An article in the latest issue of Billboard, the music industry trade pub, features three full pages of universities and colleges that offer business courses for artists entering the music industry.  This made an impression on us because not a single institution came to mind that offers any commensurate curriculum for people entering the metal arts. That's not to say unequivocally that there are none, but we'd be surprised if we could find three, much less three pages.

Is this a function of financial expectations? There's a lot more money in music than metal. So perhaps it is expected that one must learn to manage one's music business. Perhaps the institutions teaching metal arts don't expect their charges to make money, so why waste time teaching skills that will never be applied. Maybe it is just a simple case of the blind leading the blind.

Of course, many in the metal arts go on to establish and run successful businesses.   In the face of decades-long dwindling support for arts education in America, we in the field could do ourselves and our peers greater service by bulwarking the current curriculum offerings to  ensure that the arts have a greater chance of being a  financially rewarding career path.  Unfortunately, many institutions have taken an opposite course,  virtually guaranteeing marginalization for their graduates.

So the question stands. What does music know that metal don't?

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I’ve been graduate in sculpture at School of Fine Arts from Lisbon, Portugal.
Just as Kate the program approach were not for business, but after working 20 years in this area I have tried different approach to the work. Work in a factory, To make some models and sell it to the factory, and it didn´t work.
We work with a method that is near to investigator, it takes time, some times a long time… and the factory is not able to can afford it. This is not a critical to the way of working of this manufactures, or even the way that they have to make money.
A lot of times I wonder what does happen that make a lot of people go on working with out being really paid, and it happens not only in jewelry but also with contemporary or experimental music. Way don’t we stop, and trie to do something more economical rentable? A lot of Portuguese and European contemporary jelwery maker as the same problem, mostly they can not live exclusively from this kind of work. Perhaps is not a mater of money. We are not at first instance working for money, we are working because we reach one intuitive knowledge about us, about others and about the world. And this does not fit in this world that every thing as a price/ cost. Is almost asking to some one,why is he praying if no one is going to pay for it, it is a different knowledge.
There are other areas of knowledge that also are being not valorised in our days, everything that can not make money, so we privilege science.
This thinking way does not apologies that the universities don’t need to teach business or rather we don’t need money. But that if we specialise ourself in this specific area it will be rather difficult that most of the people know your work, or wanted to have your work, or can afford your work having a good ratios hour/euro.
Visibility, explain, making other opportunities to experiment, educate sensibility it is the way to promote what we share.
I think it's time to go back to a grass roots type of learning... I didn't attend any school for what I do. I had the drive to find out information about what I can do with my creativity, my inventory and just did it. No school debt involved, no one to blame. My sister and business partner are teaching her kids to love art, to also be creative and spread that knowledge in ways like getting involved in after school activities. If they won't or can't teach these things at a school level, then donate your time to help people learn what you know and maybe you won't feel the need to complain about what isn't being done . You can look at what you are giving back, and be proud of what you are doing to make art and craft survive. ( I think this suggestion is tough for the "old school" people because they may think that they have already paid their dues, kids are grown and time to retire)

The country is a mess, but there are people who are very driven to be successful as artists and crafters these days. I see them at the indie and fine art shows that I do. Me and others I know have moved with the times. Not every one can be a "fine artist" or wants to be. I do feel as though I am an artist, I am running a successful business (with a great support system, like family and friends) and I am giving back to my community, teaching (in baby steps) my town and the kids in it to love art and be creative.

What's missing on a college level, I don't know... I just wanted to make the point that people like me are trying to keep art and craft alive and I think it's working. (plus let's keep in mind that it's never been easy to be a working artist, educated or not.)
This just was posted on Crafthaus.

This is a great example of what "indie" is and what we can do to keep art and craft alive and thriving.
Even in this bad economy, people in her community supported her venture, kids are learning to be creative and the gallery space is part of the plan to help stimulate the economy. Awesome.
Interesting.... My first question would be "Is there a direct analogue in the field of jewelry and metalsmithing for the "music industry"?" (And by "music Industry" do they mean the market driven or marketable side of music--sales--as opposed to the pure pursuit of music: music as Art?)

I think that it is the responsibility of the academic institution to offer some sort of "Professional Practices" curriculum. This need not (although it certainly can) include the nuts and bolts of book keeping and tax codes but would address the wider aspects of conducting oneself in a professional manner regarding submitting work for publication or exhibition, constructing a resume, cv, bio or artist statement, possibly applying for grants, putting together a presentation, image making (documentation) or even basic photoshopping. Ideally, I think, a Professional Practices curriculum would expose students to the possibilities for employment within the field, although I no longer believe that this is an absolute responsibility of a university.

There are courses around that artist/student could attend . Like continuing education, business schools etc... The universities do have a responsibility but it shouldn't be absolute. I have been at R.I.T.
in N.Y. teaching a workshop for there metals program. I covered business ethics and money from a business point of view and an esoteric or spiritual perspective . They asked for it ( the students and faculty).R.I.T. does offer there students a business course. I found that these young people have many questions about busines and are concerned about there future. Our relationship with money and as it applies to business/life/relationships is very important, yet it is surprising how many people and students are clueless. The success of a society is improved when self-reliance is taught and nurtured . All of us have a responsibility to mentor those who have needs.
I agree with you that self-reliance (as a skill or subject) is important! Great point! Empowering a student to feel comfortable with his/her skills and direction, in the face of uncertainty, is way more rewarding and fruitful than telling a student what to do next!

Many times students are overwhelmed by all the topics that Andy mentioned above (CV, bios, photoshop, slide photography, etc.). All those professional skills add up and anxiety causes younger artists to feel like it is too much for them to handle or figure out. When you separate the tasks involved in "professional practices," most of them are simple and common sense, like making a business card, or finding an online template to help you build a good looking resume. It is only when you see it as a pile of stuff (that is not art making) that it becomes a monster!

Almost all students have access to (or are required to take) some sort of professional practices class. The hitch is that they are often taught in an inter-disciplinary setting with painters sitting next to ceramists. The info is not exactly tailored to the individuals needs. I try to spend one on one time with our metals majors to get them to relax, think about how the info applies to them and their field, and to approach this professional preparation ONE STEP AT A TIME!
Many points of view are coming forward here on the subject of metal arts education, which is a good thing. One one end of the opinion spectrum we see that European arts educators are adamant that business curriculum is taught as part of the program. On the other side of the pond, we are are postulating whether Universities have any responsibility whatsoever to prepare students to make a living in their chosen field. Could this disparity of conviction and direction be related to the dwindling interest in and support for Metal Arts Programs in the US?


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