It is crucial for students in the School of Fine Arts to find professional communities leading up to and following graduation, as these organizations will continue to support you in your career endeavors outside of your cohort and other connections from college. Young professionals can benefit greatly from expanding their networks in these ways.
Here are some associations that can help sustain your passion for the arts and professional development, with reasonable membership options for both students and young professionals depending on the organization. Read more about each here:
- American Choral Directors Association https://acda.org/
The ACDA is a nonprofit, professional association of choral conductors, serving over 1 million singers in the United States. The organization hosts annual conferences to connect its students, educators, and professional members to musical performances and keynotes from memorable speakers in the field of choral music. You can register for a student membership right now on their website!
- American Federation of Musicians https://www.afm.org/
80,000 musicians comprise the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), a coalition of professionals in the performing arts, television and film, and musical theatre industries. Find and contact your local branch via the AFM website to learn about membership options in your region.
- Association of Performing Arts Professionals https://www.apap365.org/
The APAP is the national service, advocacy, and membership organization for the live performing arts field with programs geared toward leadership, career advancement, and professional development. Options for membership include student, artist, individual performing arts professional artist, and more, depending on what stage of your career you are arriving at.
- College Art Association: Advancing Art & Design https://www.collegeart.org/
Becoming a member of the CAA can connect you to the largest community of individuals and organizations working together and advocating to advance research, practice, and the impact of the visual arts. Student, independent artist, and other varying levels of membership are available for very reasonable prices on the CAA website, where you can also learn more about their conferences and program offerings.
- National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA) https://www.naiaartists.org/
The NAIA is a membership-based nonprofit organization that serves to enhance the economic well-being of people who exhibit their artwork at quality outdoor and indoor art and/or fine craft shows, encourage creative expression and artistic excellence, and expand public awareness, appreciation, and acquisition of fine art and fine craft. Student memberships are available, providing a forum for artists to communicate with one another and other people in the arts community.
- Society of Illustrators https://societyillustrators.org/
The Society of Illustrators offers a robust student membership as well as an early-career membership for a minimal annual fee, allowing those just getting started to connect with the oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration in the United States. The Society, in addition to spreading its mission through its museum, offers year-round themed exhibits, art education programs and community outreach, and annual juried competitions.
Becoming a member at one or more of the above organizations will connect you to a world of creative, driven people and artistically stimulating opportunities as you take these first steps into your career. Whether your degree is steering you onto a musical or artistic path, you can find a support system and more by joining others with similar passions!