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So You Graduated Art School. Now What?

There's a lot to celebrate when someone finishes art school. It's an incredible accomplishment, but then the real world hits soon after. Young adults who have identified as a student their whole lives now have to pursue a career in the "real world." No matter what major you studied, finding a good-fitting professional job is difficult. Here are some possible directions to take if you just graduated from art school:

Delve into an internship
When it comes to the art world, internships and apprenticeships are extremely beneficial for recent grads. You may have worked a couple hours a week at an internship or job during school, but now is the time to find one that is perfect for you. Look at companies, corporations and artists that you admire. Interning at a place where you could see yourself working down the road will show in your work ethic. In addition, internships can often turn into a job.

Not sure where to look? Contact some of your favorite galleries. If you don't see a position open on the website, inquire about one with human resources. Sometimes, companies aren't aware of the help they need until a young professional comes knocking at their door.

If you are a big fan of and admire a certain artist, reach out to him or her. Artists of all different mediums need apprentices to help them on big projects.

Immerse yourself in art culture
Some art students find that once they are no longer forced to do homework and projects, they lack the inspiration to create art. This is extremely common, but there are steps you can take to get yourself out of this rut. Do some research on what inspirational activities and locations your city has to offer, like exhibits, independent galleries and local do-it-yourself art shows. You might be surprised at how many people are out there in the world creating art.

Finding or creating a community that supports you will help you develop as an artist. Having an audience that provides constructive criticism will be beneficial for you and allow you to learn. In a way, it will be like school, but since you're not being graded, you'll be able to explore and take more chances with your work.

"Art is inspired by art."

Get inspired
Art is inspired by art. Now that you don't have the chaos of classes and work tying you down, you can explore other mediums. Spend a day at a bookstore picking out novels you never had the chance to read or browse a record store. You can't be inspired if you don't get yourself out there. Who knows: A song you hear or a sentence you read could drive you to start a new project.

Participating in other conversations and fields outside of your concentration will make you more aware. The more you know, the better, and there are some things you just won't learn in a classroom.

Keep in contact with people
One of the worst things you can do is to completely write off all the people you meet while you were in school. Classmates, professors and advisors are the people who will help guide you in the real world. You never know when a professor might need an assistant or a classmate wants a collaborator for a project. By keeping in touch, you might receive opportunities you wouldn't otherwise.

One way to do this is to make art business cards to give out. That way, people will have an actual piece of paper for all your contact information.

Signing up for an online artist community, like thalo, can be a great way to connect with other artists, showcase your work, and keep you up to date on what is happening. Thalo has a network of diverse artists that you can collaborate and connect with. The membership is free and it will allow you to meet all different types of creative people, everyone from fine artists, to photographers, filmmakers, musicians and urban artists, just to name a few. The free thalo membership also includes a free online gallery account at  Check out all the benefits here.