Though largely overlooked by scholars of higher education, professional identity, and artistic careers, art professors can reveal and provide new information on career identity, juggling, change, and identity maintenance. Based on individual semi-structured qualitative interviews with art professors from small liberal arts colleges in New England, this study examines art professors and how they juggle two all-encompassing professional identities, why artists change careers and jobs, and how artists preserve artistic identity when taking on another job. Building on approaches to artistic communities from works by Becker, Giuffre, and Farrell, as well as recent studies of career change, this article demonstrates: (1) what motivates artists to change jobs or careers to becoming a professor and (2) how these art professors maintain their artistic identity and personal practice. Beyond offering data on the potential answers to these two questions, this paper suggests future studies in relation to creativity, professional identity, and career change.

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Stephen J. Ellingson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.