By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

Students are back in school, with art projects, band rehearsals and class plays stimulating young minds in classrooms throughout South Dakota. These educational experiences in the arts expand students’ horizons, develop critical thinking capabilities and spark creative joy. And for many, art classes, performances and creative endeavors are the first steps toward a career in the arts.

We may think of creative careers in terms of performance or teaching—and those are vital elements in the cultural environment of our nation. All of us can think of an inspiring teacher or a family member who became a professional musician, or a theater or visual artist. But when it comes to careers in the arts, education and performance are just the tip of the iceberg.

For example, a degree in music from a South Dakota university can lead to jobs as a recording engineer, copyright consultant, therapist, entertainment lawyer, event producer, touring artist manager, instrument builder, video game developer, music journalist or reviewer and much, much more. Theater students can become filmmakers for major corporations, television producers, business managers for Broadway theaters and set and costume designers for productions all over the globe, just to name a few options. These are all career choices other South Dakota students have found are available to them after getting their grounding in the creative arts in our schools.

Arts education is vitally important for every single student in our schools, and is equally important at every level. In addition to building thinking, planning and organizing skills, the creative process can prepare students for challenging and rewarding jobs. We’re planting the artistic seeds today that may grow into the careers that enrich our cultural future!

Please visit to learn more about ways in which you can strengthen and enrich arts education throughout South Dakota.