How to Expose Kids to Different Careers in the Arts at School

From acting to painting to running a gallery, you can help kids learn about many different ways that they can turn their creativity into a career. In class, take time to explain different career paths. You can talk about going to art school or exploring art in a more traditional college. Further expose kids by both expanding the art classes at your school and integrating the arts into existing core classes. Have fun with this! You’re helping kids find a path they can be passionate about.

Method One of Three:
Highlighting Different Career Paths in Your Classroom
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  1. 1
    Introduce career clusters to younger students. A career cluster is a great way to help students understand a group of careers that has something in common. Basically, you help students group together a bunch of jobs that fall into the same category. Announce that you are creating a cluster of jobs that has to do with the arts. After a brief discussion of what "the arts" means, ask students to help you come up with different jobs that fall into that category. They will probably come up with ideas like actor, illustrator, author, and artist.[1]
    • Provide different books to read based on various careers. Try What do Illustrators Do? by Eileen Christelow or If You Were a Writer by Joan Lowery Nixon.
    • Have middle-school students choose an art career to research. Then each student can share their findings with the class.
  2. 2
    Provide hands-on activities for different careers. Set up a variety of stations in your classroom that will let students "try" some various careers. One station could include costumes and could be a way to explore acting. At another station, have students take pictures with a disposable camera. Print them out to create an art gallery![2]
  3. 3
    Explain a wide variety of jobs in the arts. Hold a brainstorming session with your students. Give them a category and have them come up with multiple careers that fit the theme. Then answer questions about each job. Some categories and ideas include:[3]
  4. 4
    Invite professionals from various careers to speak to students. If your school has a career day, make sure to invite a variety of speakers who have careers in the arts. You can reach out to people you know personally, or search the community for people who would be willing to talk to your students. Try inquiring at local dance studios, music stores, and art galleries. You could also check with local colleges to find willing speakers. [4]
    • Make sure to be polite when asking someone to share their time with your students.
    • Ask the speaker to be ready to answer lots of questions from curious students.
    • If your school does not have a career day, you can simply invite guest speakers into your own classroom.
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Method Two of Three:
Exploring Higher Education in the Arts
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  1. 1
    Discuss options for going to art school. For many careers, it might be helpful (or even necessary) to earn a degree from a college or art institute. Make sure to provide kids with lots of information about art school. You can help them search online for schools that specialize in the field they are interested in. For example, help a painter search for schools that are known for their painting programs.[5]
    • Make sure that students also consider the costs of going to art school. Help them look for scholarships and financial aid.
    • Help them create a portfolio that highlights their best work.[6]
  2. 2
    Discuss the liberal arts route. It’s not necessary to attend art school to pursue a degree in the arts or an art related field. Talk to kids about going to a liberal arts school instead. Some students might feel more comfortable in a traditional college environment instead of an art immersion program. [7]
    • One benefit to this path is that students can study other disciplines in addition to art. This might be useful in finding a job later.
    • For example, a photography student might take business classes so that they will be able to run their own business one day.
  3. 3
    Encourage students to explore different fields. Remind your students that they don’t have to make up their mind about a career right away. College or art school can give them the chance to explore new mediums and work on finding or combining their passions.
    • For example, if a student is passionate about drama, encourage them to take some music classes, too. The two fields often overlap. [8]
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Method Three of Three:
Involving Kids in the Arts
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  1. 1
    Create an "introduction to art" class. The classroom is one of the best places to begin exposing students to art and possible careers. If your school does not already have one, start an "introduction to art" class. In this class, students can learn about a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography.[9]
    • Make this class as hands on as possible. Instead of spending the entire class talking about using pastels, let students jump in and try it.
  2. 2
    Incorporate music into core classes. Adding music into other subjects can help students engage with the material. Look for ways to add it into the classes you already teach, like Math, Science, English, and History.[10]
    • For example, in an English class you could have your students transform Shakespeare’s sonnets into rap pieces. This will help make the material exciting and easy to relate to.
    • Take some time to talk about how music is important in all aspects of life and explain that there are many ways to turn it into a career.
  3. 3
    Take a field trip to a play that connects to the curriculum. Field trips are an excellent way to help bring information to life. Look at local theater listings to see if you can find a play that connects to what you are teaching. For example, if you have been discussing McCarthyism, take your class to see a production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.[11]
    • Before and after the excursion, discuss all the different jobs involved with putting on a play. Mention performers, directors, writers, people in charge of marketing, etc.
    • Don’t forget to follow your school’s protocol regarding field trips.
    • As a follow-up activity, you could recommend reading a memoir of a successful actor, such as The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer.
  4. 4
    Use art as a writing prompt. You can use art to help students practice critical thinking skills. Play them a piece of music and have them write about how it made them feel. You could also display a photograph or painting and have the students write a description of what they see.[12]
    • You can use this as a jumping off point to talk about careers. For example, you could say, “What went into producing that piece of music? How many people do you think were involved?”
    • To further critical thinking, you could recommend a book such as Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music by Angela Myles Beeching.
  5. 5
    Teach arts history in social studies classes. Getting students thinking about different types of art is a great way to encourage them to think about possible careers. In history or government classes, you can use music to help you describe the period or place that you are teaching about.[13]
    • For example, when you are talking about the counterculture of the 1960s, you can play music by artists such as Jimi Hendrix. This could help them start thinking about the arts as an integral part of society.
  6. 6
    Encourage students to explore extracurricular activities. If you know a kid who is interested in the arts, recommend a way for them to get involved in what they love. Extracurriculars are a great way for kids to explore their interests. Whatever the interests are, find an activity for them to join. You can always help them to start their own club![14]
    • Encourage young dancers to try out for the school dance squad.
    • Another great choice would be to urge a budding designer to volunteer to work on the costumes for the school play.
  7. 7
    Help high school students find someone to shadow. Observing is a great way to learn. Your student might also be able to jump in and lend a hand for some active learning! If a student has expressed a lot of interest in a particular career, find them a professional to visit for a few hours. Reach out to local professionals and ask if they are willing to share their time.[15]
    • For example, if the teen wants to be an architect, contact a local firm and ask if they could observe a team member for an afternoon.
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    Arrange an internship for your student. Internships are a great way for students to gain some actual on the job experience. Since they can take a lot of time and energy, try to find a summer internship for your student so that it won't interfere with their school work. Reach out to local companies or individuals and ask them if they would be willing to take on an intern. Be aware that internships are mostly unpaid.[16]
    • If you have a student who would like to be a choreographer, try to arrange an internship with a local dance studio. Your student might get a chance to arrange some dances for younger students.
    • Maybe your student wants to be a photographer. Contact some professionals and ask if they need help for the summer. Your student could help carry lights, upload photos, and maybe even learn to edit them.
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TipsEdit

  • Encourage your students to explore a variety of career options.
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  • Keep brochures and fliers from different colleges and art schools on hands to offer your students.
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  • Ask the school counselor to help you come up with other ways to promote different careers at school
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