are able to approach complex situations from new perspectives and create innovative solutions. This translates well into today’s “innovation economy”. Artists are the people you want to think about problems and generate new ideas. Creativity like this is invaluable in the context of creating accessible solutions. 

2. Adaptability

Any artist you meet is likely proficient in more than one skill. Artists sometimes face challenges caused by uncertainty, and are able to pivot their direction and make unexpected situations work for them. 

3. Resourcefulness 

Have you ever seen a beautiful visual artwork created by crushed can or newspaper clippings? Were you amazed at how someone saw something considered by many to be garbage and created meaning out of it? Artists of all varieties are skilled at using what they have and making the most out of it. They can stretch resources and create pathways from situations others might struggle to find any use for. This ability to imagine beyond the typical works well in situations where innovation is needed to create more accessible designs. 

4. Eye for the Aesthetic

Every business wants a product that is pleasing to the senses. Creating visual, auditory, or other interest is part of what makes products or services memorable. Artists are already accustomed to striving for stylistic excellence and will bring in a creative direction that improves the value of the entire business. 

5. Respectful of Others’ Time 

Many artists, regardless of discipline, are familiar with working with deadlines and schedules. Art is often team-based, and being punctual is a sign of respect for a colleagues’ time and dedication to the overall quality of the product. 

A young woman with headphones lowered to her neck sits on a blanket in a grassy outdoor space. She turns the page of a book and looks upward while contemplating. 

6. Self-Motivation

Artists are driven by the desire to create. Often, they are creating works that start from nothing but an idea. For this reason, artists are self-driven workers. They envision a goal and regulate their own progress toward it. This means they are excellent leaders when it comes to completing projects and can be trusted to “get the job done”, whatever it may include.  

7. Team Player

Every art form, on some level, is a team effort. Artists are well-versed in collaboratively using skills to create the best product. They understand their own strengths and can fit efficiently into any group. They have appreciation for teammates and understand that great outcomes require great teamwork. 

8. Interpersonal Communication 

If you have ever spent time with artists, you will discover that they are often deeply thoughtful about other people. Whether they are introverted or extroverted, artists are fascinated by the human condition and have a thorough understanding of themselves and compassion for those around them. These qualities enhance their ability to build rapport with a variety of people. This ability to facilitate communication translates well into the creation of Universal Design features because it means the artist at hand has the skills they need to understand what issues their collaborators are bringing to the table. 

9. Public Speaking

Artists are no stranger to public speaking. Many fields within the arts require a person to present their ideas or talents in front of diverse types of audiences. Artists have experience demonstrating  this skill and can communicate critical ideas that best represent their organization in front of a variety of people. Artists adept in public speaking can “read a crowd” and tune their presentation to the needs of the listener be highly effective communicators. 

10. Boldness

The arts is a fast paced and competitive field. Criticism is at the heart of how artists improve skills. This also invites risk taking and bold ideas. For this reason, people with backgrounds in the arts will be courageous in their work and handle criticism with grace and introspection. 

A group of people sit at a table in a bright office space. A few members of the group are in conversation while the others listen. 

All of these reasons demonstrate the potential that people with artistic skills bring to the table in the workplace, but let’s take it even further! Considering arts in employment becomes especially important when it comes to accessibility. In the world of business, it is important to prioritize the access needs of everyone who may come in contact with your operation. For this reason, Universal Design in all facets of work is a must! Universal Design is a goal that is reached through the hard work of teams of individuals. Artists and designers are some of the most important collaborators for ensuring accessibility is built into the fabric of the work being done across many different contexts. 

With all of this in mind, it’s clear to see that people with experience in the arts should not be overlooked in employment. Furthermore, honing one’s skills in the arts translates to employability today in many energizing ways. Universal Design and Accessibility practices are a must in the workplace, and artists are people who can help get you there. Employers should consider artists and their skills as potential they can tap into and encourage employees to explore their creative side.