5 Reasons you Need an Artist Statement in your Application

As we arts majors emerge from the depths of winter, we begin preparing for the next phase of the year just as brutally harsh and grueling: application season. Managing your applications for scholarships, intensives, and internships can be difficult, especially when paired with your regular school or work responsibilities. Seeing all of the overlapping deadlines in your planner can be overwhelming enough to discourage your efforts. But don’t fret yet! Developing and successfully utilizing an artist’s statement can help ease some of your stress and smooth the process over. If you are unsure how to write an artist statement or even what an artist statement is, there are plenty of online resources with explanations and examples for you to find through a simple Google search. Once you have an understanding of basic Artist Statements 101 knowledge, consider these outcomes as motivation to begin the process of developing your own statement for your applications. A well-written artist statement will...

  1. 1. Make your Application Stand Out as Professional

    With hundreds of thousands of students vying for the same opportunities, trying to appear professional and unique can prove to be a difficult task. Although “professionalism” within the arts field is arguably laxer than in other jobs, there is still an inherent pressure that you should appear your best on paper and in-person during an application process. Having a developed artist statement on hand helps to contribute to your image as a competent, well-prepared applicant. You can put it on your resume, within your scholarship essay, or as your social media bio for your art accounts—wherever you use it, an artist statement will add a finishing touch that shows how you are detail-oriented, organized, and ready to work.

  2. 2. Specify How you can Contribute

    As students, we are still developing our craft and thus it can be difficult to define our own concrete strengths. The process of developing an artist statement will aid you in this reflective process, proving useful when applying for opportunities. The format of an artist statement will present your artistic medium and skillsets in a more humanistic way than the “Skills” section on your resume. Especially within opportunities that are open for artists from different mediums, your unique statement will concisely show how you have developed your individuality in a way that can be combined collaboratively with artists who use differing mediums. If nothing else, a well-crafted artist statement will show your writing capabilities and advertise for itself that you are capable of effective artistic marketing.

  3. 3. Create an Emotional Connection Within your Application

    The first obstacle your application faces once submitted is the struggle of falling flat or getting lost within that initial review. Lifting your name off of your resume and transforming it into your likeness exclusively through writing is no small task. An artist statement can address the “why” behind your art, and thus your application, in a way that engages the reader and stimulates their imagination. If you can articulate the motivation behind your art in a relatable way, your application will stimulate emotional connection and become more memorable. You can use this chance to show your personality and define your values. This being said— there is a careful line between genuine and overdone, so be careful to avoid the obvious cliches that come from emotionality within art.

  4. 4. Give you Something to Fall Back on in Interviews

    Once you’ve made it through the application review process, many opportunities will require one or multiple interviews before you can be extended an offer. Presenting yourself well during an interview is crucial to showing that you embody the words you wrote in your application. Not only will your artistic skill sets be under close scrutiny as you are considered as a potential candidate, but your professionality and personality will be taken into consideration too. Naturally, you may feel nervous during your interview, which is when having a prepared statement that summarizes your values and credentials will be useful. I would advise against reciting your statement word-for-word during your interview to avoid sounding robotic, but paraphrasing and referencing back to the values outlined in your statement will help soothe your nerves and create consistency within your entire interview.

  5. 5. Help you Choose your Focus and Filter Opportunities

    As application season comes to a close, you can breathe a sigh of relief that you’ve made it this far. Hopefully, your applications were well received, your interviews were stupendous, and you’ve landed a few offers along the way. Most opportunities will require commitment and create obligations that might conflict with each other in some form. As you consider what offers you would like to accept, you will want to contemplate your interests and what skill sets you would like to grow. At this point, you can return to your artist statement and the reflective process you underwent to create it. Using your artist statement as a tool to funnel your focus and narrow your intentions will guide you as to whether an offer is best suited for you at this current moment in your career. You should feel in no way obligated to accept an offer to an opportunity just because you applied, so should you realize this isn’t something you’d like to pursue currently you can always politely decline.

While applications can be tiresome and draining, they provide good practice for you to develop your professional skills and market yourself as an artist. Should you get an offer, congrats!! If this year isn’t the year for you, that's alright too! Just having gone through the process of creating your artist statement and pushing through your difficulties will be beneficial to you and the future of your career. I wish you luck and happy applying!!