While there are many arguments against earning an arts degree, there are those who would prefer to point to its versatility and value. Shannon Langman, an administrator for Ars Lyrica and arts entrepreneur, has built her career on the various facets of her creative identity. After graduating from the Moores School of Music, Langman has gone on to become a professional singer, photographer, writer and teacher.
“In reality, it’s not a steady wage and it’s always a hustle,” Langman said; addressing the pressure that comes not only from managing multiple businesses, but also the need to continue to grow as an artist. Looking for any job is intimidating, but it’s important for arts-alums to be open-minded when evaluating what they might bring to the market.
“[A] degree in any arts can be transferred to multiple areas and areas of expertise; specifically creative problem-solving,” Langman said. “You have to dedicate your time to practicing, making something and putting in the effort and time to make it into what you want it to be without being told exactly what to do; which lends itself to being an entrepreneur.”
Langman, a self-named arts entrepreneur, feels that she’s most well-known for her photography. She considers her work with developing other artists to be the most impactful, and hopes to reveal their authenticity and artistry. When she’s photographing a subject, her goal is to let them experience their image through a different lens.
“[It’s] like letting them realize that what they’re doing is otherworldly; showing them an image that can give them that authentic branding that they communicate with their artistry,” Langman said. “When you’re an artist, you don’t really get to be the audience member… you don’t get to experience your art the way that the audience experiences it.”
Though she started with headshots for professional musicians, Langman’s extended her portfolio to include weddings and family portraits. She’s appeared to have found her niche not only as a photographer, but as someone who helps facilitate the larger arts community.
“I have found a nice spot in arts administration where I feel like I am able to use a lot of my skills on a daily basis in a consistent way,” Langman said of her current role at Ars Lyrica, which she feels is a happy medium between creative and practical.
“I get to collaborate and work as a team with a number of people toward a bigger goal,” Langman said. “It’s been really fulfilling to contribute my skills to something that resonates wider.”
While there’s stability in her current administration role and combination of outlets, Langman’s goal is still to leave her artistic mark; a goal that goes beyond the desire for a steady paycheck. It’s a goal that keeps her working on her craft and vision.
“As far as what I want to accomplish, I just think of legacy and I just want to impress upon this world and this artistic world; that sense of authentic, relaxed, just realness that I try to evoke from the people that I photograph,” Langman said.
“I would like to come to a place where I feel good about being able to be that artist that I now know that I am."
by Erin Davis