Why major in art? Why not just grab a paintbrush, pencil, or chisel and do your thing? The reasons to study art in college are many.
You’ll have the chance to try out new media -- you may enter school as a painter and fall in love with printmaking. You might start out sculpting in clay but discover that wood is your true love. From your teachers, you’ll learn skills and techniques that will help you work more efficiently and consistently. With your peers, you’ll practice the art of critique. And in art history classes, you’ll learn from great masters new and old.
Students in studio arts learn the skills and techniques they need to express themselves as visual artists.
“I've learned how to really look at an object and draw it for what it is, as opposed to just imagining what it is in my head.” Hannah, freshman, art, Mills College
Are You Ready To...?
- Complete a senior project
- Spend money on materials and equipment
- Visit museums and galleries to study other artists
- Display your work in student shows
- Take academic as well as art classes
- Learn the rules even as you break them
- Learn standard techniques as you develop your own style
- Listen to and learn from criticism of your work
- Experiment with a variety of media, from pencil to steel
- Spend hours working alone in the studio
It Helps To Be...
A creative person who wants to try it all. If you’re not ready to commit to any one medium and you love bringing your ideas to life, studio arts could be the major for you.
- Do you need to prepare a portfolio to be accepted into the school or the major?
- Will you earn a B.A. or B.F.A (bachelor of fine arts)?
- Does the program have a particular focus? Does it offer classes in your areas of interest? Does it emphasize traditional work, or does it stress experimental or conceptual art?
- Is there enough studio space for students to get work done?
- How many courses outside the art department will you take? Can you combine your art degree with course work in business, teaching, or another related area?
- Are there any art museums or galleries on or near campus?
- Does the school have strong internship and study-abroad programs?
“Sure, majoring in art is risky. I find that I tend to waver between the extremes of fear and ecstasy constantly … It takes moxie to major in art.” -- Heather, junior, art, Ohio State University
You may get the chance to spend part of your last year working independently in the studio, with the goal of creating work for a final presentation to the public. Expect occasional critiques by teachers and other students along the way.
You’ll do more than create your art, though. You’ll also exercise business and organizational skills as you produce your show. You’ll need to choose a space, manage a budget, and publicize the event. By the time your opening rolls around, you’ll have a taste of what it’s like to be a pro.