Sculpture Artist Career Info

Find out what the career of a sculpture artist entails. Learn about the education, skills, salary and employment outlook, to see if this is a field you wish to pursue.

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Career Definition for a Sculpture Artist

Sculpture artists work on public art installations and create commissioned works for various businesses, arts organizations, or personal collectors. They also may teach sculpture arts, restore works of art, or create sculptural reproductions and models for television and film. Sculpture artists typically are self-employed, working in their own studios and selling their art to collectors and galleries. Sculpture artists may hold another job to supplement their income from making sculptures.

Education Bachelor's degree in art or Bachelor of Fine Arts recommended
Job Skills Creative thinking, marketing, interpersonal skills, connecting art and theory
Median Salary (2015)* $46,460 for fine artists
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% for fine artists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Sculpture artists often have a bachelor's degree in art or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from a 4-year college or university. Some continue their education to earn a master's degree, but there are few graduate programs that focus exclusively on sculpture. Courses that prospective sculpture artists might take include sculpture, ceramics, mold making and casting, figure modeling, and stone carving.

Skills Needed

Sculpture artists must be able to create a 3-dimensional representation of an idea. They must be creative thinkers and should be proficient in various art forms, such as 3-dimensional modeling, forging, casting, and woodworking. Other beneficial skills for sculpture artists include the abilities to interpret art and connect art and theory. Additionally, since sculpture artists may work for themselves, marketing savvy and interpersonal skills can help them build their clientele.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the career outlook for fine artists, which includes sculpture artists, is predicted to have slower than average growth, with employment expected to increase by 3% between 2014 and 2024. Sculpture artists should expect continued competition for grants and gallery space. Sculpture artists are typically self-employed; however, the median annual income among fine artists, including sculpture artists, was $46,460 in May 2015, according to figures from the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Self-Enrichment Teacher

With related work experience, artists often secure employment as self-enrichment educators who teach students taking classes for self-improvement or enjoyment; those with teaching experience may have the best prospects. Self-enrichment teachers in general could expect faster than average employment growth of 15%, from 2014-2024, the BLS predicted. The BLS also reported an annual median salary of $36,680, overall, for these teachers in 2015.

Art Director

With a bachelor's degree in design or art, along with work experience in the field, art directors create designs for print publications, product packaging, movies and television, in addition to supervising those who develop the layouts. Slower than average job growth of 2% for the 2014-2024 decade was projected by the BLS, and a median annual wage of $89,760 was noted for 2015.

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