Careers in Art History
Many art history graduates go on to careers related directly to the field, becoming teachers and curators, archivists, appraisers, and museum administrators. But as a key part of the liberal arts curriculum, art history can also prepare students for a broad range of other professions, including public relations, advertising, publishing, fundraising and development, and journalism, not to mention medicine, law, and investment banking.
"I am currently living in Berlin, spending a year studying at Freie Universität Berlin and making the photographs that will become my MFA thesis exhibition. I try to attend as many photography exhibitions while here as I can. Last week I visited Galerie Bastian (http://www.galeriebastian.com) for an exhibition of 19th century photography. I was blown away by the work that I saw. Many of the photographers we had studied in [the History of Photography] course I took in spring '16.
The moment I saw Gustav Le Gray's prints I was floored. I had an incredible emotional response. The prints were beautiful. I remember the conversations we had about the controversy surrounding his processes. It was invigorating to see the work that started "manipulated" photography. I feel grateful to you for teaching about his work.Thank you for what you do!"
Kelly Lee Webeck, Photographer and Visual Arts Educator (MFA, 2019)
"While I am not necessarily using my History of Art degree in a way that I might have envisioned upon declaring my major back in 2007, I know that I would not be in the position I am without the writing and research skills I developed in the program. . . My dream is to wind up working at IU down the road as there are few places I love as much as Bloomington and the IU campus. "
Colin M. Brier-Braxton, Associate Director of Compliance, Athletics Department, Northeastern University (BA, 2010)
"Since finishing up my studies in Italy at the beginning of June, I've moved to Washington, DC, where, I'm pleased to report, I am now gainfully employed. I work as a legal assistant two block from the White House at a law firm specializing in government contracts procurement. It's not exactly art historical, but I can thank my studies nonetheless for developing the skills that I rely on every day (e.g. critical reading and writing).
I'm planning to take the next couple of years to work before I settle into a graduate program. But I haven't abandoned school entirely; I'm taking an Urdu class in the evenings for fun, and I'm hoping to get back into Farsi in the spring. As far as my imminent travel plans are concerned, I'll be heading back to Italy at Christmas to spend some time in Rome, and I have tentative plans to travel to Pakistan late in the spring or early next summer.
Even though many people discount art history as impractical ("But, like, what are you going to do with that?"), I think choosing this major was one of the best decisions I've made. I wouldn't be the person I am today were it not for the classes I took in the department. My choice of college major has given me so many opportunities, led me down so many interesting paths, and really expanded the range of things I find enjoyable in life.
To be specific, I always look back fondly on A102 with Prof. Knox, which I took as a freshman elective, because it was my first real exposure to art history. Taking that class led me to Italy, where I got to spend a year of my life. Beyond that, I really loved the Islamic painting class (A459) that I took with Prof. Graves because it opened the door really to new areas of study (art historical, historical, and linguistic) that I will doubtless continue to pursue in the future. Many thanks to both of them!"
Jacob Schmalz (BA, 2016)
"What's really funny is that I started my IU experience as a Kelley major and decided against it my Sophomore year. After shopping around and taking a few general education courses, I ended up taking an introduction class with Professor Van Voorhis. [Krystie Herndon] came into our lecture and gave us a quick slip that summarized Fine Arts majors. I was deciding between a few majors, but ultimately, met with [Krystie] and decided I wanted to pursue Art History. Although I don't think a career path in Art History was ever really in my future plans, I can definitely say that what I've learned within the program is being applied to my every day. Currently, I'm in Manhattan working as a consultant for an advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. The program I'm currently had over 2,000 applicants with only 18 positions available (I'm 110% sure that my Art History degree helped me stand out in the crowd). Throughout my year since I started working here (Sept. 2015), I've worked as a consultant on a vast array of clients including but not limited to American Express, Nestle, and IBM. With this work, I am consistently applying the research, writing, and analyzation skills I learned in your department. I can definitely say that my favorite classes were with Professor Van Voorhis and Professor Knox (Although "Senioritis" definitely kicked in towards the end of my 4 years, I still learned an incredible amount). I came to IU knowing (probably) less than 10 facts about the art world. Now, I'm in one of the best cities in the world for art history and am extremely thankful for the experience I had with IU. Currently, NYC gives all residents access to all of its museums for free for a year. Of course, I am taking advantage of this."
Jay Kurahashi-Sofue (BA, 2015)