The art industry is a dynamic and field to work in, but also a tough one to break into. One of the best things you can do for yourself as an art or art history major is to join professional organizations as a student. Organizations such as these five offer you opportunities to build an early professional network and gain access to valuable resources.

1. College Art Association

If you are enjoying art in the context of higher education, join the College Art Association immediately (CAA). This is a professional organization tailored toward those passionate about teaching and researching within the visual arts. CAA offers access to exclusive current research findings, provides funding opportunities for new research, sponsors conferences and other events, and posts open job and internship positions.

2. Association of Art Museum Curators

Perhaps you are more excited at the prospect of being a curator at an art museum. Maybe you even dream of opening your gallery or museum? The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) is a great place to begin. The AAMC hosts a wide variety of conferences, events, and webinars. It offers professional development resources and access to open positions. AAMC even has a special membership and a plethora of resources dedicated to students.

3. International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

Calling all art history majors, this one is especially for you! Consider joining the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) today. This organization sponsors events that provide access to information and offers professional development opportunities geared toward preserving historic art and assisting those who share in that passion. The IIC has resources, especially for students. As an international organization, ICC provides the opportunity to build a global network.

4. National Art Education Association

Are you passionate about spreading art education far and wide, to diverse audiences and in creative ways? So are the founders and current leaders of the National Art Education Association (NAEA)! From events and advocacy to research and community outreach, the NAEA provides opportunities, resources, and funding to individuals and organizations dedicated to art education. They have a special division dedicated to keeping art alive in middle and high school, as well as resources for college students.

5. International Council of Museums

If you are hoping to use your art or art history degree break into the museum arena, it is a good idea to establish a presence early and keep your finger on the global pulse. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is based in Paris, France (otherwise known as one of the great museum capitals of the world). The ICOM is a great resource for learning the logistical systems of museum life, find and submit valuable research projects, and scope out the worldwide job market. This is the ideal organization for students hoping to pursue a leadership or administrative role in the future.

Whether you want to spend your days creating art, selling it, displaying it, or teaching others about it, joining professional organizations will open doors for you. Each of those listed above focus on a different arena of the art industry. They all offer exclusive resources and opportunities to connect with other students and seasoned professionals.

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