A working artist rarely relies on a single job. Most creative people have a portfolio career and juggle multiple clients and income streams. There are glamorous moments but most days are challenging, daunting, and demanding.
Artists need to be proactive, resilient, and paid for their work in order to thrive. More often than not arts jobs are casual, part-time, or contract-based. You may be suitable for this lifestyle if you can manage the variety and uncertainty. If you are strategic, driven, and can build a strong network of creatives and professionals, you may have a rewarding arts career.
In a creative industry, you have to get creative with sourcing paid work. I have worked in the arts for 20 years as a singer, musician, music theatre performer, songwriter, music teacher, and arts administrator.
Throughout my career, a lot of my income was a result of session work, creating and selling my own music and shows, and networking (more on that in a later post). I have a profile on Starnow and have found some great paid work through them (my latest performance contract came through this site and I’m excited to write about it later this year).
Most professional artists have agents and this is always an option for you. You will need to do some research to find a good fit, and generally you have to be available at the drop of a hat to attend auditions or you may not be put forward for castings. If a life on screen or stage does not appeal to you, there are several arts administration or technical opportunities in this article that you can consider.
I have compiled arts job listings in Australia, however, some of these sites also list international opportunities. Sites that list well-paid opportunities generally require subscriptions but if you are a professional artist then this expense is tax-deductible. In the interest of clarity, opportunities here range from paid gigs, contracts, grants, fellowships, and residencies.
Build a portfolio of work and a reliable resource kit. Start by visiting and bookmarking the following sites:
1. ArtsHub (National – Musicians / Arts Administration / Technicians)
2. Music Industry Inside Out (National – Musicians / Arts Administration)
3. Music Australia (National – Musicians / Arts Administration)
4. Opera Australia (SYD / MELB – Singers / Musicians)
5. Art Almanac (National – Visual Artists)
6. Starnow (National – Musicians / Actors / Dancers)
7. Seek (National – Various)
8. Arts Access Australia (National – Various)
9. Bundanoon – Prelude (NSW / WA / SA Musicians / Composers)
10. Screenhub (National – Filmmakers / Producers / Technicians)
11. The Myer Foundation (National – Grants / Funding)
12. Q Music (QLD – Various)
13. Australia Council (National – Various)
14. Western Australian Music (WA – Various)
15. AMP Tomorrow Makers Fund (National – Artists)
16. The Industry Observer (National – Arts Administration)
17. Pedestrian TV (National – Arts / Media)
18. Arts SA (SA – Grants / Funding)
19. LinkedIn (National – Arts Administration / Arts Education)
20. Ethical Jobs (National – Arts Administration)
21. Australian Major Performing Arts Group (National – Arts Administration)
Please read each listing carefully and contact the respective organisations for detailed information. I am in no way sponsored by any company listed here, I am only interested in helping you to find opportunities to work in the arts. In any case, exercise due diligence and research each company and job listing before applying.
In life, there are no guarantees, and in the arts there are even fewer, but if the allure of a life surrounded by creativity is irresistible then never stop learning and networking. Surround yourself with people who inspire and challenge you both intellectually and artistically.