A degree in studio art prepares you to be a professional artist.
Generally, visual artists fall into two categories – “graphic artists” and “fine artists” – depending on the artist’s purpose in creating a work of art. Graphic artists put their artistic skills and vision at the service of commercial clients, such as major corporations, retail stores, advertising, design, or publishing firms. Fine artists create art for their own reasons and may display their work in art galleries, public spaces, museums and homes. Some of their work may be done at the specific request of clients — whether private individuals, corporate clients, or a public commissioning body. Fine artists work independently, choosing their mediums and subject matters as they see fit. Often, they specialize in one or more forms of art, i.e. painting, sculpting, or printmaking. Some artists make a living from selling their work at galleries or craft fairs, some earn their living primarily from large scale public art commissions, and in many instances visual artists work in more commercially connected endeavors, while pursuing their “fine arts” goals.
Graduates of our program have gone on to do such things as produce and sell works of art, operate art galleries, work as graphic designers, illustrators or photographers, or do creative work for the film, television and advertising industries. Some work as art teachers or art therapists. Some go on to teach at the college level ( with an MFA degree)
A degree in Art Education prepares you to teach art. With the completion of the requirements for state certification ( see university catalogue for details), you will be qualified to teach in the public schools. Some of the other opportunities for Art Education majors include: teaching at community art centers and after-school programs, teaching senior citizens. There are also jobs which don’t involve teaching, such as working in educational program development, working with textbook or children’s book publishers, recreational program development. Some of our graduates have gone on to teach at the college level (with an MFA degree) or work as art therapists.
A degree in Art History will immerse you in the study of the history and theory of art, rather than the making of it. Art is the expression of a culture; therefore, you will also learn about the politics, economics, religion and literature of the place and time where it was created. The study of Art History will also develop your skills of visual knowledge and discrimination.
Some of the wide variety of jobs that Art History students have gone on to fill include: museum work ( curatorial, education department, collection cataloguer, exhibition installation, conservation), publishing, art librarian/curator of visual resources, art critic, working in an art gallery or auction house, being a curator of a corporate collection, art law, artist’s representative, consultant to arts organizations, antiquarian book/print dealer.
Some students trained in Art History, knowing they have an eye for art and design, but lacking the interest in pursuing a career as an artist, use art history to hone their intellectual abilities in art for careers in media, advertising, publishing, fashion or design. Another path for historians is art therapy, working with handicapped or disabled people. There is a trend toward providing additional training and certification for this specialty. Others move into careers in business, government and other non-profit organizations.
Many careers do not require a specific major but rather a wide range of demonstrated skills and accomplishments. Regardless of career choices, increasing one’s marketability to employers through internships, responsible work experience, good grades and involvement in college activities is important. A bachelor’s degree is sufficient for many entry level positions, but for advancement in an area of specialization, an advanced degree may be required.
Link: Career Alternatives for Art Historians, by Charles M. Rosenberg, of Notre Dame University.
Students who wish to teach art at the college level, or become scholars of Art History will go on to graduate school, seeking the MFA (studio art) or the MA or PhD in Art History. Graduate school is recommended but not always necessary for those interested in being professional “fine” artists.
Successful characteristics of studio artists would be: creativity, self-discipline,ambition, openness to new experience, and communication skills. Creative people do not mind the messiness of their work and do not mind making mistakes. Creative people have the ability to sustain a high level of “ambiguity” which means they do not mind being lost at times. They have an ability to risk more, to enjoy the process of their work and are not results-driven. The successful Art Education student combines the skills above with an interest in working with people.
Art History students often have the following qualities: attention to detail, a strong visual and aesthetic sense, self discipline, organization skills, writing skills, critical thinking, research and communication skills.
Studio majors have the option of pursuing either the BA or the BFA degree.
The BA degree has a total of 124 hours, including 44 hours in Art, about 66 hours of college and university core classes, and 18-21 hours of electives, which may be in art or in other departments.
The BFA degree, by contrast, requires 128 total hours, with 84 hours of art credits and 44 hours of university and college core. What this means is that as a BFA you take twice as much art/art history. If you are planning to become a professional artist or go on to graduate school in art, then this is the degree for you. BFA students take fewer math, language and science courses than BA students.