Motivations and Intentionality in the Arts Portfolio Career

An Investigation into How Visual and Performing Artists Construct Portfolio Careers


  • Karen Munnelly Florida State University



portfolio careers, arts entrepreneurship, arts careers, career patterns


Many artists find themselves in the role of an entrepreneur and small business owner as they manage multiple overlapping jobs while engaging in a portfolio career. This research investigates how visual and performing artists construct meaningful portfolio careers and if the portfolio career model minimizes risk. The findings reveal that the majority of respondents view a portfolio career as less secure than a full-time job, but also prefer the portfolio career. A significant amount of their time is spent on creative activity and teaching. Artistic fulfillment, pay, and time commitment are the primary factors artists consider when selecting work.

Author Biography

Karen Munnelly, Florida State University

Karen Munnelly is the Director of Graduate Arts Administration and an Assistant Professor in the College of Music at Florida State University. Prior to her appointment at FSU, Dr. Munnelly served as the Director of Professional Programs at the University of Texas at Austin, where she oversaw Fine Arts Career Services and assisted in implementing a variety of professional development initiatives including an intern scholarship and the minor in arts management and administration. Dr. Munnelly also served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Arts Administration at the University of Kentucky. 

Before pursuing a career in higher education, Dr. Munnelly enjoyed a successful career as an arts administrator. She served as the Director of Operations for the Aspen Music Festival & School, the Artistic & Operations Director for the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Artistic Assistant for the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

Dr. Munnelly’s research centers around career preparation and the arts portfolio career. Her articles appear in the Journal of Arts Management, Law & Society, the American Journal of Arts Management and Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts

Dr. Munnelly received the Ph.D. in Arts Administration, Education & Policy from The Ohio State University, the Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Florida State University and the Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from the University of South Florida.

Large artist studio with natural light, busy with maker materials.




How to Cite

Munnelly, K. (2022). Motivations and Intentionality in the Arts Portfolio Career : An Investigation into How Visual and Performing Artists Construct Portfolio Careers. Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, 11(1).