Shockingly, the graduates featured in this video have far better prospects than many of the over 50,000 hopeful art students who are currently graduating from the very top 42 art schools* in North America each year. They’re currently paying an average of $51,364 in annual tuition.
How many art majors do you think will be discovered?
I learned how to make art in art school but I did not learn, in fact I was shamed for asking about, how to make money from my art.
To be fair, art schools are not business schools and academics are not entrepreneurs.
But if we value education as an investment in an individual’s future, then we need to take a long and honest look at the rate of return on the investment of a formal education in fine art.
So let’s look at the very best art and design schools in North America. Their students are currently paying annual tuition that is about 24% higher than the U.S. national norm of $39,173. ** Meaning that most have to amass significant student loan debt.
P.S. I asked Deborah Obalil, the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) that make up the top 42 art schools in North America, to confirm my estimate of current annual tuition but she did not respond to my request.
Let’s assume for the moment, that art school tuition will not rise, even though we know it will. A fine art undergraduate degree from the “top” schools, very conservatively, is still going to run you about $205,456. ***
What’s the likely scenario after a fine art student graduates? Let’s examine some undeniable facts.
FACT: Only 3,660 Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators where employed in 2014, earning an annual wage of $43,390, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.****
However, according to the 2001 U.S. census their where over 288,000 “painters, sculptors and craft artists.” *****
Even if we entertain the unrealistic fantasy that all of the 3,660 employed artists quit their jobs leaving open their positions to recent graduates with no experience, a fine art major would still only have only a 1.27 chance in 100 of getting a job making art.
Bottom line. If you major in fine art, you are not going to get a job doing fine art.
Let’s calculate whether or not an art school degree is likely to yield a positive or a negative return on investment (ROI).
Zero ROI = you are no better or no worse from making the investment. All you lost was your time an other opportunities that you could have pursued.
Positive ROI = you gained a profit from your investment.
Negative RIO = no bueno
Let’s pretend that you do get a job paying roughly $40,000 in annual pretax income, making your art or not.
If you’ve borrowed money to pay your tuition of $205,000 you’ll probably have a 15-year loan, with principal and interest payments, at about 6% interest.
You will be enslaved to service this debt on the level of a minimum of $1729 per month for 15 years.
And you haven’t even paid for food, housing, and transportation to and from work or other basic necessities.
You will never escape this debt through bankruptcy in the US or even by fleeing the country with an international job because the US has a repatriation program requiring you pay the host country’s taxes along with what you owe the USA. The IRS will find you even if the Department of Education does not.
Let’s pretend that you are talented, and lucky, enough to get a $40,000 a year job. You’ll only take home $31,783 a year after taxes, which equals to roughly $2648 a month.
After you’ve made your monthly student loan payment of $1729 you will be left with $919 a month, or $230 a week, to pay for food, housing, transportation to and from work or other basic necessities.
If you live in the United States you will be living below the Poverty Line, which is take home pay of $980 or less per month or $245 per week.
In the very optimistic scenario above, you are actually losing 80 cents for every dollar you spend on art school.
You are better off doing nothing which has a zero Return on Investment.
Artists who are making a good living have realized that they will never have an art career. But they could have a business.
And if a business is going to succeed, it must have a current plan to make money.
Now I’m on a mission to help other artists secure their creative freedom through business savvy because the world is a better place with art and with artists who thrive.
How do I aim to do this?
By actually offering an interactive online education, that includes eight sequential, foundational, business courses for artists that teach a proven, iterative process of building a profitable creative enterprise while connecting a community of Artists Who THRIVE.
And by demonstrating practical experience, that teaches other artists how to make art and make money, not just theory.
Can I guarantee that my students will make money with their art? Obviously not.
I cannot guarenatee a rate of return on my student’s investment.
But unlike art school, if my students are not satisfied with what I’m teaching, they have 30 days to request a full refund.
And if they like what they are learning, they can stick around and learn more.
Because once they enroll in The MAKING Art Making MONEY Semester, they get to stay.
Unlike art school, when the semester is over, out you go.
Is there a return on this investment? That depends on you.
I can give my students a sound and proven investment strategy to make art and make money, but it’s entirely up to them to mind their assets; their:
Note: 50,000 artists educated by the top 42 art schools. This does not take into account all of the fine art majors graduating from liberal arts schools, state schools and universities, and for profit schools.