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Draw Up a Career with a Art School

Ever wondered where great artists made their start? Claude Monet tried out a prestigious art school, decided it wasn't for him, and left to attend an inexpensive art institution instead. For Andy Warhol, it was an education at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Salvador Dali attended art school in Spain, but got kicked out and never finished.

There is a common misconception that serious artists need to try to get into the best art conservatory or a small liberal arts college that offers a significant art program. Today, there are plenty of art schools offering programs that don't necessarily have long waiting lists. Major universities may provide art courses taught by renowned professors, online classes may provide other options and community colleges may be the key to creativity and success.

Points to ponder when choosing an Art school

The art program that fits a specific artist can be as unique as an individual's work. But there are a few schools that could be better for you than others. Here are some points to consider that may help you to distinguish between the offerings:

  1. Look at the faculty. Learning from an esteemed instructor can help an artist find their true potential. Schools that employ working artists or those who have seen a measure of fame can offer a unique perspective on the art world and possibilities after college.
  2. What degrees are offered? There are numerous paths to an education for an artist. Certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, and graduate degrees are all popular offerings at many schools. The degree offered might vary depending upon the specialization of study.
  3. What is the class size? In many cases, smaller classes allow for more interaction with instructors and peers. Larger classes could occur for lecture courses and the like, but there should be smaller options for hands-on work.
  4. Space and technology matter. What kind of facilities does the college offer? Are they top-of-the-line and modern, or older with dated equipment? Look for schools that have ample studio space and up-to-date computer technology.
  5. Look at the graduates. What have former students have done since graduation? Does the school boast any famous names on the alumni wall?
  6. Focus on the medium. The world of art is vast with a wide variety of mediums to choose from. Does the school allow students to specialize in their chosen art form? A school that offers great sculpture courses might not be a top choice for those who want to focus on watercolors.
  7. What about location? Schools in large cities offer access to museums and art galleries, but schools in small towns can offer plenty of perks as well, including smaller class sizes and a laid-back atmosphere. Art courses through online schools can offer even more options, especially for those working artists who want to keep their day job while they pursue their dream.
  8. Is the price right? Let's face it: The portrayal of a "starving artist" didn't come out of thin air. Most students find it important to attend a school that fits into their budget. Compare the cost of tuition at various schools, including the price for books and supplies, before deciding on the institution you want to attend. Look for opportunities for grants, scholarships and the like.
  9. Is the school accredited? Accreditation means a school meets the standards of a quality education, as determined by the accrediting body. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design has accredited approximately 300 schools with programs in art and design.
  10. How does it feel? An artist who feels at home in their surroundings could be more productive and creative. If the school doesn't feel right, then it's probably not the right one.

Beyond the brush: Making a living as an artist

Salaries may vary wildly depending upon the type of employment. Some artists who are well-established find that they may make a good living by selling their art while others may need to find additional ways to make ends meet.

Fortunately, earning an art degree may open the door to many professions. Those into fine drawing could pursue a career in courtroom sketching. Painters may begin instructing classes out of a studio or even at a senior home. Sculptors could work for architectural and landscape firms providing insight into interior and exterior pieces or even designing and creating new work. An art degree may advance your training in your field while your creativity, hard work and talent help you stay on focus.