How to Get Your Art Career Started! An Interview with the Artlink Phoenix Team

Marketing and Communications Intern, Samantha Lass

September 17, 2022

Artlink Logo, black background with white writing that says "Artlink" with a red circle around the word "link"

How would you describe Artlink to folks who may not have heard of your organization before? 

Artlink is a nonprofit arts organization established in 1989. Our mission is to keep the arts integral to development by connecting artists, business and community.

What are your tips for applying to calls for art and how do artists go above and beyond in order to stand out? 

Starting in August, Artlink will be hosting a series of workshops that will focus on getting artists ready for calls. Here are a few tips that make for a solid submission

  • Read the call thoroughly, and then follow the directions accurately, a small omission on an entry can derail a submission.
  • Submit good quality photos of the artwork. Photography that showcases the quality of the artist’s work is critical.
  • When writing a “letter of interest,” it should reflect who they are as an artist and how and why they and their work fit the call’s objectives and needs. Artists should treat this like a cover letter when applying for a job. This is literally the first impression on the reader.

What advice do you have for recent graduates who would like to pursue a career in the art scene but aren’t quite sure how to do so? 

Plain and simple, get involved! There are art communities, organizations, and events students and new grads can join. Artlink’s Mixed Media Happy Hours are a great place to start. Our Mixed Media events are free to attend and are a fun way to connect with artists, curators, city officials, gallerists, etc. Also, exploring internships and volunteering opportunities are additional ways to get a start in the arts.

Artlink’s Articipant program is a powerful tool for beginning or established artists. Once registered as an Articipant, artists can upload their statement, bio, images, website and social media links, as well as accomplishments and activities. Artists’ information is reflected in the Artlink Articipant Directory and on Any visual or performing artists contributing to the arts experience in Arizona can learn more and register to become an Articipant at

What advice would you give an artist trying to showcase their work but are having a difficult time in finding the opportunities to do so?

Register as an Artlink Articipant to stay abreast of current calls to artists! Artists should apply for as many open calls as they can and also research group show options at galleries. Reach out and talk to gallery curators. Exploring art groups on MeetUp and Facebook is another way to meet fellow artists. We recommend artists keep portfolios and submission materials up to date, so as opportunities arise they can quickly respond. Lastly, and most importantly, artists should not get discouraged if they are not selected for an exhibition. All artists go through rejection in some way, shape, or form. It’s an ongoing process and artists must be resilient, keep honing their skills and keep growing from their experiences.

How does a portfolio impact an artist’s ability to gain opportunities and work, and what do you suggest artists that do not have knowledge on how to create a portfolio do? 

Today there are numerous avenues for artists to showcase their work. Having an online portfolio is important, whether it be their own website, a directory like or social media. If your primary portfolio is on social media outlets, make sure it is professional looking and separate from any personal accounts. Artists should explore other artists’ portfolios they like and make notes on how they are representing their work. Above all, good quality images of work is the key to any great portfolio.

What events in the Valley are your favorite for finding new artists, inspiration, and so on?

We are fortunate to have many outstanding events around the Valley throughout the year like Phoenix Festival of the Arts, Tempe Festival of the Arts, Scottsdale Arts Festival, Canal Convergence, and First and Third Fridays. In March, Art Detour is a must do!

The keys to artists gaining more experience and exposure is networking, being prepared and being persistent. Artlink has many resources and programs to help artists be more successful. 

Learn more about all we have to offer, subscribe to our e-newsletter, and get linked at


A very special thanks to the whole Artlink Team for answering my questions and being so collaborative!

Image 1- Artlink Logo from

Image 2- Photo provided by Artlink

Image 3- Photo provided by Artlink