10 Reasons to Attend an Art School

Dirty paint tubes and containers.

Matteo X via Flickr

If you’re an aspiring artist, an art school might be the place for you. Typical majors found at art schools include Animation, Graphic Design, Painting, Photography, and Sculpture, just to name a few. Art schools that are members of the non-profit consortium called the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) not only teach art, but also have a curriculum with full liberal arts and science requirements.

While some artistic careers do not require a degree, that doesn’t mean that spending the time and money to acquire one is useless. Art schools offer a ton of benefits for future career artists, even if they already have the skills they need.

Here are ten reasons to consider attending an art school.

1. Experienced art professors

Most art professors don’t just teach their mediums; they are artists themselves. In addition to teaching, many art professors are accomplished in their field and have had their art displayed publicly.

Art is a very personal endeavor. But, professors can help students refine their skills and avoid difficulties that some young artists might have in the field.

2. Professional and personal mentors

Art professors can serve as great mentors to their students. In addition, the large network of alumni at art schools gives students the opportunity to connect with former students in the field they are studying.

Mentoring relationships can help students discover their weaknesses, enhance their strengths, and learn how to market their skills. Because art can often be a very difficult career path, it can be invaluable to receive advice from people who have been successful.

3. Structured environment

The structured environment an art school can provide to art students can be a great way for students to keep up their motivation. In addition, learning some art skills could take years on your own. However, art schools help students learn the skills much quicker with the help of other classmates and expert professors.

4. Access to equipment

Art schools typically have state-of-the art (no pun intended) equipment students are able to use during their academic career. Students would have difficulty finding all of the equipment on their own that is easily accessible to students at the art schools.

For students whose art does not require a lot of equipment, art schools give them the opportunity to experiment with other mediums.

5. Studio space

Art schools have spaces all over their campuses for students to produce their art, whatever their art may be. Art schools can offer individual studios for students, as well as group studio areas. Studio spaces allow artists to focus on their work away from the distraction of the outside world.

6. Community

Artists will tell you having a peer group of other artists will keep you motivated. The students who attend art school are serious about their art and having other serious artist around you will help you to stay productive and creative. Surrounding yourself with other artists can lead to new ideas, constructive criticism, and a great camaraderie among classmates.

7. Exposure

Art schools hold art shows on a regular basis and students have the opportunity to showcase their artwork alongside other students and their professors. Art schools are known for the wonderful artwork they produce and since they are open to the public, they can become very popular events. Student art can be seen by anyone, including art critics, art collectors, and employers seeking future employees.

8. Networking opportunities

Art school students attend workshops and lectures, meet with visiting artists, and participate in extracurricular activities that bring them into contact with other artists. By the time art school students graduate, they will have had the opportunity to meet with numerous individuals in the art and design world. These connections can lead to art showcases, job opportunities, and career advancement.

9. Internship and job opportunities

Professional artists, art-related organizations, and corporate art-related departments seek out art students when trying to fill positions. Art schools are known for teaching great technique and the students’ portfolios are usually easy to spot when making hiring decisions. Many art schools also offer career centers that can help students find employment after graduation.

10. Learn other useful skills

A common misconception is that art schools only teach arts. While art is the core of the education, many art schools teach other great skills that can be used in students’ future careers. For students who are planning on being career artists, many will still need to know how to market their work, price their art, and even run a small business.

Students who enter employment in an art-related field may need other skills such as public speaking and writing skills for presenting their work or critical thinking skills for brainstorming new ideas. Art schools can teach all of these other skills, as well as other skills needed in the business world.

Art schools offer a unique learning experience for students serious about the arts. They provide a focused education on the arts that may not be found at other colleges and provide an environment conducive to producing art, which is something many students find helpful in their educational career.

The benefits of an art school are great, but some or all of these benefits could potentially be found at institutions with Schools of Art and/or Design within a larger institution. Therefore, students should do their research on the different types of colleges to ensure they find the college that is the best fit for them.

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