Deep Dive - Arts Skip Navigation

The Arts

Are you creative? Are you inspired by collaborating with other creative minds? Do you value design and innovation and seek to pursue those qualities in a career? If so, then a career in the arts may be for you.
Fiona Adjei Boateng
Pursuing a career in the arts requires creativity and persistence, as the path is usually not clear-cut or easy to find. The benefit of this is that you are able to shape your own career path.

Colgate Professional Network

Colgate Professional Networks spark crucial relationships, introducing you to fellow Colgate community members working in your industry. Follow the link below to investigate which of the 10 Professional Networks pertains most to you and your industry of choice.

The Arts Advisor

Headshot of Vera Chapman
Read about Vera
Vera first began her career at Colgate University in 2013 as the Associate Director of Career Development and recently transitioned into the role of Career Advisor for Creative Communications and the Arts to spend more time directly with students.

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, a study abroad experience at Clemson University led her to the University of Mississippi, where she pursued advanced degrees in counseling and higher education. After becoming a licensed professional counselor in Mississippi, Vera served as a career planning specialist and adjunct professor at the same institution. Vera is passionate about empowering others to become the most extraordinary version of themselves— something she accomplishes through blogging and other creative ventures. Vera is joined in Hamilton by her husband, David Chapman, who currently serves as the head coach of the Colgate rugby football club, and their two young children, Grayson and Ivey.


Call 315-228-7380 for an advising appointment.

Explore Careers

The liberal arts provide the most solid foundation upon which to build a career in architecture. Nearly every Colgate course of study—art, history, environmental science, art history, mathematics, language, sociology, anthropology, computer science, to name just a few—informs the field of architecture. Architects’ work addresses the past (historic preservation) and the future (sustainability), while confronting present-day design needs in the civic and private spheres. After Colgate, the next step, education-wise, is an M.Arch- a three-year program for those who hold undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than architecture. Lastly, be sure to go abroad—Florence! Venice! Rome!

To learn more, visit Spotlight on Careers: Architecture

Arts administration
Arts administrators run the business side of non-profit arts organizations. They wear many hats: event planner, marketer, public relations specialist, fundraiser, educator, and are committed to sustaining art in all forms; they run art councils, theaters, museums, dance companies, and more.

To learn more visit Spotlight on Careers (Contact Career Services for login instructions): Arts Administration
The filmmaking industry is a highly competitive, innovative, and technical business that involves the production of featured films, documentaries, commercials, made-for-television movies, unscripted TV and music programming and video. Preparing for a career in film can be ambiguous because film jobs and internships are varied and can be divided into five distinct phases of production: development, pre-production, production, post-production, and distribution.

Film Production Stages

Development: The stage where potential projects are selected or written. This stage includes reading and developing scripts, brainstorming ideas, securing financial arrangements, and assembling a creative team.
  • Entry-level positions: Staff Writer, Personal Assistant
Pre-Production: The stage where most of the creative decisions are determined. This stage includes hiring the cast and production crew, rewriting the script or treatment, selecting a location, and constricting a set design.
  • Entry-level positions: Script Reader, Copywriter
Media: Develop plans and research the media strategy; meet with media reps from various sites, traffic all complete creative to media sites.
  • Entry-level positions: Assistant Media Planners/Buyers
Production or Principle Photography: The stage where the production is filmed in a studio or on location and can include publicity materials.
  • Entry-level positions: Production Assistant, Camera Assistant
Post-Production: The stage where the production is edited to create a final product. This stage can include adding music, visual effects, and editing sound/film.
  • Entry-level positions: Video Logger, Second Assistant Editor
Distribution: The stage where promotional materials are generated to market the project. This stage includes selling posters, merchandise, and commercial time.
  • Entry-level positions: Public Relations Assistant, Marketing Representative
Helpful Resources to learn more:
Fine and visual arts
Teaching Art
Art teachers provide art education in public or private schools, institutions of higher learning, community centers, or even human service organizations. Although teaching in a public K-12 school will require a teaching certificate, this may not be the case in private K-12 settings, college continuing education programs, museum education departments, community arts centers, or even service organizations focused on youth or community outreach. Teaching at a college or similar institution usually requires an MFA, but sometimes artist educators are hired based on their exhibition record or artistic merits.

Museum or Gallery Technician
A museum or gallery technician may perform various duties depending on the scope of the position and the needs of the organization, but generally the role involves preparing, installing, deinstalling, restoring, and/or maintaining objects of art of various media. Other similar titles may be art handler, registrar, conservator, preparator, or archivist. These positions usually require a combination of experience handling artwork and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts or museum studies coursework. Depending on the requirements of the position, an advanced degree may also be necessary.

A curator generally oversees and manages a collection, conducts research, makes recommendations for acquisitions, selects for exhibition artists and artwork, and often initiates publication of supportive materials. Exact roles depend on the size and focus of the organization. At smaller organizations, curators may oversee an entire collection, whereas at larger organizations curators may specialize in a specific discipline or period. Generally, a Master’s or PhD is preferred for these roles, but smaller institutions may only require a bachelor's degree.

Commissioned Art
Some artists make a living by creating work on commission, often being hired to create a specific piece for individuals, businesses, and government or public entities. Public art is a common form of commissioned work, where artists create site-specific work on permanent or temporary display. Public art opportunities usually require a formal proposal.

Art Therapy
The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) defines art therapy as a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art-making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. Often, practicing art therapy requires graduate level education and passing certification tests required by state or other local government entities.
Performing arts
Performers who are met with success in the field of theater have spent years perfecting the nuances of their craft through hard-work and practice. Students of theatre should be ready to accept harsh critical feedback in the wake of auditions, to collaborate with others, and to tap into energy and be extroverted when on the job. Success in acting, producing, or directing could spell great fiscal gain as well as fame and the joy of living your passion every day.

To succeed as a professional dancer one must be willing to work immensely hard to perfect their craft. Without talent and dedication to the art, it is not all that plausible to succeed. The thrill of triumph after dedicating one’s life to a practice, such as dance, makes it time well-spent for many aspiring young dancers.

Music is a unique profession in that it can successfully work to touch the lives of those that listen. Whether one is trying to be a rock star or the member of an orchestra, a considerable amount of time will be spent in solitude practicing. To succeed in music is to be the best you can possibly be at your chosen instrument.

Resources for Further Exploration
Check out Spotlight on Careers (for username and password, please contact Career Services): Performing Arts

Prepare for Jobs and Internships

Information, tips, and strategies to help prepare you as an undergraduate.
Résumé advice
In addition to the standard sections of Education, Honors/Awards, Activities, and Professional Experience, you may choose to include sections for published recognitions of your work (“Bibliography”), exhibitions in which you have participated (“Exhibitions”), and publications, productions, or shows in which you have been involved (for the performing arts and for writers/authors). For artists seeking careers in academia, a Curriculum Vitae is preferred and may extend up to four pages in length.

Individuals in the fine and performing arts may benefit from a résumé styled to feature unique information such as performance roles, art shows, or specialized training. Make an appointment with a career advisor to discuss your situation and develop a strategy to best present your creative experience.
Professional associations
These organizations can be great places to make connections, learn more about the field, and search openings. Many have discounted student memberships. There are numerous professional associates tied to arts as a whole.
A sampling of relevant Colgate coursework
  • ARTS 100, Introduction to Studio Art
  • ARTS 201, Digital Studio: Animation, Image, and Sound Manipulation
  • ARTS 202, Digital Studio: Making, Modeling, and Gaming
  • ARTS 211, Drawing I
  • ARTS 221, Video Art I
  • ARTS 231, Painting I
  • ARTS 241, Photography I
  • ARTS 251, Printmaking I
  • ARTS 263, Sculpture: Surface and Form
  • ARTS 264, Sculpture: Material and Process
  • ARTS 271, Architectural Design I
  • ARTS 287, History & Theory of Cinema
  • ARTS 302, Digital Studio II
  • ARTS 312Drawing II
  • ARTS 322, Video Art II
  • ARTS 332, Painting II
  • ARTS 342, Photography II
  • Printmaking II
  • ARTS 364, Sculpture II
  • ARTS 405, Issues in Recent Art
  • FMST 210: Global Cinema
  • FMST/FREN 233, Intro to French Cinema
  • FMST 320, European Cinemas
  • FMST 333, Documentary Film
  • FMST 340, Music, Film, & Media
  • FMST 350, Hollywood and the World
  • FMST 400, Special topics in FMST
  • GERM 222, German Expressionist Cinema
  • ITAL 223, Italian Cinema
  • Numerous Art History courses
Architecture resources
Career Stages - The American Institute of Architects
Consider taking summer courses in Architecture at Syracuse, Columbia, or Harvard.

Important Publications: Spotlight on Careers: Resume & Interview Advice (for username and password, please contact Career Services).
Arts administration resources
Spotlight on Careers: Resume & Interview Advice (for username and password, please contact Career Services).

Important Publications:
Film resources
Desired skills & Characteristics:
  • writing, editing, and new media technology skills
  • creativity
  • attention to detail
  • knowledge of media theory and history
  • problem solving skills
  • a "can do" attitude
  • team player
  • enthusiasm
  • ability to work under pressure with strict deadlines
  • technical and software skills (e.g. Basic Photoshop, Illustrator, After Affects, Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro).
Tips for Breaking into the Film Industry:
  • Get a Production Assistant (PA) Internship
  • Learn the industry
  • A helpful resource to learn film lingo: The New York Film Academy Glossary of Film Terms
  • Network
  • Develop a Creative Portfolio: Begin a portfolio or create a media page that demonstrates your visual expression and imagination. For example, include images that convey a story, such as paintings, drawings, or photographic images (similar to storyboard); creative writing pieces, film scripts, theater scripts, film/video animation or documentary (no more than 10-15 minutes total running time). Sample website creators: WordPress,, Pressfolio,,
Training Programs: The film and Media Studies Department (FMST) offers courses in media theory, production, and sociopolitical and cultural experiences. Please visit the FMST webpage for more information.

Colgate's Digital Media Services department hires student workers as Media Interns and Media Monitors. To learn more, please visit Digital Media Services homepage.
Fine and visual arts resources
Rhode Island School of Design Career Center Guide to Making it as a Fine Artist
Performing arts resources
Spotlight on Careers: Resume & Interview Advice (for username and password, please contact Career Services).

Alumni Advice

Head shot of Ming Peiffer '10
Current Title and Organization:​
Co-Artistic Director/ Resident Playwright, Spookfish Theatre Company

Major at Colgate:
Theater Arts and Mandarin Chinese

Advanced Degrees:
MFA in Playwriting, Columbia University
Q&A with Ming
  • What do you currently do? I am the Co-Artistic Director, Resident Playwright, and Founder of the critically-acclaimed Spookfish Theatre Company. I am also a current NYTW 2050 Fellow, and a member of the Obie-award winning playwriting group Ensemble Studio Theater's Youngblood.

    Major responsibilities include:
    -Author and produce grants, proposals, press packets, and copy for website.
    -Co-design all media including posters, programs, and advertisements.
    -Develop events (productions and fundraisers) from conception to completion.
    -Author performance texts.
    -Edit performance texts.
    -Organize mailing list and database.
    -Work with primary group of artists to develop original artwork for company.

  • What was your first position out of Colgate and what did you do in that role?
    I started my own company, Spookfish Theatre Company, in 2010. I served in my current position as the Co-Artistic Director and Resident Playwright. Responsibilities were the same as above.

    I also worked as a Teaching Artist at The China Institute of America, where I developed and ran a Theatre/Chinese Language learning program for Children Ages 4-8, in addition to a program geared towards Highschool students.
  • How can students prepare themselves while at Colgate to work in your field?
    Read as many performance texts as possible. Participate in University Theater productions. Try to create your own work and organize theatrical events outside of the opportunities provided by the university and student theater community (ex: I directed a play set in one of the Townhouses.) If possible, go abroad with a non-Colgate abroad program focused on theatre arts. For example, Tisch NYU has programs affiliated with The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and The Shanghai Theatre Academy in Shanghai, China. Both excellent programs. During Summer, enroll in any additional classes and/or intensive summer programs available for Theatre Arts. Some programs have a more all-encompassing approach to theater, while others specialize in specific elements of the craft (ex. acting intensives, playwriting workshops). I attended the Stella Adler Summer Acting Program, but there are many to choose from based on your needs. Make sure to fully research any program you are planning on applying to, or feel free to reach out to me with questions.
  • What extracurricular activities, associated with your profession or not, were you involved with while at Colgate?
    University Theater, The Swinging 'Gates, Kappa Kappa Gamma

Find Opportunities

Recruiting Timeline
The recruiting timeline for the arts as a whole varies greatly, due to the amount of sub-industries within art itself. Many jobs in the arts are acquired through personal connections and networking.
Architecture resources
For info on the required Intern Development Program (IDP) and other experiences: Spotlight on Careers (for username and password, please contact Career Services).
The recruitment cycle of a typical hiring process for film jobs and internships begins in January and terminates in June.

Job Search Resources:
Fine and visual arts resources
College Art Association Job Board

Employers with significant representation: For Studio space/opportunities/fellowships/residencies: General Graduate Program Resources: Art Therapy Graduate Programs: Art Therapy Graduate Program:
Performing arts resources
Check out this link:

naviGATE Opportunities

Below are some opportunities that may interest you from naviGATE, Colgate's internship and job database.

More Opportunities

The Liberal Arts Career NetWORK (LACN) is a database of internships and entry-level jobs posted by employers interested in hiring liberal arts students.

LACN logo

Connect to Careers

Latest stories about internships, workshops, professional networks, and more.
  • Loading...