Category Archives: Starting Out

Job Posting for June 2014


Lifeform studios  is looking for two part-time 3D Modelers. Primarily 3D modeling and editing to prepare scanned geometry and textures of people for 3D printing. Also opportunities to operate a high-end 3D printer and post-process 3D prints. Contact Lisa Menninger at 913-387-9451 or for more info or to apply.

DeCloud Studios, an Overland Park, KS based School Yearbook & Senior Photography company is currently accepting applications from talented, responsible and highly motivated individuals to join our team as a Seasonal Staff Photographer. Contact Leilah Kouri at or 913 – 956 – 7312 for more info.

Avila University needs to staff 3 classes in the Art+Design Department  for this fall semester 2014  Master’s Degree preferred but not required.  Stipend commensurate with education and experience.  Please send inquiries and resumes to Janine Urness at
The classes are:

BEGINNING DRAWING      Monday/Wednesday, 9 – 11:40 am
BEGINNING PAINTING   Monday/Wednesday 2 – 4:40 pm
3-DIMENSIONAL DESIGN  Tuesday Thursday  9 – 11:40 am

COS has an opening for the Artmaker’s Studio  Coordinator. See the job description here. Apply by sending a resume to  Jeanne Beeves

Unbound seeks a graphic designer with a BFA for a Visual Communications Specialist.

Notre Dame de Sion School seeks a K-8 art instructor.

Lexmark is seeking a design-conscious, enthusiastic, detail-oriented and organized illustrator and Multimedia Designer to join the creative wing of its global marketing team.  Applicants should contact: Sherri Lockridge at

The  InterUrban ArtHouse has an Administrative Assistant position opening

Studio Dan Meiners seeks a Floral Designer & Team Leader. Please email:
– Resume
– Photos of your floral designs
– Cover letter explaining how you are a good fit for this
to Rory Welsh at or call  816.843-7244 if you have questions.

UMKC Innovation Center Artist Inc. Programming, is seeking an Associate Director Program/Project Operations. This position is the chief administrator of the suite of Artist INC.programs and is responsible for the program’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives.

LOFT at Oak Park Mall is seeking passionate, highly motivated, fashion forward leaders!

EPIC Clay Studio is a small non-profit ceramics studio in the heart of Strawberry Hill. It is a program of Accessible Arts in collaboration with CHWC. They have a paid residency position open.

Part-time position at a printing co. in production and customer service.

The Museum of Prairie Fire in Overland Park seeks a Volunteer Coordinator. The Volunteer Coordinator will play a central role in recruiting, training and managing volunteers for the Museum.



Chinati in Marfa, TX is seeking part-time (20 hours/week) visitor services associates as well as a full-time development manager. The full job descriptions and application instructions are posted here:

Program Assistant Position at the Getty Foundation: Works with senior staff in all areas of grant making, including undergraduate and graduate internship programs, art conservation, art museums, and academic art history. Responsibilities may include managing a small internship program at the Getty.

The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is currently seeking an Admissions Counselor for the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance.

Bilingual Spanish Emerson School in Austin, TX seeks an elementary art teacher.;span%20style=color:#363636;Orbus,%20in%20Woodridge,%20IL,%20 a%20leading%20and%20highly%20successful%20tradeshow%20builder%20and%20designer%20of%20hardware%20and%20graphics%20to%20the%20exhibit%20and%20display%20industry,%20is%20seeking%20a%20Jr.%20Exhibit%20Designer%20to%20join%20our%20dynamic%20Design%20team.a%20href=

QUINN FABLE ADVERTISING in NYC has an opening for a Junior Art Director.

VISUAL INGENUITY in St Louis seeks a Graphic Design Associate.

The Art Institute of Austin is currently identifying qualified candidates for the position of Program Coordinator to lead the Fashion program. This position does require a teaching load in addition to overall management of the program.


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Job Postings for May 2014


Full-time and part-time art handler positions are open!

KCAI CPS is seeking a part-time Services Assistant on weekends.

KCAI is looking for visiting professors in animation and graphic design.

Children’s Mercy Hospital is seeking an illustrator/ graphic designer. Contact Susan Abdel-Rahman at for more info.

Murphy Hoffman Company would like to hire a KCAI alumni for a full-time graphic design position ASAP.

Vance Publishing, an industry leader in b2b media communications, is seeking an Assistant Art Director to join our Creative Services team in our Lenexa, Kansas office.

Portraits Today Studios is a retail, same day portrait studio and is looking for an experienced photographer not afraid of the challenge of retail photography.

Fast growing sign company needs a vinyl production team leader and print production person.

GameStop, a Fortune 300 Company is searching for management and PT Supervisors (Sr. Game Advisor) candidates for our Kansas City area stores. Send resumes to

Lowe’s is hiring. Contact for more info.

Exhibit company looking for a full time fabrication assistant and all around enthusiastic worker with a great attitude and a willingness to grow.

LogoKC currently has an immediate opening for a full time Graphic Artist.

Lifestyle Publications is one of the fastest growing companies in Kansas City and has an immediate opening for the position of Graphic Designer/Art Editor.

The Museum at Prairiefire (MAP) was established in 2010 based on a pioneering content partnership with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and is scheduled to open in May 2014 in Overland Park, KS. The Museum is looking for talented and motivated candidates to join the team as Visitor Services Coordinators.

Paper Source is a premier paperie and online retailer offering a unique selection of fine and artisanal papers, invitations and announcements, personalized and distinctive gifts, quirky greeting cards, gift wrap, and custom stamps, envelopes and cards. They are looking to hire a KCAI affiliate for an Assistant Manager Position. in the Plaza and Leawood store, along with several other positions. Applicants should contact: or apply online



Professional post production company in the St. Louis metro area is seeking full time photo editors to perform color correction and artistic editing on primarily wedding and portrait images using Adobe Lightroom.

DCM Art Services provides transportation, installation, packing / crating, storage and specialty work for Houston and the surrounding areas. We currently have an Art Handler Position available.

The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, TX seeks a part-time Gallery Educator.

Austin based art’s non profit seeks Director of Operations and Accounts

The Metropolitan Museum of Art seeks a visitor services assistant.

Established East Coast Gallery with four locations is seeking a professional, proactive, detail oriented individual to assist in the receipt, cataloging and shipment of artworks to both our domestic and international clients, as well as to our other gallery locations.

Grapefruit Moon Gallery in the twin cities seeks a gallery sales specialist.


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Jobs Posting for April 2014


Murray’s Ice Creams & Cookies has an opening for a part-time Murray’s Soda Jerk. Contact Murray at, call 8169315646 or visit their Westport location and slip a sheet of paper with your contact info and availability through the mail slot.

Artist & Craftsman Supply at 229 Southwest Boulevard is hiring full-time staff. Must have knowledge in a variety of mediums. Contact Nicholas Naughton at   816-221-5454 or to apply.

Dan Needham of Needham Floral seeks a part time floral assistant. Contact INFO@NEEDHAMFLORAL.COM for more info.

Universal Construction Company, Inc. seeks a full-time Marketing / Project Assistant. Contact Patti Sadler or Steve Smith for more info.

KCAI is seeking applications for the full-time position of executive administrative assistant to the president.

The City of KCMO has several art related positions open.

Lexmark is seeking a design-conscious, enthusiastic, detail-oriented and organized illustrator with a strong background in conceptual and corporate illustration and graphic design to join the creative wing of its global marketing team.  Applicants should contact: Sherri Lockridge at

Midtown Self Storage Need a weekend only person to help with UHaul, pulling trucks up, cleaning, returning, running of our storage elevator. This position is part-time and pays an $9 hour. Contact Jolie Vorce at

The Kansas City Apparel Store is looking for a photographer/video engineer (current student) that will work within our urban,religious, and popular segments.  The photographer will be exposed to the business,design,and manufacturing process. Contact Chris Rogers for more info.
Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph seeks a Graphic and Web Designer. This is a full-time position with a $34k salary. Contact Tara McGranahan for more info.
Decision Counsel, a SF Bay Area based Agency is expanding its operation to Kansas City and is looking for talented designers. Contact Todd Soligo for more information:
ACE Gallery Beverly Hills, an established and internationally recognized art gallery has several openings. Those postings and others in the LA area can be found here:
David Zwirner LLC seeks a full-time Assistant Registrar for immediate hire for our secondary market gallery, located at 537 West 20th street in NYC. The ideal candidate must have 2-3 years of related experience at a commercial gallery.
THE MISSION | Houston seeks a motivated Gallery Assistant to provide administrative, secretarial and clerical support to the gallery staff including answering incoming phone calls, handling incoming and outgoing mail, providing scheduling support, making travel arrangements, filing, maintaining supplies and data entry.
Robert R. McCormick Museum at Cantigny Park, IL has an opening for a museum educator.
Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN seeks an exhibition and collections coordinator.
Several openings for Summer Camp Jobs at Oregon College of Art and Craft.
The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation (in the Portland area)  seeks an assistant collections registrar.

Altered Esthetics in Minneapolis has an opening for Exhibitions & Gallery Manager.


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So you want to have a show? By Melaney Mitchell (painting ’13)

So You Want To Have A Show? : Do’s and Don’ts from a Curator’s Perspective

Okay, so a few departments on campus require students to have an off campus show, those that don’t require it may encourage students to show while in school. So if you’re reading this, you obviously want to have a show. I’ve been a curatorial assistant for 3 years and just recently took over the Subterranean Gallery as director. A whole lot more goes into putting on an exhibition than people think, here are your do’s and don’ts.


1. Set a realistic budget – With any gallery opening, it’s going to cost you a lot of time, and quite a bit of money. Just to make the space at Subterranean Gallery exhibition ready costs a few hundred dollars. Research galleries and find out what they will provide for you. Some spaces have wonderful gallery preparators who will hang your work on pristine walls and handle it with care. Other spaces, like most small alternative spaces have a curator/preparator/director who wears all of the hats like me. Plan for around $200 to have an opening.

Here’s an example breakdown:

  •       Work framed/mounted – $100-$800 (optional, but suggested)
  •       Hanging devices – $10 – $20 (yes, you provide these)
  •       Postcards/Print Media – $70-$150
  •       Opening Night Refreshments – $50-$70 (you typically also provide these!)
  •       Paint, Patch and Paint, Rollers, Addtl Hardware – $25
  •       Vinyl Wall Decal – $15 -$20

So for a local exhibition, on the low end without factoring in the cost of framing your show would cost $170! Some galleries will split this cost, other spaces it is up to the artist.


2. Be prepared – Know that often times, things will go wrong and you will be working on getting the show ready up until the last few minutes before it opens. Most gallery directors have shows in mind and begin preparing 6 months in advance before a show. If you need a spring exhibition, pitch in the fall or early winter, and when you do pitch be professional.


Appropriate Exhibition Proposal Needs:

o   Resume

o   Cover Letter

o   Examples of Work – Specifically the work you are planning to make/ have made for the exhibition.

A meaty paragraph with details as to how you plan to use the space, why you want to show there, what your work is doing etc.

The proposal should set up a context for your work so that the gallery owner can understand how it would interact with their space/curatorial practice.

Please, do not ever approach a gallery owner at an opening with a bunch of ideas. If other galleries are like me, we have many things balancing at once and your pitch will be forgotten. Email us and set up a meeting, I’ll give my email to just about anybody. I would happily meet someone for coffee and listen to exhibition ideas, but have something realistic in mind for the space first (make a proposal!). Be considerate of my time and I will be considerate of yours.


3. Set Deadlines– Some artists hate deadlines, but when it comes to making an exhibition happen they are a necessity. You need deadlines for every stage of the exhibition. Here are my guidelines for a show:

  •       6 Months before– set up a meeting and pitch a show
  •       3 Months before – try to have a studio visit or touch base with the director about the exhibition
  •       1 Month before – Exhibition plans due, get a floor plan of the gallery space and plan what is going where. If you’re an installation artist – great! – however you need to have a secure plan of what you want to happen at this point so that gallery owners can schedule time for you to set up your installation properly in the space. Once the plans are approved, order postcards. (gotprint has them SUPER cheap)


  •       3 Weeks before – Media press release.
  •       2 Weeks before – go to the hardware store and get whatever you need to hang, light, and install your work in the space. Have this all completely set before you start installing.
  •       1.5 Weeks before– Facebook/ social media posts
  •       1 Week before – walls prepared(if you are doing this), work COMPLETE. Send out email blasts to friends, collectors, mentors, etc.
  • 5 Days before – begin installing. If you have work that is more simple to hang, start no later than 3 days before.
  • 2 Days before – Shop for refreshments and light the exhibition. I cannot stress enough how long lighting a show takes. Especially for installations and sculptural pieces. Playing with color temperature and light direction will take at least an entire day, if you don’t give yourself this time you will regret it.
  •    1 Day before– apply lettering, number tacks and/or labels, and paint over any areas where the work had to be moved.
  •       Day of the show – print out press releases, print gallery maps, set out refreshments, clean up and prepare for the opening! If you follow this plan, you’ll have plenty of time to eat, shower, and relax for a few minutes before your opening. After all this work, that 2 hours or so of quiet time is really well deserved.

Sticking to this schedule will allow for you to not only have a smooth opening, but a develop a relationship with a curator/gallery director who will trust you! That trust is important. If you show up two days before an opening with wet paintings completely disorganized, they have the power to turn the ship around and call the whole thing off, be considerate.

4. Know Who and What you’re dealing with – Try to meet the gallery owner before you start planning an exhibition, or at the very least visit the space. The end goal may be to have an exhibition, but you need to remember to protect your art. A lot of spaces will ignore common gallery policies like loan forms and may or may not have a professional preparator hanging your work. Meet these people, talk to them and ask a ton of questions. If they aren’t willing to answer things like What if my art gets damaged? or Who will be installing the exhibition? don’t walk- run.


Also choose your helpful friends wisely. Art school is a busy place and having people you can rely on will lead to less headaches in the long run.

5. Don’t expect  to sell work – This is a biggie, but if that’s your intention with having an art opening, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Selling work is a beautiful pleasant surprise if it does happen in undergrad, but your work is going to change and mature. Don’t let selling one type of thing effect the type of work you make and ideas you want to explore unless your ultimate goal is to be Jeff Koons with a workshop doing everything for you.  If you show at a commercial gallery, they are going to take a significant cut from the overall sale. Plus, many galleries that are considered alternative spaces, like mine, can’t sell work! As an undergrad student it is better for you to find galleries willing to offer social capital rather than a paycheck.

Social capital can be in the form of networking, brand building, marketing, programming etc. With each exhibition I am currently working on, I’m planning gallery programming specifically related to the artist’s ideas and practice with the hope of encouraging the community to develop a more enhanced dialogue with the artist. This is also a plus because it gives artist’s the freedom to sell their work out of their studios for 100% of the profit and potentially get exhibitions at bigger galleries that have mailing lists full of collectors specifically looking to buy work they care about! Building and refining your network is the most important thing you can do while in school to keep from feeling completely lost once you graduate and beyond. The internet is doing quite a bit to change how the art world works so don’t underestimate the power of social capital.


6. Last but not least, communicate– Check your email, your phone, and respond. If I set a due date for Exhibition plans or the press release and just don’t hear from you, I won’t order postcards and I’ll push the show back until I do. Keep communication as professional as possible, and be upfront with me if something happens. Remember that when you plan to have a show in a space, it needs to stay on par with the expectations the community has for the caliber of the work in the space. Not only is your artistic reputation at stake with the exhibition, so is the reputation of the gallery.

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The 2014 Art Curatorial Summer Academy is a component of the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This pilot initiative aims to impact arts leadership across the nation by diversifying the curatorial staff at museums as they strive to meet the wide ranges of interests of our country’s diverse population.
Who is eligible to apply?
1)     Individuals representing ethnically underrepresented groups in the curatorial field.
2)     Undergraduates currently enrolled at a university, college or community college.
3)     Undergraduates who, if selected as a fellow, can commit to 2 years in the program prior to graduating
4)     Individuals who are eligible to work in the United States
Please share this information with students who meet the requirements and would be interested in the program. The application deadline is March 28th. 
You can download the application and materials here:
If you have any questions about the Program, Please contact

Michele R. Valentine
Local Program Coordinator, Mellon Curatorial Fellowship/
Department Assistant, South and Southeast Asian Art
The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Office:  816.751.1328

Fax:  816.561.1011
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111

If you need assistance from AACS on your application contact Brittany Lane ( for an appointment.

 Good Luck!

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Job Listing for January 2014


KCPT seeks to higher a full-time social media manager.

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (across the street from the Kemper) seeks to hire a part-time Social Media Coordinator.

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) seeks a Marketing and Constituent Services Manager.

Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City is seeking a full time entry-level Administrative Assistant.

ACI Learning Centers offer center-based applied behavior analysis services for individuals on the autism spectrum, ages 2-21. They have a FT receptionist opening at their Overland Park ACI Learning Center. They would like a creative person for this position.

AMC dine in theater in Olathe, KS has several openings available.

Smiles Change Lives (SCL), a national nonprofit organization based in midtown Kansas City, is seeking a dynamic Program Specialist to serve as the front-line representative for the organization.

ArtsKC is seeking a motivated fundraising professional with proven success in grant writing, donor cultivation and event management.

KCAI’s Advancement office is looking to hire a part-time assistant.

Sun Creations Inc. of Lawrence Kansas has immediate opening for a full time apparel designer and graphics artist.

Long established, upscale flower shop is in need of a new floral designer.

The Bread & Butter Concepts (BBC) ideal Graphic Designer is a creative, well-rounded and highly organized team player.


Summer internship in Chicago: CST’s Costume Shop Internship offers direct exposure to the build of upcoming productions.

LampLight Studio, St Louis, MO, is looking for ceramic artists to join us as associates in our ceramic arts center. This is a barter arrangement in which we offer studio access in exchange for help with operations. Commission based income also possible. The position is flexible and open to discussion. Please call or stop by for more information.
314 427 7773

Walker Art Center is seeks a Curatorial Assistant to assist the Visual Arts curators in the research, planning and production of both borrowed and in-house exhibitions.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts is looking to hire a sales and events specialist.

Village Community School in NYC  is looking to hire a KCAI alumni for the position of wood shop assistant for the 2014-15 school year. Call Judy Kashman at  212-691-5146 ext. 228 to find out more.

The Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, CT seeks a Printmaking Workshop/Education Coordinator.

U.S.Art Company, Inc. seeks an Art Handler/Driver to join its regional office in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

Regent University’s School of Communication seeks to fill an open-rank faculty position for scenic and lighting design beginning August 2014.

Open position: Digital Content Coordinator – Logan Center for the Arts (Hyde Park) in Chicago.

Corporate art consulting firm, in Chicago, looking for experienced Custom Picture Framer.


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Melaney Mitchell (Painting ’13) Budgeting 101: The Key to Survival and Independence

While I was in school at KCAI, money was tight even though I had the feeling of a cushion from student loans. I didn’t have a car, and I worked a part-time to keep a steady balance of my money. I knew that when I graduated, I wasn’t going to have the support of loans or my parents. When I decided to stay in Kansas City, I realized I needed to save money in order to buy a car. I graduated only six months ago, I bought a great used car, pay my bills, and have found a way to still save money. 


Unless this is you at the end of every month, listen up!


The key here, is budgeting. When I was a freshman, I got a job at a retail store. The discount, mixed with what felt like extra money made me want all of these things I knew I couldn’t afford. I didn’t realize at the time that I was essentially burning money at my job, going out to eat food after the cafeteria closed, and not being frugal enough with art supplies.

The shock came the summer after when I needed to find an apartment. I had to figure out what kind of loan I needed for the next year and how I would afford things like food and electric bills. Luckily, my own mom supported herself while in college and taught me this budgeting technique that I am about to show you.

Budgeting seems frustrating, confusing, and annoying. It’s simple math.

 First, figure out a program that works for you. I really loved using excel so I created a spreadsheet to track my budget. I have taught this method to friends who hate that program and opted for a paper version. Now I use a smartphone app called Mint. Luckily, you don’t have to have an expensive smartphone to use the App. Mint also works as a web app with a computer and Internet connection.  Its convenient and easy because it sorts (95% of the time) your purchases into budget categories, and if you have it on your phone it will send you an email if you have spent more than usual or if you are over budget. Check it out here:

Next, determine your essentials. I am going to go over a sample budget for an imaginary person that I based on an average of myself and people who I have helped with budgeting in the past. This really is on the low-end, and these budgets don’t take into account student loan payments that occur after graduation. That is a whole different can of worms that anyone in the financial aid office will help you smooth over. Once you have this down, loan payments are easy. Really.

Income:  $499.80

How to Estimate this!
(20 hours/week @ 7.35 hour = $147
-Multiply that x 4 = $588
-Take home pay will be approximately 85% of this so multiply x.85 and = 499.80

“Loan” or support Income:  $563.20 (Estimating the amount you need monthly from your student loan/parents/mystery fund in the Cayman Islands is as simple as subtracting the essentials, and a few extras listed below. Your parents, the business office, and financial aid will thank you if you’re prepared for this.)

SIDE NOTE: Planning in this way, and having a part time job will allow for you to plan your loan over an entire year. From mid-September to mid-September. That way you don’t have to worry when that overage check is late, you already planned for that to happen and groceries are still in your fridge!

These are all “averages” from my own personal experience and what I have seen when I helped friends budget. You can choose to be much more frugal. However this budget its pretty realistic for your future going forward.

Rent: $700 split = $350
Gas: $35 + use = $50  split = $25
Electric: $9 + use = $50  split = $25

Water/Trash: N/A
Most KC apartments don’t have this charge, but it can be up to $50 if you’re paying by the gallon plus trash cost.

Phone: $60
Most people have data plans on their phones and that is expensive. Even more if you go over your plan’s limited usage. Phone bills range from cheap $40 to expensive $140 based on how many things you have, and what you use. Your phone makes a pretty big difference too if you are on a payment plan. $60 is a low average from what I have seen.  If you have a smartphone, you will be paying about 70. Also, often family plans are cheaper and you can be on a plan with your parents that will save money.

Internet: $40 split =$20
This is for 15 mbps.  Which is quite a lot, it’s the mid-priced package, which means you could get more or less. You really don’t need your Internet to go faster than this while in school. If you are a gamer, any Internet that costs over $40 a month should come out of your pocket as a non-essential. Don’t make your roommate pay for gigabit Internet if they just use it to write papers and check Facebook.

Renters Insurance: $12 split= $6
Seriously get this. Your laptop was $1,500. It’s 6 dollars a month; a lot of places have plans to cover your studio space too for when someone leaves the door propped open and your laptop disappears. Get this, and if you live in a basement, add flood insurance.

Groceries: $250
First, don’t try to split this with a roommate who does not budget. Splitting food with a roommate usually leads to bad things in general. Secondly this is estimating price per meal (250 dollars/ 30 days/ 3 meals= $2.78 per meal. Consider that when shopping!) You cannot afford to eat meat every day on this and you definitely can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods! Buying a slow cooker at a thrift store and making/freezing large portions of cheap meals will save you so much money. You can also be much more frugal than this!  I have seen it work! Just remember, the worse foods you eat, the more likely you are to get sick and be tired.

This book totally saved me. All the recipes cost around $15 and it would cook in my crock pot while I wrote papers or went to studio.

Also, if you don’t have a car Door to Door Organics actually saves time and money. Plus you end up eating a whole lot of green things like kale that give you energy on little sleep. If you get a few friends to do it with you it saves even more.

Pharmacy: $25
You don’t think so? Oh no you have carpal tunnel from your drawing and need a brace or got sick from staying awake more than 24 hours. Having money set aside for this helps you get better – and back to work – faster

Household Supplies: $50
Shampoo, dish soap, paper towels, etc. Target’s off brand “up and up” is really fantastic, and cheap for everything from toilet paper to Swiffer mop covers. You need this money to either keep your apartment clean or pay for the traps you need to get rid of critters. Let’s just imagine it’s a budget for cleaning supplies.

Laundry: $12
I usually spend $10 on laundry every month; I had internships in professional environments so I had studio clothes, and business casual clothes. This covered about 3 loads. The extra two dollars is for that annoying towel or two that refuses to dry or when the washer at the Laundromat does something weird.

Essentials Total =  $813


Coffee/Other Habit: $30
This allows you to get nice/ fancy coffee about 8 times a month. If you drink Americanos or something along that line, you can push 15. Maybe. Also if you really want to be financially sound when you graduate, don’t start smoking cigarettes. If you ever want to live in a larger city you will be in a huge financial bind being dependent on something that pretty much triples in cost.  In Chicago they average at $9 a pack, which is more than 1 hour at the minimum wage there.

Restaurants/Bars: $30
This is a treat if you can personally justify affording it. Trust me, when you graduate, you really can’t afford to eat at Cheesecake Factory and drink a $20 bottle of something every weekend. That would cost you $250 a month on the low end.

Fast Food:  $20
At lunch in studio, everyone you know is ordering Jimmy Johns or going to Kin Lin, or they are going to sonic at 1am because you’re all hungry. This amount only allows you to go a few times. So choose wisely.

Shopping: $30
In college, never buy full price clothing, and seriously don’t spend more than this on clothes. I worked in a retail store for 4 years watching people blow their paychecks on stuff. It really does not matter. Once you have the things you NEED, just stop.

Netflix/Spotify/Other Subscription: $10
This is self-explanatory. I’m really extroverted and I was always one of the few people in studio at night this made me feel crazy. Watching marathons of the office while I worked on drawings was well worth the $7.99.

Non Essentials Total= $120

Look at your personal bank statement and see where your money went the last couple of years. If you spend around $60 on fast food every month and never buy coffee, that’s what works for you. Adjust this as needed.  I try to say keep non-essentials around $100. If you can’t do that right away, there is no reason it should ever go over $200. But know, when you graduate that $100 is a lot of money for non-essentials!

Car (optional)

Basic Insurance: $40
Gas: $50
Oh sh*t I have a flat tire: $100

Not saving or planning for moments when something goes wrong with your vehicle only puts you in a dangerous situation. If you have a newer car, and this money goes unused, DON’T TOUCH IT. Building a safety net is an important part of being independent. If your car ever gets towed, it will cost you about $150 for the fee and an additional 30-50 dollars per day it is at the Tow lot.

Car Total= $190

 Of course, you’ll need to adjust this depending on the type of insurance you have, how much you drive, etc. Larger and older cars just use more gas, but how much are you actually driving?

Total Budget Without a Car = $933

Total Budget With a Car= $1,123

Total Budget Without a Car – Income = $933 – 499.80 =433.2

Total Budget With a Car – Income = $1,123– 499.80 = 623.2

The amount after you subtract income is what you will need each month before considering supply and book costs per semester.

When it comes to that, consider your department, do pre-paid fees cover a large portion of the cost, is your particular practice really costly? Think realistically about both of those things. You are attending art school to develop the discipline to have a studio practice after you graduate. If your practice is costing you $2,000 per semester in supplies alone, where will the money to make art come from when you graduate? Is money your medium? When you are taking out loans or your parents are paying your educational cost, it seems like justifying that “makes sense”. What happens when you want to live as an adult when you graduate? What happens when you decide the art community you want is in a city where rent costs as much as your art supplies once did?

This is where the safety net comes in. I used my safety net to buy a flat file and a car when I graduated. I budgeted for each month, planning how much I would make, and how much I might spend. Slowly, I started accumulating extra money by working more hours and saving whenever I could. It took discipline and control to ignore that extra money. If you know you’ll spend that money, work out something with your parents to have the overages for your loans to go to them and you only get exactly what you budget for needing that month. Eventually, the extra money you have becomes the most essential thing to keep things balanced.

Outside the safety net, grants and residencies are there to help you afford to make work and focus. Most of these applications require a thorough, in-depth budget. Without being able to plan where the money they give you is going, how can they trust you with it?


So now, what do you do once you have graduated? Where is almost $1,100 going to come from without any loans or some financial help? Its more simple than it seems. Whatever you do DON’T GET A CREDIT CARD UNTIL YOU KNOW HOW TO BUDGET COMFORTABLY. Use it for stuff only within your budget and pay it off in full every single time. More than likely you have student loan debt. Don’t get into credit card debt its way worse.

Getting a job while you are in school- or at least during the summer- really shouldn’t be optional.  It teaches you how to manage time, you’ll learn a lot about how the company functions, and you’ll make money to have less loan debt. When you graduate, it is really hard to find a decent part-time job in May. Typically stores and restaurants start hiring in March for the summer, and when you are new, good luck getting more than 10 hours a week for about the first month.

If you are lucky, you can work somewhere that they pay above minimum for an average of 20 hours a week. Even at $9 an hour, that’s still only $612 a month. The other money would need to come from selling your work (it really is possible!) or a second job paying about the same or a bit less. Without a car, that one job can stretch to a few more hours and your goals can be met. Cars are giant metal money pits unless they are newer, so be wary of that. Most of my friends who have spent less than $2,000 on a car put about $1,000 worth of repairs/maintenance work into them each year. That is a ton of money when you aren’t making a lot.

Be open to moving beyond retail. I have an awesome freelance job that I found online that balances out a part-time teaching job I was able to get through an internship. Those two separate things balance, I can do more freelance when its winter and I don’t have classes, but do less when it’s the beginning of fall and I am planning my lessons. Two retail jobs usually will lead to a ton of hours during the holidays and then little to none in the spring. January and February are cold and work is scarce. Back to that safety net again!


            To conclude, a recap

  1. Pick Your Method:, paper, spreadsheet, etc.
  2. Define your Income: use this to determine what you would need from a second job or loans
  3. Define your Essentials: What things do you need to have to survive?
  4. Define your Non-Essentials: What do you spend money on?
  5. Find the difference between Income and the total of your Essentials and Non-Essentials. Determine where you can make changes.
  6. Plan for the future. Start saving to build a safety net.
  7. STICK TO YOUR BUDGET: don’t let a new pair of jeans burn an imaginary hole in your pocket. They seriously don’t matter. I worked in retail were supposed to tell you they do, but they don’t. Focus on school and saving money, you’ll put yourself in a better position and thank yourself later.

Best of luck starting budgeting! You’ll feel like an accountant in no time.

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