advantages of art schools 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

painting 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.


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Learn to be critical

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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.


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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?

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  1. Great article as usual. I did not enjoy my experience at a graphic design university, but in all fairness to the education I believe it was because I did not want to be a graphic artists, but a fine artist instead.

    After almost ten years of being out of school, I am back in the thicke of it actually working to become an art teacher, and work on my art on the side. I want to become an art teacher not because I think I may fail as an artist, but because so many people in my live discouraged me from being an artist, saying that you could never make a living with it. My goal as an art teacher would be to inspire young artists to follow their passion and never doubt themselves as an artist like I have.

    1. That's a very respectable goal! I've heard the same.. "you will never make a living with it" ... many times... as I'm sure many who are reading have. Thank-you Jason!

  2. My experience in art school in the early 1980s was mostly good, but like you, I didn't receive any career advice. The business of being an artist and possible career choices such as teaching, graphic artist, etc., were never discussed. Another problem was that there was a strong bias towards large abstract paintings and conceptual art, and I was more interested in representational art. I was discouraged from doing plein air painting, because they looked down on that. Years later, learning plein air painting helped me improve greatly. Most of the painting professors were abstract artists, and although they were good at teaching basic color theory, composition, and creative concepts, I had to teach myself so much more after finishing college. This was before there were so many plein air workshops. Now, beginner artists who with to learn representational painting, whether traditional or contemporary-style, have many available workshop choices as an alternative to art school.

    1. Thanks Sharon.. a pleasure to have you here!

      I've had the same experience with bias toward certain types of art. And you are right, there are many other (and less expensive) alternatives to art school.

  3. College/school is CERTAINLY not for everyone, I can attest to that!! But you need to learn the basics of design!! A good community college teacher can teach you that if you can't afford or don't want to leave the area, for what ever reason! Then you can take off from there with your own talents!!! They can't take that away from you!!!

  4. Very cool article, I thought about the advantages of art school. I just could study there, but unfortunately not. And now I have a harder time, because in a regular school there are completely different tasks. But well this site find more here helps me in writing essay. I think without him it would be more difficult for me to study in such a school. SO it was necessary to find an art school for yourself.

  5. I also thought a lot about whether I should make my hobby the main source of income, whether I should get a special education, but I decided that I still want to go to the university and it was the best decision. It became a source of inspiration and criticism for me, I even learned to be critical to what I was doing. I'm very grateful to that they helped me with a motivational letter, without them I wouldn't be able to understand all the correctness of the choice. Come on! You'll love it!

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  7. I've been thinking of getting a second formal degree for a while now, but I'm 26 already and I'm not sure if it's okay to finish my studies when I'm 30. I really grateful for this article and for all the support I received from my friends and writing experts from Graphic design has been my hobby for over a year now, I even had one commercial project which I can now use as a portfolio. Formal education is still important, I can't just work as designer with a degree in Psychology. So, I'm applying to School of the Art Institute in Chicago this year, I do hope that it won't be a wasted time. As a certified psychologist, I'm wishing everybody here to pursue your dreams, otherwise you won't be happy. Much love and happiness to everyone!


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