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Career and Education Opportunities for Fine Artists in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for fine artists. Currently, 1,830 people work as fine artists in Michigan. This is expected to grow by 9% to about 2,010 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fine artists are expected to grow by about 9.0%. In general, fine artists create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.

A person working as a fine artist can expect to earn about $30 per hour or $64,110 yearly on average in Michigan and about $20 per hour or $42,650 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Art and Design, people working as fine artists in Michigan earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Art and Design nationally. People working as fine artists can fill a number of jobs, such as: muralist, animated cartoons painter apprentice, and wildlife artist.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can study to be a fine artist, among nineteen schools of higher education total in the Grand Rapids area. Fine artists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn 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 Grand Rapids 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.
  • 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.
  • Writer. Create original written works.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fine Artist Training

Calvin College - Grand Rapids, MI

Calvin College, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Calvin College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,171 students and an admission rate of 94%. Calvin College has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated two students in 2008.

Aquinas College - Grand Rapids, MI

Aquinas College, 1607 Robinson Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506-1799. Aquinas College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,159 students and an admission rate of 82%. Aquinas College has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

Hope College - Holland, MI

Hope College, 141 E 12th St, Holland, MI 49423. Hope College is a small college located in Holland, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,238 students and an admission rate of 82%. Hope College has a bachelor's degree program in Fine/Studio Arts which graduated one student in 2008.

Grand Valley State University - Allendale, MI

Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Dr, Allendale, MI 49401-9403. Grand Valley State University is a large university located in Allendale, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 23,932 students and an admission rate of 78%. Grand Valley State University has a bachelor's degree program in Fine Arts and Art Studies, Other Specialties which graduated two students in 2008.

Grand Rapids Community College - Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3295. Grand Rapids Community College is a large college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,403 students. Grand Rapids Community College has 2 areas of study related to Fine Artist. They are:

  • Art/Art Studies, associate's degree which graduated 17 students in 2008.
  • Fine/Studio Arts, associate's degree which graduated 4 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: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.