Jobs in the Arts Designing a Career You Love

Jobs in the Arts When it comes to joining the workforce, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. There are many paths to a great career, and a company’s success often depends on various skill sets and points of view. That’s certainly true when it comes to creative jobs such as designers, creative directors, illustrators, graphic artists, visual designers, copywriters, web designers and more.

To learn about jobs in the arts, we spoke to Kelly Blumberg, head of graphics at Old Navy. She offered insight into her path to a creative career she loves and how Club kids interested in the arts can build a successful arts career of their own.

With the number of creative jobs only increasing, she also reminded us that creatives and the arts are vital to a brand’s success because creatives quite literally create a brand! Without key creative roles within a company (and brilliant minds to fill those positions), there would be no product, no online presence and no story to tell. Here’s more on how young people can put their artistic talents to work in a career they love.

What Are Careers in the Arts?

While a lot of people may equate jobs in the arts to literally making art, Kelly reminded us that creative careers span a wide variety of skills and roles. In fact, there are multiple departments within companies like Old Navy that are directly influenced by creative approaches.

Creatives often work in a cross-functional capacity to come up with solutions for problems that revolve around efficiency, cost efficacy and operations. Some examples of creative roles within a company like Old Navy include:

  • Creative director – determines the creative vision of the brand and oversees the creation of digital and print materials to support that vision
  • Designer – this is an all-encompassing title that can fit in a variety of departments, including product or pattern design
  • Digital designers – members of the creative team that include web or application designers, graphic designers and UX (user experience) designers
  • Creative strategist – a member of the marketing team focusing on the overall marketing and advertising plans, as well as creative solutions to suit company strategy
  • Visual merchandiser – attracts and motivates shoppers by creating dynamic visual product displays and in-store environments

Modern companies like Old Navy benefit from a creative mindset across the organization. As such, visual arts play an important role, and so does creative strategy. To be a creative strategist means thinking out of the box and crafting solutions to challenges in business operations. For example, in the apparel industry, a strategist may develop new ways to reduce waste or continually improve sustainability in apparel designs.

Pursuing a Creative Path

Kelly didn’t follow a traditional journey in her arts career. As a self-taught designer, she was guided by her interests and a desire to simply say “yes.” She explored courses available to teach herself the basics — diving in with curiosity and determination. From there, she picked up as many creative jobs as she could to get practical, real-world experience. “Hands-on learning is so powerful,” she says, “and these days we have a world of resources at our fingertips to learn about anything using platforms like YouTube.”

Leading from her experience, Kelly advises Club kids to try different things. She recommends exploring different creative opportunities until the passion arises. Kelly realized through her experimentation that creating art for the things she loves was not only a work opportunity but also extremely gratifying on a personal level.

With a career idea in mind, young people can choose their path to achieve the role of their dreams. For some, that may mean a more traditional avenue, such as going to design school. For others, a non-traditional approach may be better suited. That includes finding online tutorials, creative mentors and even projects for hands-on experience.

Advice for Young Creatives

Kelly is a big advocate for the non-linear path to a creative career. Asked what advice she would give to Club kids interested in creative jobs but unsure where to start, her response was simple: Try everything.

Here are five more tips for Club kids:

Be curious and open to opportunities, and then say “yes” to them even if you’re unsure how to execute them. In this day and age, there are opportunities to learn in a myriad of ways, including free tutorials or boldly asking for advice from others in the field.

Utilize available resources. There are an endless number of resources at our fingertips. Use the tools available — from YouTube videos to webinars to in-person classes or workshops — to help build your skillset.

Find a mentor by talking to other creatives to ask for advice, insight, or guidance. Finding a mentor is a great way to learn about a new career from someone already in the field. And many creatives are happy to share their experience with aspiring professionals.

Give yourself space to create and try out different things in different ways. The path will become clearer for young people who recognize when their passions are activated. Allow your unique style to take shape!

Be brave, be humble, and put yourself out there. Don’t give up! It can sometimes be scary to have the courage to share your point of view with the world. But it can lead to amazing opportunities.

Discovering Jobs in the Arts Starts Here

Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide help young people identify and pursue their passions in creative arts. Through mentorship and exploratory learning, Club kids can find their path in an immersive way so they’re ready for an arts career when the time is right. Learn more about how Clubs support kids to confidently pursue jobs in the arts.