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Career and Education Opportunities for Fine Artists in Birmingham, Alabama

Fine artists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 430 people are currently employed as fine artists in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow 10% to 470 people employed. This is better than the national trend for fine artists, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.0% over the next eight years. Fine artists generally create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.

The average wage in the general category of Art and Design jobs is $19 per hour or $38,975 per year in Alabama, and an average of $22 per hour or $46,166 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: animated cartoons painter apprentice, custom motorcycle painter, and scientific artist.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a fine artist. The most common level of education for fine artists is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be a fine artist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fine Artist

Fine Artist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, fine artists create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.

Fine artists talk with clients and other interested parties regarding the nature and content of artwork to be produced. They also study different techniques to learn how to apply them to artistic endeavors. Equally important, fine artists have to maintain portfolios of artistic work to exhibit styles and abilities. They are often called upon to submit preliminary or finished artwork or project plans to clients for approval, incorporating changes as needed. Finally, fine artists monitor events and other circumstances, research specific subject areas, attend art exhibitions, and read art publications in order to optimize concepts and keep current on art world efforts.

Every day, fine artists are expected to be able to distinguish between colors. They need to be creative and generate new ideas. It is also important that they visualize how things come together and can be organized.

It is important for fine artists to integrate and design visual elements, such as line and perspective, so as to produce desired effects such as the illustration of concepts or moods. They are often called upon to use materials such as pens and ink or computer software to generate artwork. They also cut and fasten individual or mixed raw and manufactured materials and products to fashion works of art. They are sometimes expected to develop finished art work as decoration, or to elucidate or substitute for spoken or written messages. Somewhat less frequently, fine artists are also expected to develop sketches or likenesses of posed subjects or photographs, using any combination of freehand drawing, mechanical assembly kits, and computer imaging.

Fine artists sometimes are asked to furnish entertainment at special events by performing efforts such as drawing cartoons. They also have to be able to model substances such as clay or wax, using fingers and small hand tools to fashion objects and shade and fill in sketch outlines and backgrounds, using a variety of media such as water colors and transparent washes, labeling designated colors when needed. And finally, they sometimes have to furnish entertainment at special events by performing efforts such as drawing cartoons.

Like many other jobs, fine artists must be thorough and dependable and be able to work independently and make decisions on their own.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Actor. Play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Industrial Designer. Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
  • Writer. Create original written works.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fine Artist Training

Birmingham Southern College - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, AL 35254. Birmingham Southern College is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,458 students and an admission rate of 69%. Birmingham Southern College has 5 areas of study related to Fine Artist. They are:

  • Art/Art Studies, bachelor's degree.
  • Fine/Studio Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 6 students in 2008.
  • Painting, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Sculpture, bachelor's degree.
  • Fine Arts and Art Studies, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.

Miles College - Fairfield, AL

Miles College, 5500 Myron Massey Blvd, Fairfield, AL 35064. Miles College is a small college located in Fairfield, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,773 students. Miles College has a bachelor's degree program in Visual and Performing Arts.

University of Montevallo - Montevallo, AL

University of Montevallo, Station 6001, Montevallo, AL 35115-6000. University of Montevallo is a small university located in Montevallo, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,030 students and an admission rate of 78%. University of Montevallo has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated four students in 2008.

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated thirty-seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certification of Medical Illustrators: The Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators administers a certification program for illustrators who seek a recognizable means of credentialing.

For more information, see the Association of Medical Illustrators website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.