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Turning Your Artwork into a Career

If you have artistic ability and you want to share your talents with the world, then creating artwork as a career may be a good choice.

With frequent relocations, and periods of solo parenting, you may find it difficult to take care of the household, work and still find time to enjoy leisure activities. You may want to consider putting your art skills to use as a means of creating an income.

Discovering your talent

You may be a natural artist, or you may have worked very hard to hone your skills, but discovering how to become the best artist you can be can help you to turn it into a successful career. Finding the right art program has never been easier. The MySECO website offers a variety of tools to help you select a program based on your personal preferences. College Scorecard allows you to filter through categories such as location, size, campus setting and more to find a program near you. You can even use the Scholarship Finder to help find funding to pay for classes.

Finding employment

National searches

Once you are confident that you have the skills to become a successful artist, it’s time to find a job in your occupation or discover where you can display and sell your artwork. One of the first places to look is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search. Hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers.

You can also search for teaching or community center-based positions using the following MySECO Job Search Tools:


Turning your artwork into a career can provide you with the opportunity to work on your own schedule through self-employment. You can sell your artwork in the following ways.

Online: You may choose to sell your artwork online, and many online platforms allow you to post your artwork at no cost or for a small fee. This can be a great way to reach a broader market. You can also promote your work using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites. Many of these sites allow you to post photographs of your artwork, and you can direct your followers to where they can purchase your work.

Galas and art workshops: Putting together an art show or gala doesn’t have to take a lot of work. You can rent a local venue or host it at your house, community center or another free location such as a church or park. Print out fliers to advertise your event and hand them out around local colleges, craft stores, on your installation or anywhere else you feel may be effective. You can also work with your local arts and crafts store to host arts and crafts fairs. Volunteer to be an instructor and share your skills with others. Doing so can help you build your reputation as a local artist.

Local galleries: Locate your local art gallery and find out what it takes to be featured at their location. Before finalizing an agreement to have your work hosted at a gallery, understand the fine print and be aware that many galleries typically receive a large commission on sales. However, galleries are a great way to get your work in front of serious customers who can help to build your brand.

Craft fairs, farmers markets and other community activities: Whenever your local community is hosting an event that allows vendors, sign up and exhibit or sell your artwork. Even if you aren’t allowed to sell your artwork at specific events, this is a great opportunity to make a name for yourself in your local community.

Professional organizations and networking

Join a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Network with other professionals in your industry to give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to get an interview at your new location.

Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.

To explore additional information related to starting your career in the arts, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Enter the keyword 'artists' to learn more about the occupational overview for your specialty field. If you enjoy photography as an art form, you can check out the article Getting Started as a Photographer to find out how supplementing your artwork with photography can be a benefit to you.

You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. For additional guidance, use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.

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