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Report Shows Art Schools Focusing On Business Skills

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Photo: John Morgan

The report shows that 56 percent of recent art school alumni don't work as professional artists because work is not available.

Universities in the United States appear to be teaching art students fewer technical skills and are instead teaching skills that can be transferred to other careers.

That’s according to a survey of recent graduates from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project based at Indiana University.

It finds students are less likely to be taught artistic technique, for example, and are more likely to be taught relationship building, persuasive speaking, and business management.

One of the report’s authors, Sally Gaskill, says that’s partly because art schools have changed their curricula to make them more career-oriented.

“Faculty members and administrators at colleges and universities in art schools are much more aware that artists don’t just need to learn artistic techniques and increase that kind of skills while they are in college, but they also need to work on skills that will help them make careers as artists,” Gaskill said.

Shannon McCullough is the the Director of Admissions and Student Services at Herron school of Art and Design at IUPUI.

She points to the report’s findings that 56 percent of recent alumni do not work as professional artists because artistic work is not available. She says that indicates the importance of transferable skills that could provide art graduates more job opportunities.

“They have received a very holistic education, and they are very well rounded. That can take them to opportunities that are beyond a lot of people can even said them,” McCullough said.

The report also shows 35 percent of recent graduates indicated student debt affected their decisions, compared to 14 percent of non-recent alumni.

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