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How to Make Money Teaching as an Artist

How to Make Money Teaching as an Artist

Valerie Atkisson / ArtBistro

Seasoned Advice

Philip Galanther is an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. He teaches computer art and gives the following tips:   “It’s important to assess how truly supportive of you as a working artist a given college or university will be.  It’s a bit of an oversimplification, but on one end of the scale are the elite tier-one research institutions. On the other end of the scale are the local teaching colleges where the expectations regarding research are quite low.  And there are shades of grey in between.

Visual Art Degrees

  Both kinds of schools are very important to society, but it’s generally the research universities, or higher-end dedicated art schools that will best support a working artist. Support typically comes in the form of a reduced teaching load, a start-up package of funding for travel and equipment, graduate student research assistants, possibly studio space, and an emphasis on gaining tenure.  At these universities your output as an artist is considered your research, and your success in being shown at significant venues is a form of peer review.  It’s the old “publish or perish” paradigm applied to artists. You will have 5 or so years to gain tenure, and if that doesn’t happen, you are out of a job.

  Work at a teaching college or a commercial art school with low expectations regarding research can also be very rewarding.  But those rewards are more about the satisfaction of seeing your students grow and succeed than your personal accomplishments as an artist. Teaching loads can be very high leaving little time or energy for personal work.  Tenure is increasingly rare, and even full-time employment may be hard to find.  Many art departments depend primarily on part-time adjunct professors.”

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