Before deciding whether to get an arts education at an art school or university, young artists should examine whether its right for them. Weigh the good with the bad, and make an intelligent decision.
Art school is certainly not for everyone. Over half of my class ended up dropping out because they found that a fine arts education wasn’t what they expected. I was also disappointed in some ways, but I stuck with it until graduation. I saw that there were many reasons I should finish what I started, and have no regrets for doing so.
Attending an arts college does have many good points. Listed below are some advantages of art school.
If you would like to share your impressions of art school, please do so in the comments.
You may also be interested in this post: Disadvantages of Art School
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Learn new art skills and techniques
Art school should help you to get all the foundational learning to become a full time artist. You should learn principles of design, painting, sculpture and drawing techniques, and working with different mediums.
When leaving art school, there ideally should be good groundwork to focus on certain mediums and techniques, and even develop an individual style.
Art school for myself had a very inspiring affect on me. Art history courses enabled me to learn about art movements and all the artists who came before me. Inspiration also came from seeing the diversity of art from different artists – other students and visiting artists.
The most inspirational part of my college years was my 6 week semester in Harlow England, where we got to tour many landmarks, galleries and museums. We even had a midterm break during that time, when myself and some classmates travelled to Paris and Amsterdam. At Amsterdam we visited the Van Gogh museum, Rembrandt House, etc. Paris was also a place of inspiration, as we visited the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and other locations. If you plan on going to art school, my recommendation is to make sure they offer a similar study term abroad. It will be the highlight of your art school years – especially if you are like me, and haven’t travelled abroad before this.
Learn to be critical
Critical thinking is needed in many professions. This is why an art degree added to a resume can be a great asset to acquiring a job with some companies. By learning how to plan artworks, criticism and analytical thinking, artists learn skills that will help them become independent in their creation of art. They will learn to respond to criticism, and even defend it when necessary.
I enjoyed class critiques, as they helped me to see how others respond to art, and aided in development of critical skills.
Learn some skills for critiquing art from this article: How to Critique Art
Get connections in the art world
Some teachers and staff members could possibly be successful artists (though in my experience, some are failed artists who have gave up art, and turned to teaching). A lot can be learned from a successful artist/ art teacher in a studio environment.
Art universities and colleges often have visiting artists programs. My art school had visiting artists twice a semester. They would visit for a week, give lectures and speak with students during studio time.
Get you experience with art shows
There may be opportunities to have group art shows with the college gallery, and even outside art galleries. College art galleries often hire on students. This can be great experience in learning what is involved in working with an art gallery – especially if you are interested in becoming a curator or opening an art gallery of your own.
Here is an article with some guidelines for organizing an art show: Planning an Art Show
Although art school has many good points, there are some things which you should be aware.
Read some reasons why you might want to avoid an art college in our other article on this subject: Disadvantages of Art School
What is your opinion of art school?
What other advantages do you see for young artists?