As you navigate your professional and personal goals, the concept of art school might be an option.
In a time when there is so much emphasis placed on education as a determinant for your career goals, art school can get lost in the abyss.
Attending art school provides unique opportunities to master your craft, develop professionally, and become open-minded thinkers and leaders.
Art school teaches you to think in profound new ways that simply cannot be replicated by any other genre of education.
Keep reading for more reasons art school is worth it, and then find out more about how to choose the best art school for you.
Is Art School Worth It? (10 Reasons It Is)
1. You Will Learn From Experienced Art Professors
Many art school professors are not simply teachers, but they are also artists themselves.
They are often very accomplished artists who have received awards and had their art published or displayed publicly in galleries and exhibitions.
An added benefit to this is that art school professors who create their own art also know how to navigate the art world.
They know how to curate portfolios and share work to ensure it gets noticed.
It is extremely useful to have an art school professor who works in the field.
Professors help students refine their skills and avoid challenges that young artists may have.
College art students are at a pivotal stage in their art career, that is greatly molded by the experienced and talented professors they have.
This is something that will greatly benefit any student who is an aspiring artist.
Students who want to become artists but do not go to art school lose out on the benefit of these highly experienced professionals and teachers.
2. You Will Gain Professional And Personal Mentors
Art is deeply personal.
Often, when students are given an assignment in art school, they have to look back on personal experiences, artistic muses, and of course, course guidelines.
Art is very introspective and often encourages students to confront internal struggles.
Art professors know that an education in art is much different from any other kind, and they are prepared to act as mentors for their students.
Not only do the professors act as mentors, but so does the vast alumni community.
Previous students develop a kinship with all students who come after, who are going through the same character-confronting experience they had.
Art school alumni have an especially unique passion for their students and are there to act as personal and career mentors for their students.
Mentors can help students harness their strengths, improve weaknesses, and perfect their marketability as future artists.
The art world can certainly be a trying career path, so mentorship from alumni and professors is invaluable.
3. Try Your Hand At Different Equipment
One of the best aspects of art school is that it gives students the creative liberty to make their art using specialized tools and resources.
Art schools have top-of-the-line instruments and mediums for creating works of art.
Students can experiment with different types of paints, clay, and pencils.
As a result, they may find new avenues for artistic exploration, and may even discover new passions.
Students who come in as painters may become sculptors or even glass blowers.
Art school provides limitless resources for students to try their hand at a variety of crafts.
One student reported going to art school as an illustration major but later changed to Industrial Design after being exposed to different mediums.
With all this access to equipment, you are expected to devote a lot of time using it.
On average, art school students work on their craft for 50 to 60 hours per week.
It is a lot of work, but practice makes perfect.
You will really learn to hone your skills and become a master at your craft.
You will also learn to be a disciplined artist which is one of the most important characteristics that a career artist can have.
You will learn to find inspiration quickly and efficiently and then transform that external or internal stimulus into something to be viewed and admired.
4. You Will Have Your Own Studio Space
One of the defining features of an art school is the studio space.
Each student gets an area that is devoted to his/her art creations.
It is a place for students to spread out, use large materials, lay out their ideas, and create art without worrying about cleaning up or making room for others.
The studio space is every art school student’s safe space.
Art schools typically offer group studio spaces as well, where students can collaborate with others and share ideas.
The studio space is a place for students to focus on their work without facing the distractions of the outside world.
A lot of times, art studios are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This is great for night owls, whose inspiration may strike late at night.
It also gives you a chance to work on your art at times when other students might not be there if you prefer to work in peace.
5. You Will Join A Supportive, Inspiring Community
There is really nothing like an art school community.
Since art is so personal and requires students to be introspective in creating their works, students get to know each other very quickly.
They spend a lot of time together while working on projects outside of class, and therefore, they become each other’s support system.
The art school community is usually like-minded in that they have chosen to focus on the arts rather than majoring in science, technology, engineering, or medicine like many of their career-driven peers.
Art school is much less competitive than other cutthroat programs, which creates a supportive environment for students to thrive.
Art school is all about sharing ideas, so students are automatically joining a community of knowledge-sharing and inspiration from all avenues.
6. Your Art Will Get Public Exposure
Along with becoming disciplined artists, students in art school also gain a lot of exposure for their work.
Art schools frequently hold art shows where students have the chance to showcase their most prized pieces.
These shows are open to the public and are often frequented by gallery owners, museum curators, interior designers, art critics, art collectors, and many others in the art world.
Such events give students more confidence in showing their work to the public, and they also gain important connections with potential employers and buyers.
When they display a variety of pieces, students may also learn what types of art the public enjoys.
Then, they can use this information to fine-tune and expand on their work to make it even more marketable in the future.
Art shows are critical because they show students that becoming a successful artist is just as much about your personality as it is about creating art.
For better or worse, a lot of art is sold because of the name attached to the piece.
Part of their art is how they mingle with the public and the image they created as a result.
When you work at an art show, you get the chance to show people not only your art but also your personality.
It is great practice in creating the persona you aspire to as a career artist.
7. You Will Have A Lot Of Networking Opportunities
Art schools are devoted to giving their students a varied and diverse education.
They invite guest speakers and hold workshops so that students can meet other artists and learn new skills.
Afterward, students have the chance to ask questions or network with career artists.
Over the course of four or more years, students get the chance to meet many people in the art world and make connections that can lead to art shows, professional opportunities, and jobs.
Along with the professional opportunities that can come with networking, you will receive feedback on your work from successful artists, which is extremely important in developing further.
8. There Are Many Internships And Job Opportunities
An important feature of art schools is that they try to set students up for success after graduation.
They hold events for professional artists, organizations, and corporations to visit the school and recruit students for jobs.
In art school, students are encouraged to make portfolios that they can show to potential employers and interested clients.
This makes it easy for people to analyze each student’s style and determine if he/she is a good fit for the job.
Sometimes, recruiters are not always directly connected to the art world.
They may work in marketing or social media, where art and style are used to create aesthetic interfaces.
Students have tons of opportunities during art school to network with people from different career paths and try their hand at various summer internships, to truly decide what they want to do after college.
Most students who end up in an art-related job after college will have been turned on to it by professors, peers, or guests at their art school.
If working in the art world is important to you, there is no doubt that art school is worth it.
9. You Will Learn To Think In New Ways
This is one of the most important features of a college education.
University has recently become very career-centric and focuses less on the arts, which is unfortunate because art school gives people an education on humanity.
Students learn how philosophy, religion, history, and personal experience can be channeled into the arts.
They then can create their own manifestations of interesting ideologies.
Students are challenged to go beyond rational thinking and delve into the abstract.
They study philosophers like Nietzsche and Aristotle, artists like René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, and Picasso.
All these artists inspire abstract thinking that allows students to expand their minds and create their unique styles.
10. You Will Learn Other Useful Skills
Though some may believe that art school only teaches the arts, that is far from true.
Art education teaches students art, but it also teaches them about everything surrounding the field.
For example, students learn about the history of art, contemporary social movements that continue to influence artists, and importantly, how to market themselves professionally and exhibit business acumen in the art world.
This is especially important for students who want to become career artists.
You will need to know how to establish a social media presence, create a website, monitor revenue and expenses, and learn accounting skills.
How To Pick A Good School
Now that you know why art school is worth it, you might be wondering how to pick the college that is right for you.
Here are five tips for narrowing down your options.
1. Choose A School Whose Values Align With Yours
If you are an open-minded, free-spirited type of student, you should choose a school with similar values.
If you are religious and want to focus on learning about and creating faith-based art, look for schools that have religious affiliations.
By choosing a school whose values and interests align with your own, you will naturally get more involved in your education and find it more rewarding and fulfilling.
2. Go To An Open House
One of the best ways to really get a feel for a school is to attend an open house and information session.
In open houses, you can walk around the campus, mingle with current students, and try to imagine yourself attending that place.
If you walk around the school grounds feeling inspired and excited to create, that school might be the one for you.
An added benefit of open houses is that you can sometimes request to attend a professor’s lecture where you can sit at the back and observe.
This allows you to put yourself in the shoes of a student at that school and see what it is really like to learn from the faculty there.
Some questions to ask yourself during the lecture might be, is the class engaging?
Do students get a lot of creative liberty?
Where does the teacher point students to draw inspiration from?
3. Choose A School That Takes Pride In Its Art Department
When deciding on a school, make sure you are choosing a place that is proud of its art.
Unfortunately, many schools put their arts programs on the back burner to allow room for business, law, and science—majors for which they might receive greater endowments or more students.
If you choose a school that has an art school in addition to other types of programs, be sure that the school places a lot of value on its artistic pursuits.
Keep an eye out for guest speakers and workshops that might take place there, as this can be an indicator that the school is working hard to benefit its art students.
Another option to consider is attending a school that is solely a school of the arts, so it will not split its attention with other academic pursuits.
4. Consider The Cost
Art schools can carry a hefty price tag.
If you know the career path you want to follow, look up the average salary and compare that to the cost of the school you are considering.
Of course, you should also consider the opportunities you will have at different schools.
Sometimes, schools are more expensive because they allocate more funding to their art departments and therefore will offer more opportunities for artistic experimentation and professional networking.
Some schools’ costs are associated with their reputation.
This is another thing to consider—if the reputation of the school will affect your job prospects after graduation.
Though paying for school might seem like a far-off idea that will not happen for at least four years, student loan repayment is a reality.
You want to make sure you are not setting yourself up for financial instability by choosing an expensive school that will not help you secure a high-paying job.
5. Take A Look At The Curriculum
If you ask an academic advisor or current student for a sample curriculum, they will likely show you a variety of classes that are required, and then those that are specific to a major in addition to electives.
It is extremely important to look at this because you will see how the school will prepare you for your post-college career.
It is important to choose a program that incorporates business acumen because this will be crucial to your success as a career artist.
You will also want to look at your opportunities to try different types of art, especially if you are undecided and want to experiment with a variety of mediums.
If you are interested in taking courses outside of the school’s program, you will want to check how much time you will realistically have to do that, bearing in mind that art courses can carry a heavy course load and require a lot of time outside of the classroom.
Art school is a unique place where students can fine-tune their skills, become inspired by classmates and professors, showcase their work to the public, and learn the skills necessary to begin a post-college career.
In art school, students learn to not only be better artists but also students of the human experience as they learn to transform psychosocial and cultural factors into masterpieces.
When choosing a school, prospective students should bear in mind the program’s values in addition to the campus “vibe,” school spirit, cost, and curriculum.
All in all, art school is worth it—even if you do not pursue a career in the arts—because it will expand your mind and inspire new methods of perception.