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Navigating the Art World During COVID-19

It’s no secret that navigating the art world can be difficult for professional artists let alone recent graduates. And with a global pandemic and economic recession many recent graduates, like myself, feel the floor has been taken out from underneath them. Many students and recent graduates are left unsure on how to move forward in a professional career or in a field that currently seems to have limited opportunity. So what should we do? How do we move forward?

In my last few months volunteering with different arts organizations and meeting with local and national art leaders, I’ve gathered three pieces of advice for the independent creative navigating life and work during COVID-19.

  • Recognize you are not just an artist.
    Artists are not just creative. They are critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and communicators. These qualities are necessary and transferable to any position. Be willing to market yourself with these qualities and use them to your advantage within any field. Understanding the full breadth of traits that you carry can open doors to opportunities you may have not even expected.
  • Diversify your skills.
    There is no better time to broaden your skill set. Utilize a plethora of educational resources to learn new and applicable skills to grow your creative business. Take advantage of free business advising at your region’s Small Business Development Center, and consider taking an online class in a discipline outside your comfort zone.
  • Network and build genuine relationships.
    There are many online groups of people just like you. Consider joining a virtual community of creatives figuring out life and work in the midst of COVID. Check out local community housing options and opportunities for authentic community engagement. Even in this unprecedented time there are many places and organizations working to show up for our local artist communities. Don’t hesitate to get involved and reach out.

Published November 23, 2020

Headshot of Kelley

Written by Kelley Satoski

Kelley is a recent Fine Art graduate from Taylor University and lives in West Lafayette, Indiana. She currently works with both the Tippecanoe Arts Federation and IAC and is interested in how the arts contribute to equitable community development.