Kirsten Nicholas  11 Jul, 2016   Stories, art buying, Art-Ed, art education, art school, art selling, art trends, artist, Brooklyn, contemporary art, Design, design trends, Installation, New York City, Painting, hospitality design, Hotel, independent artists, Indiewalls, interior design, New York, NYC, op-ed, opinion

“Art school gives you other precious gifts: Time, tools and resources to actually make art. You have many opportunities to experiment with different media and different techniques. Many students develop important relationships with teachers who become mentors, and with other talented students.”

~Luann Udell

 Header Image: "Formes" by Danielle Siegelbaum

Go for... the resources

students.” ~Luann Udell


Go for… the intense focus


Michelle Kaufman's "City Soul"


“I was at art school from 1991 - 1994 and had the time of my life. It was the only time I spent purely on my practice not thinking about bills, working and the future and what it held. It was such a luxury and very valuable.”

~ Julie Read, Portfolio Oomph



Go for... the inspiration


Vesna Milinkovic's “Composition 8914”


“Going to art school is still the right choice because hopefully there will be that one teacher that will inspire you for life, and that will change everything – open your eyes, show how much fun life can be when you find your talent and enjoy what you do.”

~Marina Willer, Graphic Designer and Pentagram Partner in this article



Go for... the community


Elisabeth Fredriksson's “Pebble Spirits”


“Art school also allows you to immerse yourself in a community that supports art. If you come from a family or environment that’s baffled (or even threatened) by your artistic attempts, this immersion can be powerful stuff. You may feel like you’ve finally found ‘your people.’”

~Luann Udell

“Strong community is very important for artists. Sharing ideas, finding inspiration, receiving critical feedback -- these things don't happen in a vacuum. The best artists over the generations have always worked in a strong community. An MFA program is a way to build community, immerse yourself in the dialogue and history, and set aside a couple years for intense focus. I think there are a lot of ways to be an artist, but an MFA program is a solid way to get your career going.”

~ Christopher Mueller



Go for… the training


Dan Bina's “Class”


I just graduated with an MFA in photography and I am very happy with my choice. In the program I learned so much and my work improved tremendously. It was challenging, but totally worth it. When I look at how much I have improved I know I made the right choice.

~ Ana V. Ramirez,



Don’t go for... the debt


“Boss” by Stavros Damos


“Think long and hard whether you’re willing to pay student loan companies every single month for the next 10 years. You don’t have to go to college to be an artist. Not once have I needed my diploma to get a job. The education is all that matters. The work that you produce should be your sole concern.”

~ Noah Bradley, environmental artist on Medium



Don’t go... to only have credentials


Natasha Kohli's “Say What”


“I've never heard of someone coming into an art gallery and saying ‘Do you have anything by an RA?’ As a frequent juror, I can assure you that letters cut no ice with me. Art is greater than letters.”

~Robert Genn SFCA in this post



Don’t go for... business training


Elliott Kaufman's "Runners"


“An artist has to learn how to sell in order to make a living. This requires action and real life knowledge of the dynamic world around us. I’m skeptical that the information I continue to learn about social media, web, technology, marketing and sales is something that is offered at art school. If it is, it's probably out of date. The landscape changes fast each day. These are a whole other skills set that an artist needs.”

~Sheila Tan, Funky Portrait



Don’t go for... the practical


Monika Strigel's “Suit No Tie”


“Go to art school if you have a huge scholarship or disposable income and you want the college experience. Alternatively, if you want to be an academic teacher go to college then on to graduate school, but be aware of how debt will impact your life. If you feel like making art that is salable compromises the integrity of you and your work, then by all means, go to art school, but don’t forget the practical side of art.”

~ Jamie L. Luoto



Don’t go for... a sure thing


All About the Benjamins” by Andre Woolery


“Art schools/universities can give students the false impression that there is fame and fortune just waiting for anyone with a degree. Almost anything you pay big money for in the arts at a university, you can learn for less in at your community college.”

~ Beverly Solomon, Beverly Solomon Design



Alternatives to Art School


Tech-Art: Soul For Technologyª, Technology
Leon Reid IV’s “Tech-Art: Soul for Technology™ Assortment 2”



At the end of the day, only you know whether art school is the right choice for you. Whether you’re itching for permission to just make art all day or crave the supportive network of  other students, working artists and teachers, art school can be a great investment. Don’t discount the impact of investing the time and money in yourself and the work you truly want to do.


However, if you’re looking for more practical advice on how to make a living as an artist, consider taking business courses and practicing your skills using online tutorials, local classes or finding a working artist to be your mentor. There are many ways to amass a network and going skills, you just need to get a bit creative.


“Consider artist led workshops as an alternative to college courses, and becoming a protégé of a working artist to learn the ins and outs of everything relevant to being a working artist,” said Jamie L. Luoto. “Most importantly, whatever you do, practice as much as possible because talent will only carry you so far. The extra hours you log are what will carry you beyond talent to mastery.”


Above all else, make sure to continue pursuing your passion. There is no set path to achieving your goals or realizing your dreams.



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