Art School: Should You Go or No?

I am a day late for Day 7 in the Feel Good Blogging Challenge, which today’s topic is about controversy, but I had a good reason to be late because of homework. School comes first, which brings me to my topic: should you go to art school?

Full disclosure: I’m studying at an art school. I choose to go back to school now because I was unhappy in my day job. I was making art on the side and the idea of studying art full-time seemed like the right thing to do. I do enjoy being a student and I am challenged enough to get out of my comfort zone. But did I need to go back to school to study art when I was already a self-taught artist?

Postsecondary school is very expensive. Tuition rises every year and statistics show that it is difficult for young people to find employment in their field after they graduate. The chances of finding work, especially in the field of art as an artist, is substantially harder. Gone are the days when you can find a patron who can support you. Getting representation from a gallery is incredibly competitive. Art doesn’t always pay well, and many people resort to doing it as a side business because it’s hard to make money from it. Plus, all of the elitism that surrounds art school and the art world is enough to roll your eyes and cry out, “Pleeeeeeeeaaaassse! It’s JUST art!”

Perhaps you’re thinking that art school is a bad decision.

Well, not necessarily. The experience of going to art school offers students with new possibilities of methods, practices, thoughts, and ideas that they have never heard of or even imagined. If I had never gone to art school, I don’t think I would have been exposed to certain types of sculpture or textile arts, two mediums I’m fascinated with. The experience has given me room to experiment is see what others have done, and it’s all very inspiring.

I’m not keen about graduating with debt but I’ve made peace with that. I had no other choice if I wanted a postsecondary education. Debts can be paid off at a reasonable level over time.

Art school gives you critiques, which you need. As a self-taught artist, I was constantly seeking out advice and feedback for my work. I got compliments and praise but they were all positive. No one told me a negative thing, or at least not in a constructive way. This is bad because how am I supposed to grow as an artist if I don’t hear criticism?

But going to school is a personal thing. If you feel like you can do without it, go ahead and good luck. But if you feel like you want more than just learning about art, like experience and camaraderie, then go. Trust me, just go.

OK, that was my last post. Now back to more homework.


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