Make Your Statement: Find an Audience with Performing Arts

There are many ways to express yourself. While some choose visual arts and music, others choose performing arts, drama, dance or photography. Some colleges or universities may have distinct programs for each of these artistic disciplines, while others may combine them in numerous ways. But what are the differences between these kinds of art, and which are best for you?

  • Drama: Majoring in drama will equip you with the skills necessary to be a capable actor. In addition, you’ll become familiar with the theater production and filmmaking processes.
  • Performing Arts: The performing arts is a broad field, encompassing fields like drama, dance and illusion. The key element to the performing arts is that they are usually performed for a live audience. If you’re interested in studying performing arts, you should inquire about what your program focuses on.
  • Dance: A dance program will build on the fundamentals of human movement and teach you about the numerous forms of dance practiced throughout the world.
  • Photography: Photography differs from the previous programs in that it is a visual art. Studies in photography will teach you how to take pictures, manipulate them and create beautiful images.
Claflin dance students rehearsing

Claflin University

Careers in Drama, Performing Arts, Dance and Photography

Though art forms, all of these disciplines can be done professionally. Other professions benefit from an education in any of these fields and can lead to a healthy career.

  • Graphic Designer: Training in photography usually requires you to become familiar with digital editing software. This knowledge can be leveraged to pursue a career in graphic design, creating images for commercial purposes. While the field is in decline, graphic designers make a good living with a median income of $53,380.
  • Arts Administrator: These professionals direct, organize and conduct various arts programs within their institutions. Museums and cultural organizations are often in need of administrators to help organize artistic events.
  • Talent Agent: As a talent agent, you’ll represent artists, performers and businesspeople in their affairs. Training in the arts can help you better understand the interests and priorities of your clients, as well as the industry they participate in. The demand for talent agents is low, but promises a median income of $98,070.
  • Teacher: Training in the arts gives you valuable skills that you can then impart onto others. Whether as an individual tutor, secondary school teacher or college instructor, you can make a living by helping others develop their talents.

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major?
Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer degrees in drama, performing arts, dance, or photography?
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How to Prepare for Success

Students looking to major in these disciplines should have basic proficiency in the fields. 

Lane College art project

Lane College

UNCF Schools to Consider

Ten UNCF-member schools offer programs for students wishing to work in the fields of drama, performing arts, dance and photography, including:



PPA logo

Professional Organizations

There are many organizations in these disciplines that offer more insight into working in those fields. A sample list includes:


Several scholarships are available through UNCF. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students. The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.

Regional scholarships are also available via UNCF, such as the Gerald Wilkins Memorial Scholarship, available to Georgia residents.

(Please note: UNCF scholarships have opening and closing application times; a scholarship application may not be available when you visit.)

Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are scholarships available to study drama, performing arts, dance and photography.

Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in drama, performing arts, dance, and photography. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!