Arts and Creative Careers

Careers in the arts and creative fields have the potential to progress in a multitude of directions that can be dynamic, purposeful, and rewarding.

Whether it’s in the private or public sector, this industry embraces unorthodox style and innovative thinking while also pressing the realm of possibilities in function and practice. The field is complex and vast, ranging from architecture, fashion, and studio art to film production, music composition, and graphic design.

A Bowdoin education prepares students for a career in the arts by advancing verbal and written communications, critical analysis, and design thinking. Unlike some in career paths that intend to be linear and constructed, those who pursue the arts are often moved by creativity, unconventionality, and social impact. Bowdoin alumni have gone to work at leading auction houses, creative agencies, design studios, fashion houses, museums, and record labels, just to name a few.

Sample Career Paths

Art Administration: Art administration, or arts management, is the field involving the business operations of an arts or cultural organization. Students typically intern/work at: agencies, auction houses, dance and performance companies, educational institutions, festivals, foundations, museums, operas, orchestras, and theaters.

Fashion/Retail: Retailers purchase products from manufacturers in large quantities and then sell them to consumers through brick and mortar stores, websites, and social media, while fashion is at the creative and design end of the business. Opportunities in this sector range from product design and to product development and e-commerce.

Institutions/Museums/Galleries: Institutions, museums, and galleries focus on research, conservations, and exhibition of art and culture. Museums are typically operated as nonprofits, through a public fund, academic institution, or government sponsor, whereas auction houses and galleries are for-profit entities that buy and sell works of art. Students typically intern/work at: arboretums/botanical gardens, art galleries, cultural centers, historic sites, museums, planetariums, and zoos.

Music: There are a number of ways to have a successful and rewarding professional career in the music industry. While being a performing artist comes to mind first, there are dozens and dozens of behind-the-scenes positions that are tied directly to the creative, production, and business aspects of the industry. Some of these roles include manager, agent, A&R executive, marketing specialist, music publisher, event booker, entertainment lawyer, producer, recording engineer, and publicist.

Theater and Performance Arts: There are excellent opportunities to learn more and gain experience through internships in all aspects of professional theater and performance arts. The theater department at Bowdoin is an incredible resource, as are student theater groups like Masque and Gown and Beyond the Proscenium. Local theaters like Maine State Music Theatre, Portland Stage, and The Theater at Monmouth have summer internships and extended programs for college graduates to work and get paid developing skills in some aspect of theater, including set design, stage management, directing and dramaturgy, and artistic management.

Visual and Studio Arts: The field of visual arts is exceptionally broad and includes architecture, commercial art, fine/applied art, craft, multimedia art, industrial design, interior design, graphic design, photography, and urban planning. Students typically intern/work at: advertising, studios, production companies, technology firms, TV/film, freelance, and publishing.

Meet Alumni

VIDEO: Tobi Omola ’19 discusses how the funded internship program helped him to pursue a summer internship at Atlantic Records.