One of the major reasons why people choose to study art is simply because of the fact it is a broad subject which encapsulates many peoples’ passions. It can be tempting to think of art at a school of art as static, a subject which only delves into the world of life drawing and painting. Before deciding to study at an art school, it can be extremely helpful to understand the different kinds of art programs available to you within an art education.
What Are the Different Types of Art Programs?
There are many different ways of defining art, but the general definition usually includes a division along three main categories. The first two, visual arts and performing arts, include everything from interior architecture to playwriting. The third, literature, tends to be less present in most arts schools – which is why we will be focusing on the first two.
While there is a lot of interdisciplinary work that occurs between these three branches, it can be helpful to understand the characteristics that makes generalizations between them possible.
The traditional definition of fine art is both an activity that requires a fine skill, as well as one that concerns itself with the creation of “beautiful objects.” What is typical of many definitions of fine arts is that very rarely do they mention any specific subjects – and that is because the fine arts actually cover a large swath of subjects.
While fine arts normally calls up images of lecture-based art theory courses or classes in ceramics – it can also include everything from music to painting.
Getting a master or bachelor degree of fine arts means that you will have access to a diverse array of art programs. Here are some ideas of some fields that you can specialize in and can help you narrow down your future college of art:
- Art design
- Drawing and Painting
- Studio arts
- Digital media
The beautiful aspect of studying the fine arts is that you will actually be able to find a school of the arts that specializes in the particular subjects you’re interested in within the art world. Students who are drawn to fashion will be able to find an art center that includes a design program, while students who have an interest with metalsmithing will be able to find both plenty of scholarships and colleges at their disposal.
Talking about specializing in a subject – you’ll often find that studying the arts will allow you to specialize in a way that many fields don’t allow. One of the most popular examples of this, and the choice amongst many young artists, is film school. While film school can include traditional subjects like screen writing, editing and other technical skills – it can also extend to cover subjects for students who are interested in animation.
Some programs that might be worth checking out if you’re interested in what film school can offer you are:
- Computer animation
- Film and television production
- Game art
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Interested in curatorial work? Or perhaps the world of museums, art auctions galleries interests you? Art History is one of the specializations within the art world that many people – both artistically inclined or not – end up taking up. Visual art, fine arts performing arts – any discipline within art will always be influenced by the financial and curatorial movements of the art world.
The study of these movements aren’t only found in an academy of art or art institute, but can also be found in many liberal arts programs around the world. Art History is a field as broad as any, which makes it equally as important to figure out which moment – neoclassicalism, baroque – captures your attention the most.
Types of Careers for Art students
Whether you have received a design education, have a master of fine arts, or are simply curious about what kind of career opportunities will be available to you if you choose to study an art program, here are some of the most common jobs.
Whether you’ve graduated from a university of the arts or have received a liberal arts degree, arts administration is an interdisciplinary field involving art and subjects like business, finance and history.
Some examples of the kinds of work you’d be doing as an arts administrator are:
- Running a center of the arts
- Curating museum work
- Selling artwork at auctions or galleries
- Involved in an art NGO
If you have gone to a school of the arts, or have simply developed your artwork on your own, displaying your pieces in an exhibition or in galleries can be a lucrative and rewarding job. Many art programs and art colleges do a good job of preparing their students for this type of work because it requires a constant output of artwork from its students.
Keep in mind that there is a large percentage of artists who cannot afford to support themselves on their artwork alone, so be sure to have a couple of secondary career ideas in mind
If you have a arts degree for fine arts, or have graduated from a fashion and design school, you might be interested in starting your own business. In fact, many of the art programs you will find at both a school of design or an art college will give you the tools to coordinate your creativity with your passion for business.
Some examples of the kinds of businesses or organizations you will be able to start with your arts degree are:
- Jewellery store
- Owning a film production company
Top Schools for Art Students
If you’re interested in exploring where your creativity can take you, you’re also probably wondering which college of art and design will be best for you. There are many factors to consider when trying to discern the best art and design programs for you, including the price of tuition, the quality of university art, and career opportunities.
Studying art is notorious for the financial struggles its been known to but artists in. However, like any degree, with enough preparation, you will be able to find many scholarships and grants that are geared towards helping students in need. Whether you’re pursuing a degree in visual art like painting and life drawing or want to go to a design school, looking into these programs will be vital if you’d like to relieve some of the burdens of tuition for your college of art.
As a prospective student, studying art will enable you to choose from a wide array of art schools both in the UK and abroad. Here are some of the best British universities, as well as universities with the possibility of admitting you as an international student, organized by subject and world region.
- Arts University Bournemouth – like many other art schools, you will find a range of cross-disciplinary programs here. While being known for producing award-winning films, they offer programs in performance design as well..
- University of Sheffield – if you’re looking to study architecture for a masters or bachelors degree in the UK, you might want to start by checking this university out. It’s been voted as the best place to study the subject in Britain.
Universities in Asia
If you’re looking to study abroad, either for a semester or for a four year program, check out these schools:
- Seoul National University, Korea
- National University of Singapore, Singapore
North American Universities
The Americas have always been a popular destination of students looking for a study abroad experience. Two schools with reputable art programs are:
- Rhode Island School of Design, United States
- Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico
How To Start Building A Portfolio
Whether you’re an undergraduate, looking to get a position as an artist in residence, or simply want to get some of your student work at an exhibition or in galleries – building a portfolio is at once the most important and hardest part of applying to jobs and art programs.
If you were to talk to many alumni or art educators, you are likely to hear some common advice when it comes to building a portfolio. The first step you should take, if you haven’t already, is to get organized – advice that will continue to be true long after you become an art teacher, head your own exhibit or even take a position as a provost.
Start organizing your work by selecting only the work by picking a method by which to categorize your studio art, digital media, performances or paintings. Some common ways in which people do this are:
- Chronological order – from your first work to your latest
- Thematic order – based on a certain subject, move or motif
- Progression of a specific project
- A combination of the three
The next step in building any portfolio is to be selective. Many of the job opportunities, positions to lead workshops, and admissions programs have a limited number of art works that they will allow artists to include in their portfolio. While every art piece might seem like it’s an important testament to your journey, make sure to only include the pieces that fit with the narrative you would like to tell.