A new analysis of Census Bureau data indicates that art students have a mere 1-in-10 chance of becoming working artists. And that’s not all:
Most surprising was the lack of overlap between working artists and arts graduates. In the United States, 40 percent of working artists do not have a bachelors degree in any field. Only 16 percent of working artists have arts related bachelors degrees. Though arts graduates may acquire additional opportunities and skills from attending art school, arts graduates are likely to graduate with significant student loan debt, which makes working as an artist difficult, if not impossible. … Although there are 1.2 million working artists over the age of 25 in this country, there are only 200,000 working artists with arts-related bachelors degrees. The majority of working artists have median earnings of $30,621, but the small percentage of working artists with bachelors degrees in the arts have median earnings of $36,105.
But Alexis Clements is skeptical: