Careers in Communications and the Arts

Communicating with others about humane animal treatment and environmental protection is one of the most important ways to share your passion for animals. Such outreach can be accomplished through a wide variety of communication delivery methods and can take the form of many creative and even artistic career fields such as:

  • Artist (varying mediums such as paint, clay, graphic arts, use of technology in art)
  • Fashion design that incorporates compassion in fashion
  • Creative writing (in print, on the web, entertainment mediums such as film, radio, and television)
  • Communications specialists who develop annual reports, publications, and enewsletters, or who write grant proposals
  • Outreach experts who develop marketing campaigns, conduct surveys, organize events; including Director of Community Outreach (in a shelter setting)
  • Media and public relations professionals
  • Web-based communication specialists such as web writers, web content managers, website designers
  • A humane educator might work or volunteer with a local shelter, conducting workshops for kids at schools or running clubs at shelters - arts and crafts experience comes in handy!

Communicators, especially artists, often need fundraising skills. They should be able to:

  • Identify potential funding sources such as private foundations, community fundraising events, and government grants.
  • Develop a sound project with achievable goals that can be demonstrated through assessment procedures. Write a convincing grant proposal.
  • Follow through on your funded project so that you have a better chance to get funding for the next project, too.

The Foundation Center, a nonprofit organization, offers online and library resources to help you identify funding sources, workshops on project development and grant writing, and publications to keep you informed about the new grant opportunities and other changes that may improve your chances to earn funding.

Suggested Readings

  • Grants for Arts, Culture and Humanities. 2004. The Foundation Center.
  • Gurlich, Kathy. 2003. 187 Tips for Artists: How to Create a Successful Art Career--and Have Fun in the Process! Center City Publishing.
  • Michels, Caroll. 2001. How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself without Selling Your Soul. Owl Books.
  • Sirch, Willow Ann. 2000. Careers with Animals. Fulcrum. (Part Five: Careers in the Arts).
  • Miller, Louise. 2001. Careers for Animal Lovers and Other Zoological Types. (Chapter 6: Reflecting Their Beauty).

Analyze an example of humane communication.

  • Ask yourself: Why was this presentation effective? What types of information could be communicated in this format? Are there types of information that would not be communicated well in this format?
  • Consider these same questions about books, articles, tv commercials, websites, and other animal-related communication that you see and hear.

Other Suggested Activities

  • Keep track for a day every time you hear information or see an image of animals or nature. What are the main sources (tv, radio, magazines, internet, books, friends)? Which sources do you remember best?
  • Check you local community college for short courses on writing, painting, sculpting, or other creative approaches to communicating. Are you interested enough to sign up? Or are you ready to teach one?
  • If you don't know an individual artist, educator, or communications professional who could use your help, check Volunteer Match, an online source for local volunteer opportunities around the country. Just type in your zip code and the type of volunteer work you'd like to find.

Websites of Interest

The Orion Society is a nonprofit that uses visual arts and fine writing to promote nature conservation and environmental literacy.

The Public Relations Society of America has a section on its web site for professionals who focus on environmental communications.

Worldwide Nature Artists Group is an international society of animal and nature artists.

The Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Network is dedicated to improving the use of films and other environmental media as tools in conservation.