Tag: #VPA

Tax Tips for Artists and Musicians

Navigating the tax landscape as an artist or freelance musician can feel opaque and overwhelming. This guide will help you hit the right notes with your tax return, ensuring you claim every deduction and credit legally available.

Know Your Self-Employment:

  • Track everything: Income from gigs, commissions, streaming royalties – every penny counts. Use a dedicated app, spreadsheet, or even a trusty notebook to keep meticulous records.
  • Form 1040 is your friend: You’ll report your professional earnings on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ, depending on your expenses.
  • Self-employment tax is real: Brace yourself for an additional 15.3% tax (covering Social Security and Medicare) on top of your income tax. Factor this into your pricing and budget accordingly.


  • Turn expenses into savings: Instruments, music equipment, studio rent, even sheet music and online subscriptions – many business-related expenses are eligible for deductions.
  • Home office: If you dedicate a designated workspace at home, claim a portion of your rent, utilities, and internet expenses.
  • Marketing: Website fees, social media promotions, and even business cards – all valid deductions for spreading the word about your artistry.

Maximize the Credits:

  • Education: Did you take that masterclass or photography workshop? Educational expenses can be deducted or credited, further sweetening your tax tune.
  • Health: Health insurance premiums are often deductible, helping you stay healthy and financially balanced.

Don’t Go Solo:

  • Tax professionals: Consulting a tax accountant or financial advisor can be a wise investment, especially for complex situations.
  • Networking benefits: Join fellow artists’ unions or professional organizations for shared resources and expert guidance on tax and legal matters.


  • Keep meticulous records: Receipts, invoices, and bank statements are your proof when tax time arrives.
  • Pay estimated taxes: Avoid penalties by making quarterly payments based on your expected income.
  • File on time!

Bonus Tip: Consider incorporating as a business (LLC or S-Corp) for additional tax benefits and legal protection. Consult a professional to see if this is the right step for you.

This is just a starting point, and every artist’s tax situation is unique. Always consult with a professional tax advisor for personalized guidance and ensure you comply with all relevant regulations.

How to Write Personal Statements for Graduate School Applications

Writing a compelling personal statement for graduate school is crucial to your application’s success. This is your opportunity to showcase your qualifications, experiences, and motivations to the admissions committee. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft an effective personal statement:

  • Understand the Purpose:
    • The personal statement allows you to demonstrate why you’re a strong candidate for the program.
    • It should highlight your academic achievements, relevant experiences, and your passion for the field.
  • Research the Program:
    • Familiarize yourself with the specific graduate program you’re applying to, including its mission, faculty, and curriculum.
    • Identify what makes this program unique and how it aligns with your goals.
  • Brainstorm and Outline:
    • Begin by brainstorming your key experiences, achievements, and reasons for pursuing graduate education.
    • Create an outline to organize your thoughts and structure your statement.
  • Start with a Strong Opening:
    • Begin your personal statement with an engaging hook to grab the reader’s attention.
    • This could be a personal anecdote, a relevant quote, or a brief summary of your journey.
  • Discuss Your Academic Background:
    • Highlight your academic achievements, including relevant coursework, research projects, or honors.
    • Explain how your academic background has prepared you for the graduate program.
  • Showcase Your Relevant Experiences:
    • Discuss internships, research, work experience, or volunteer work that is relevant to your field of study.
    • Provide specific examples of how these experiences have shaped your goals and skills.
  • Explain Your Motivation and Goals:
    • Describe why you are passionate about the field and what motivates you to pursue graduate education.
    • Discuss your short-term and long-term career goals and how the program will help you achieve them.
  • Address Weaknesses (if necessary):
    • If you have any academic gaps or weaknesses, briefly address them and explain how you’ve overcome or learned from them.
  • Show Fit with the Program:
    • Explain why you believe the specific program is the right fit for you and how it will help you achieve your goals.
    • Mention faculty members or research opportunities that align with your interests.
  • Reflect on Personal Growth:
    • Share personal insights or transformative experiences that have influenced your decision to pursue graduate studies.
  • Conclude Strongly:
    • Summarize your main points and reiterate your enthusiasm for the program.
    • End with a forward-looking statement about your potential contributions as a graduate student.
  • Edit and Proofread:
    • Revise your personal statement for clarity, grammar, and coherence.
    • Seek feedback from professors, mentors, or peers to ensure it’s well-polished.
  • Stay Within Word Limits:
    • Adhere to any word or page limits provided by the graduate program.
  • Tailor Your Statement:
    • Customize your personal statement for each program you apply to, emphasizing the aspects most relevant to each.
  • Review and Submit:
    • Review your application and personal statement thoroughly before submitting it by the deadline.

Remember that your personal statement should reflect your unique experiences, aspirations, and personality. Be honest, authentic, and enthusiastic throughout your writing, and make sure it conveys your genuine passion for your chosen field of study and the graduate program you’re applying to.

Navigating the World of Arts Administration

Crowd at a concert

What is Arts Administration?

Arts administration is a vibrant and essential field that bridges the gap between creativity and management in the arts and cultural sector. It plays a crucial role in ensuring that artistic endeavors thrive by handling the business, logistical, and organizational aspects of cultural institutions, performance spaces, museums, galleries, and more.

Often referred to as arts management, arts administration involves the management and coordination of artistic and cultural organizations. This field encompasses a wide range of roles, from managing budgets and fundraising to marketing, event planning, and curatorial work. Arts administrators act as the behind-the-scenes architects who make artistic visions come to life, ensuring that the arts are accessible and sustainable.

How to Prepare for a Career in Arts Administration

  1. Choose the Right Major and Courses

While arts administration programs exist, they are not the only path into the field. Many arts administrators have diverse educational backgrounds in areas such as arts management, business administration, nonprofit management, or even a specific artistic discipline like music, visual arts, or theater. To start, consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a related field, but be sure to include coursework in business, finance, marketing, and nonprofit management to gain a well-rounded foundation.

  1. Gain Practical Experience

Getting hands-on experience is invaluable in arts administration. Seek out internships, volunteer opportunities, or part-time jobs at local arts organizations, museums, or cultural institutions. These experiences will give you a firsthand look at the day-to-day operations and challenges faced in the field. Additionally, they can help you build a network of contacts and references.

  1. Develop Strong Communication and Leadership Skills

Effective communication is essential in arts administration. Arts administrators often work with diverse groups of people, including artists, donors, board members, and the general public. Hone your communication skills, both written and verbal, to convey ideas, facilitate collaboration, and represent your organization professionally.

Leadership skills are equally important. Arts administrators must guide their teams, make critical decisions, and manage resources efficiently. Consider taking leadership courses or seeking leadership roles in student organizations to develop these skills.

  1. Embrace Technology

In today’s digital age, technology plays a significant role in arts administration. Familiarize yourself with relevant software for budgeting, marketing, and database management. Proficiency in social media and online fundraising platforms can also be highly beneficial.

  1. Attend Networking Events and Conferences

Building a strong professional network is crucial for success in arts administration. Attend conferences, seminars, and industry events to meet fellow professionals, learn from experts, and stay updated on industry trends. Many organizations offer student discounts for these events.

  1. Pursue Advanced Education

Consider pursuing a master’s degree in arts administration or a related field. While not always required, it can provide you with a competitive edge in a competitive job market and open doors to higher-level positions.


Arts administration is a fulfilling career that allows you to combine your passion for the arts with your organizational and management skills. To prepare for a successful career in this field, focus on your education, gain practical experience, and develop strong communication and leadership abilities. With dedication and a commitment to the arts, you can play a vital role in supporting and advancing the cultural landscape for future generations.

Example Arts Administration Job Titles:

  • Arts Administrator: A general term that can refer to various administrative roles within arts organizations.
  • Executive Director: The top leadership position responsible for overall management and strategic direction of an arts organization.
  • Development Director or Fundraising Manager: Manages fundraising efforts, grant applications, donor relations, and development strategies.
  • Marketing and Communications Manager: Oversees promotional campaigns, advertising, social media, public relations, and communication efforts to attract audiences and patrons.
  • Program Manager or Curator: Responsible for planning, organizing, and curating exhibitions, performances, or educational programs.
  • Finance Manager or Controller: Handles budgeting, financial planning, accounting, and financial reporting for the organization.
  • Education Coordinator: Develops and manages educational programs and outreach initiatives, often in museums or arts education institutions.
  • Box Office Manager: Manages ticketing operations, customer service, and audience management for performing arts venues.
  • Gallery Manager or Curatorial Assistant: Assists in the management and curation of gallery exhibitions, collections, and installations.
  • Event Planner: Plans and coordinates special events, fundraisers, galas, and performances hosted by arts organizations.
  • Membership Manager: Oversees membership programs, recruitment, and engagement strategies to build a loyal supporter base.
  • Publications Manager or Editor: Manages the production of catalogs, brochures, and other printed materials related to exhibitions and events.
  • Human Resources Manager: Handles personnel matters, including hiring, staff development, and compliance with labor laws.
  • Facility Manager: Manages the maintenance and operation of the physical space, such as theaters, galleries, or museums.
  • Grant Writer: Specializes in writing grant proposals and securing funding from government agencies, foundations, and private donors.
  • Community Engagement Coordinator: Works on initiatives to engage the local community, foster partnerships, and promote cultural inclusion.
  • Legal Counsel: Provides legal guidance on contracts, intellectual property, and compliance with laws and regulations.
  • Technology and Digital Media Coordinator: Oversees digital platforms, website management, and online content development.
  • Archivist: Manages and preserves historical records, artifacts, or collections in cultural institutions like museums and libraries.
  • Visitor Services Manager: Focuses on providing an exceptional visitor experience, including ticketing, guest services, and information.

Voice Acting

Voice acting is a unique and exciting career that allows individuals to use their vocal talents to bring characters to life. Voice actors are in demand in a variety of industries, including film, television, video games, commercials, podcasts and more.

People become voice actors for a variety of reasons. Some are drawn to the creative nature of the work and the opportunity to bring characters to life through their voices. Others appreciate the flexibility of the profession, which allows for remote work and freelance opportunities. Salaries for voice actors can vary widely depending on factors such as experience level and the type of project they are working on. Top voice actors earn six-figure salaries.

To get started in voice acting, many begin by freelancing. There are several freelance websites where voice actors can find work. Some popular options include Voices, Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com, Guru, and Peopleperhour. These sites offer a range of opportunities for voice actors at different experience levels and price ranges.

To become a voice actor, one should have experience in acting methods and vocal techniques. Some important techniques include warming up and performing vocal exercises before any voice-acting session. This can include full body stretching, facial stretches, and airflow exercises. Voice actors should also be skilled at character-driven performances, using their vocal tone to convey emotion. Mastering accents and dialects is another important skill for voice actors. Analyzing and interpreting scripts is also crucial for voice actors, as it allows them to understand the character they are portraying and deliver a convincing performance. Experimenting with vocal tones and emotions can help voice actors develop their range and versatility. Continuously honing their acting skills and embracing feedback from others can also help voice actors improve their craft.

Many voice actors begin their careers by learning to act on stage or in films. A bachelor’s degree in acting or theater arts can provide valuable experience in performing and knowledge of fundamental acting principles. Acting classes and workshops can also help individuals improve their abilities by learning from experts with proficiency in techniques like characterization, vocalization, and interpretation.

Voice actors should also have technical knowledge of audio equipment, sound recording techniques and audio software like Adobe Audition, Audacity and Apple GarageBand. These are just a few of the software packages used by voice talent.

There are many famous voice actors who have brought beloved characters to life through their vocal talents. Some examples include Mel Blanc, who voiced nearly every character on Looney Tunes, and Tara Strong, who has starred in animations like The Fairly OddParents, Rugrats, The Powerpuff Girls, as well as the Final Fantasy video game series. Actor James Earl Jones, known for saying “This is CNN” is best known as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise. A Generation X hero is Peter Cullen, known for his vocal portrayal of Optimus Prime through several generations of the Transformers franchise. Interestingly, Optimus Prime’s nemesis, Megatron is often voiced by actor Frank Welker, who is believed to have more vocal acting credits than anyone else, with nearly 900 film, television, and video game roles.  Although most people have never heard of him, with a total worldwide box-office gross of $17.4 billion, Frank Welker is the third highest-grossing actor of all time!









What To Do During This Summer for Music, Art & Film Students

Step 1: Find out your goal


For musicians, you may already have a summer program opportunity or internship for the summer. If so, make it your goal to learn as much as possible during these opportunities. If you don’t have one of these opportunities lined up, that is okay! You can spend your summer preparing for graduate school auditions, summer pre-screens, academic auditions, or more. 


For those interested in the art field, you may have internships lined up for the summer as well. It may be your goal to get as much experience possible at these opportunities. If you don’t you can always work on projects to bulk up your portfolio or prepare for your academic art exhibits and projects. You can also prepare materials to apply for graduate programs or future jobs/internships. 


For film students, if you don’t have an opportunity lined up for the summer like an internship, you can spend your summer bulking up your portfolio as well. You can also prepare materials for the next academic year, graduate school applications, or just future job opportunities. 

Step 2: Figure out the steps to achieve that goal


For those who are music majors, you can check out a previous helpful guide we have created here


You can actually do quite a bit to achieve multiple goals during the summer as an art major. You can work on weekly pieces to bulk up your portfolio, or even create your own “artist residency”. To create your own residency you can try taking online classes that interest you, or if you are feeling daring you can even move to a different city for the summer and work at a makerspace to learn from other artists. Whatever route you plan on taking, make sure that your steps to achieve your goal are clear!


For those interested in film, working on projects over the summer is the perfect thing to do in your spare time. It can be hard during the academic year to find enough time to work on your big projects, so take the extra time to create something you have always wanted to create! You can also spend the time perfecting your portfolio to send to future opportunities. You can even reach out to local news stations or film companies to see if they have any temporary openings.

Step 3: Execute! 

For all areas of the Visual & Performing Arts Community, stick to your plan! If you end up falling behind that is totally okay, just be sure you have a chance to recharge and get back in there. Always keep in mind that even the tiniest amount of progress can make a huge impact on your career and your goals. 

Step 4: Keep track of your progress


For musicians, keeping track of progress is either incredibly easy for your or incredibly hard. If you are trying to practice more this summer, try keeping a video diary of your practice sessions and lessons. If that doesn’t work, try a physical practice diary to check in with how you and your instrument are feeling each day or week. If you are at an internship or program you can also use the diary method.


Thankfully for artists, it can be relatively easy to see the progress you are making throughout the summer. If you are building your portfolio up, you can compare your past pieces to your present ones or see if you want to improve any past ones you have done. If you are taking a class, you can gauge how attentive you are to the material or even ask the professor how you are doing. 


For those interested in film you can also see your progress relatively easily if you are building your portfolio. You can compare your past pieces with your newest ones to see how you have improved. If you are finding it easier to write your application materials the more you spend time with them, that is also progress! 

Step 5: Enjoy the benefits!

Once you have completed all of your steps, you can now go and get that audition, job, or internship a lot easier! Fill out those online forms, schedule those interviews and get those plane tickets to go and land those opportunites. If your goal didn’t include applying for anything, you now have the tools you need to become the best version of yourself and your artform! Hopefully, throughout the process you learned a lot more about yourself as an individual and what your interests are in order to inform yourself on what to do in the future.

Job Search Resources for Film Students: Mandy.com & StaffMeUp.com


Mandy is a simple job search tool for those in the film and theater industries which functions a lot like LinkedIn. You can easily find casting and crew calls for all sorts of productions and apply for them safely directly through the website. All you need is a free account to start seeing the listings, however, you have to pay for a subscription in order to apply for the positions and make sure your profile is seen. The nice thing about Mandy is that it organizes opportunities by employer. That way if you find an employer you would like to work for it lists all of their available positions in one place, rather than having to weed through all other listings to find that particular employer. 


StaffMeUp is a great resource for those looking for film jobs and internships. Unlike Mandy, it does not feature theater internships and only showcases film and crew opportunities. The website is extremely easy to navigate and you just need to make a free profile to start applying for positions. With the free version, you are allowed to apply to 5 opportunities every month, but if you would like to apply to more you must pay for a subscription. The paid subscription also gives you access to the status of your application to see when it is being reviewed. Overall, StaffMeUp’s free version is much more useful than Mandy’s since you can actually start applying for positions right away without having to pay anything.