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April 18, 2016

Messages from the Dean


April 18, 2016

It’s no secret that there are many misconceptions about careers in the arts. Some, like this commercial, are more prevalent than others. It seems that this television commercial furthers misperceptions about careers in the arts. The stereotype of the starving (or at least poor) art school attendee/grad (Dad at the wheel of the minivan)— is advanced through the mouths of babes who seem to be aware of an often-repeated storyline that, in reality, is baseless.


What do we know about the lives of arts graduates? Data from surveys administered by Indiana University’s Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) of over 100,000 alumni of arts programs tell us the following:



  • Only 4% are currently unemployed and looking for work

  • 74% of alumni, who intended to be professional artists, have done so

  • 82% are satisfied with their ability to be creative in their work

  • 90% say their overall experience in art school was either very good or excellent

  • 76% would attend their institution again

  • 87% are satisfied with their current jobs

  • Only 3% of arts majors work in food services



Starving? Hardly. Satisfied with their lives/work? Seems so.

At CAM, we will be administering the SNAAP alumni survey for the first time in the Fall of 2016. We look forward to working with each of our departments to engage and encourage our alumni to participate.

Laurence D. Kaptain, DMA and FRSA

Dean, College of Arts & Media (CAM)

University of Colorado Denver

P.S. This short video informs us about the bright future of arts graduates:​​