Maybe you are at a crossroads right now… deciding whether to enroll in an Art School or not. We know this could be one of the most important decisions you need to make that can change the trajectory of your art career.
But no worries, in this article, we will list the benefits and drawbacks, share some pointers about what might help your decision, and outline what to look for in an art school.
Let’s begin with the benefits.
What are the benefits of going to Art School?
Art Schools can be beneficial to both new and experienced artists.
For emerging artists, going to art school can open up many career opportunities. Attending one can also help you realize your artistic style and philosophy.
As an experienced artist, you probably have established your style and art practice already. It could be that you have already identified the one thing you want your audience to catch from your artwork. But attending art school can still widen your artistic world and make way for dimensions you have not yet explored.
Here are some potential benefits of attending art school:
✔️ Skill Enhancement and Continuing Education
Art Schools often have courses that can expose you to various artistic techniques that can further enhance your technical knowledge. You will be introduced to various concepts that may be helpful to the advancement of your art career.
Your learning should never stop, so even if you have many years of experience as an artist, several accomplishments under your belt, and know exactly what you want to achieve, staying up to date with the latest art trends can help you stay relevant in this ever-changing art world.
✔️ Networking and Critiques
Art schools are such an incredible place to connect with fellow artists and network with art experts, alumni, and faculties, which can surely expand your circle of influence. You can get inspiration from the whole community of artists learning together while being exposed to unique approaches to art.
These connections lead to collaborations and exhibits that can advance your career.
Art school is also a place where you can be exposed to different perspectives that can challenge your techniques and push you beyond your artistic limitations in order to grow as an artist.
✔️ Access to Studio Spaces, Resources, and Facilities
Attending art schools can give you access to materials, resources, and equipment that may not be readily available in your usual normal place of work. You will be able to enhance your style and practice your craft while experimenting with different techniques using the resources available in an art school.
Art school is a place where you can get expert advice. The faculty members and teachers can offer you guidance as you realize and go through your artistic journey. These people will willingly share insights and words of wisdom based on their own experiences as artists, which leads to new perspectives you can use to look at your own art as well.
✔️ Portfolio Development and Exposure to Exhibitions
Art schools also organize student exhibitions where students can grow their art portfolio and give them exposure.
If you want to sell art and be a professional artist, this is an extremely helpful experience since you are looking to be featured in galleries or museums in the future.
✔️ Artistic Development and Inspiration
Being in art school can foster your personal development as an artist. During your time attending, you will be able to realize your passions, identify your medium, be exposed to different perspectives and techniques, and grow your artistic abilities.
You will be constantly inspired by the diverse art community that supports and learns from each other.
What are the drawbacks of enrolling in an Art School?
We have previously established the many benefits of joining an art school. But like in many investments (yes, attending an art school is an investment!), there are also potential disadvantages in joining one:
✔️ Cost and Expenses
Art School tuition fee is not cheap and requires huge funds. If students do not have the budget for it, they typically go for student loans and debts, but this is crucial and can impact their career afterwards.
✔️ Time and Dedication
Another important investment you will need to be committed to giving is your precious time. Mastering and learning about something will not take overnight. It requires patience and time commitment.
If you already have an art career before enrolling, then that would mean you need to be less active in your professional practice for a while to be dedicated to art school.
✔️ Personal Autonomy and Flexibility
If you are an artist that is used to managing your own time, then attending art school may be challenging for you as you need to adhere to school prerequisites. Like normal schools, art schools may have specific requirements, assignments, and projects that can limit your creative freedom and personal autonomy.
Before you decide to enroll in an Art School
Joining an art school is a major decision that could impact you and your art career, so it is always recommended to think it through again and again.
Here in this section, we have listed down some things that can help you in your decision-making:
✔️ Identify your vision
It is difficult to navigate your art journey if you do not have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Once a clear vision is identified, think about how essential it is to attend an art school to achieve your goal. If an art school education is necessary for you to achieve your goal, then you may consider it.
✔️ Have a budget
As mentioned in the previous section, art school can be expensive. You want to make sure that before deciding to pursue this path, you are financially ready.
If you are not prepared and do not have the funds for it, you are looking at thousands of dollars in student loans that you may need to repay after you graduate.
✔️ Be ready to critique and be critiqued
Providing, receiving, and implementing feedback are important skills you need to possess and demonstrate in art school. You must first learn not to take critique personally, as it is as important and as basic as learning every skill in art school.
Your work and style will be criticized for sure, but you must keep an open mind and remember that this would help improve your art and prepare you for the challenging world of art business.
What to Look for in an Art School
Truly, there are many great art schools out there, but in looking for that one particular school you want to join, you might want to consider and research more about the following important factors:
Perhaps you want a school that is near your workplace or even home. If this applies to you, then maybe you may want to look for schools that are in proximity to your home or studio. It should be easily accessible if you plan to commute, especially if you do not have a private vehicle.
Also, some students tend to consider the environment of the school. Some people want to see nature, and some want to be enclosed in a building where they can think by themselves and spend some time pondering their inspirations. If you identify yourself in any of the two, then think about where the school is situated.
You want to also research the facilities of the art school. If the art you’re making requires some specific facility and materials, find out if the school can cater to your needs. The facilities also give you an idea if it’s conducive for learning, so it should give off the “vibe” that you think you can be comfortable staying and learning.
✔️ Faculties and Graduates
As for the faculties, you may research who will be the teachers and mentors and their specialization. Also, find out the teacher-to-student ratio and ask yourself if you can work on that approach or teaching style. Some people require a larger class, and some can learn better in small classes.
The graduates can be a determiner of the success rate of the school. If there are successful, well-known, and thriving artists that became the product of that school, then you can add that school to your list.
✔️ Safety and Security
Look for a school that is considered safe and conducive to learning. Find out about the accessibility to emergency services, crime rate percentage, and even the traffic situation.
These are all very basic but can definitely impact your day-to-day situation in school, so it is important that you consider the small things and you are careful and prepared.
There are many things to consider in attending an art school, but at the end of the day, the questions “Is it worth it?” and “Should I go for it?” can only be addressed by YOU.