To define art would be a mammoth task because of its diverse and complex nature. However, the closest explanation would be that it's an expression of creativity.

The universal nature of art makes it a popular degree choice for students worldwide and from all kinds of different cultures.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to figure out how to become a professional artist when you're in high school. So let's see what high school students need to keep in mind before pursuing art.

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What Is Art?

Artists use their imagination and creative skills to produce works of art. The motive is usually to evoke emotion and provoke them to perceive things from different perspectives.

However, the tools they use to do this may differ from person to person, and because of this, we see paintings, sketches, sculptures, music, dance, and digital art. Hence, art isn't restricted to a single mode.

The idea of creating audio and visual depictions of the world has been a long-running human activity. And as a result, it has implications with many subjects, from history to theology to music.

But perhaps the best thing about it is that there are no prerequisites to understanding art. Anyone can interpret it however they want, regardless of their background, beliefs, or qualifications.

A picture of the cosmos
Taking a few art-related courses in high school can help you understand how to become a professional artist and what the career entails. Although, it's important to remember to let go and be creative; otherwise, you may have a hard time being productive (Source: Pixabay)

What Do You Learn In An Art Major?

An art degree is the best opportunity for students to hone their artistic abilities and refine their skills for a professional art career.

An education in art allows them to familiarize themselves with the necessary tools to facilitate different art styles. It also provides them with an environment that promotes creative thought.

Subsequently, art education in high school enables students to critique and analyze the work of their peers and develop an understanding of art.

Most art classes in high school provide students with exposure to art professionals, such as curators and artists, who can conduct seminars on how to become an established artist.

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What Do Art Colleges Look For In Students?

Aside from positive personal traits, college admissions departments require:

Portfolio Of Work

Prospective art students are generally required to curate a portfolio of their work to be considered for art degree programs in universities and colleges.

These institutions look for students who have an interest and appreciation for the art field and some prior knowledge and understanding of the many different topic areas of art.

Portfolios allow candidates to display their creativity and have the ability to keep up with the rigors of different art programs.

Art Experience

Most art degree programs require students to have an art foundation qualification before starting an undergraduate degree.

Fortunately, colleges offer foundational programs for students as an entry route to undergraduate programs.

Although studying art in high school is the best option. Specifically, having certain subjects in your high school resume can prove to be beneficial when applying for an art degree program. These include:

  • Photography
  • History of art
  • Textile design
  • Design technology

Creative Thinking

Art requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Hence, colleges look for students with diverse backgrounds in creative subjects.

Remember, advanced degrees vary significantly in their coursework and scope. For example, some programs are more vocational, and some are more focused on theory.

As a result, art graduates have many options for employment after they complete their degree. And they will succeed as long as they maintain their creative juices.

A painting of an owl
Learn how to become an artist by enrolling in a fine arts course. It will probably be quite a challenge to make it out without bumps along the way, but that is when you know you're learning (Source: Pixabay)

Is Art Only About Drawing And Painting?

Most people assume art courses mean a career in painting or sculpting. However, the scope of an art education goes further beyond that.

Some other careers that are possible with an art degree include:

  • Designers
  • Photographers
  • Illustrators
  • Interior designers

Art programs, both in college and high school, are designed to be broad-based to cater to many careers in the creative industry.

These days, even jobs in IT call upon individuals with artistic backgrounds. For example, animators, graphic designers, and printmakers are all expected to have a creative vision.

Art degrees and high school art courses pique a creative curiosity in students. This interest enables them to apply their talents across multiple fields over a diverse range of industries.

Therefore, many art graduates are now drawn to the media industry, with many others switching to teaching.

And if you're well-versed in pop culture, you'll know that many famous personalities have had an educational background in arts.

Some of these famous names include people like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, and Tracy Emin.

What Courses Can Art Students Take For A Future In Art?

High schools arts programs include elective courses in music, dance, visual art, and theatre. These courses are designed to immerse students in a comprehensive arts environment.

Keep reading as we discuss the most popular art degree choices at high school:

Fine Arts

Fine arts courses in high school encourage students to take an independent approach towards creative learning, which is a drastic change from the teacher-led lessons they usually have.

In these classes, students have the liberty to pursue specialized areas of interest and stick to specific mediums as they learn how to become an artist.

Moreover, the exploration-based approach is aimed towards helping students develop their personal style by experimenting with different genres.

Most courses in this department are designed around thematic concepts like social and contemporary issues

If you're exploring this subject, remember, it includes Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate options for more gifted students who wish to study art at a more advanced level.

Dance

Dance programs in high school help students explore their artistic identity through movement. It is another form of creative expression, which is also relevant for students interested in becoming an artist.

Dance classes combine physical health with the grace and flexibility of choreographed movements, allowing students to tap into their creativity through various dance styles, including:

  • Ballet
  • Hip-hop
  • Jazz

Dance electives, whether curricular or extracurricular, allow students to explore the language of movement and the subculture associated with it.

Each genre is incomplete without its own ideology of movement, including music, costumes, and dancing etiquette.

Moreover, students are provided with opportunities to attend dance concerts and performances, participate in local and international dance competitions, interact with professional performers, and much more.

Music

Most high schools offer music electives at all four years, and music courses form one of the most popular choices for students throughout high school.

The curriculum is structured in an ascending manner to help students learn each year incrementally after the other and rise from total beginners to reasonably skilled musicians by the end.

Music courses can help boost cultural awareness in students and provide them the opportunity to become musically literate and attuned to the art of producing music.

Students can participate in ensembles, such as the band, chorus, and orchestra, or partake in instrumental learning individually, such as the guitar and piano.

Some high schools even offer separate Advancement Placement and International Baccalaureate courses in music for more advanced students, while prerequisite courses develop musical skills.

A coffee with latte art, a pen, and a notebook
The best art universities in the US look for students with diverse backgrounds in art. Specializing in a particular form of art is a necessity; however, being able to use your creativity across other modes is what truly makes an artist (Source: Pixabay)

Theatre

Theatre courses enhance student's skills in communication, creativity, and expression. In addition, high school-based theatre activities and elective courses aim to develop artistic identity among students.

Moreover, these courses help them express themselves through their creativity, which is what the best art universities in the USA look for in potential candidates.

Meanwhile, the production aspect hones their management and problem-solving skills and encourages goal-directed learning.

They also get to gain valuable leadership skills and interpersonal communication skills, all of which teach you how to become a good artist.

Theatre electives in high school enable students to explore the different facets of performance art and get a feel for the world of show business.

And as they go on field trips to professional theatres and festivals, they get to interact with the cast of musicals and famous shows.

What Are The Benefits Of Pursuing Art Education?

Computers and portable electronic devices now drive the world. As a result, almost every business has an online presence these days, and the demand for online advertising services has risen by a considerable margin.

In concurrence, the demand for graphic designers, digital illustrators, animation artists, multimedia artists, and game designers has also increased sharply.

However, all these professions have one prerequisite in common, and that is a background in art.

Relevance In The Modern Age

Even though art is generally thought to be the domain of traditional creative professions, such as painting or sculpting, the rise in digital media means that you can now find yourself many newfound opportunities with a background in art.

All the best art universities in the USA are expanding their courses to incorporate digital arts relevant to today's time.

Thanks to the internet, making money through your art has become easy. Individuals can market their art to the larger public without hiring a middle-man, such as a gallery. These include:

  • Photographs
  • Sculptures
  • Paintings
  • Crafted products

Instead of relying on arbitrary institutions, the public decides whether your art is worth anything, allowing you to connect with your audiences directly.

However, that still doesn't mean making a living through art is a walk in the park. On the contrary, the world of art is a competitive one, with artists in oversupply.

What sets you apart is your talent, dedication, commitment, and business sense.

Art Courses Impart Valuable Skills In Students

One of the striking aspects of art courses is that they're more interesting than textbook-studying or learning-based courses.

You actually get to make things using your own hands and get to learn the value of dedicating time and energy to creating something from scratch.

What makes a good artist is a sense of creativity, and that is what high school art courses try to imbibe in students.

Furthermore, art can enhance your:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Fine motor skills
  • Problem-solving acumen
  • Lateral thinking
  • Critical thinking

Even if you don't pursue an art career, you will still leave the course with valuable skills that will be helpful to you throughout your life.

High School Art Courses Aren't Exam-Centric

Exams are a source of stress for many students. Some tend to panic, while others get sick, and examination anxiety seems to be a common theme for most high school students.

However, exams aren't always an accurate method of measuring a student's proficiency in a given subject.

Therefore, most art courses are not graded on examinations. Instead, they are more focused on the submissions and assignments throughout the course.

Even if some high school art courses do include an examination component, the central part of the grading is done over the students' performance in the classroom.

As a result, the silver lining for art students who suffer from exam-related anxiety is that they reach the exam season with most of their grades accumulated beforehand.

This can be beneficial in high school as students already struggle with balancing a heavy exam load for other subjects.

High School Art Courses Prepare You For A Future In Art

Lastly, art programs in college are pretty intensive and have a heavy workload. Students are expected to devote time, energy, and dedication to art in college programs.

Taking high school art courses can certainly help prepare potential art majors for what is coming their way and teach them how to manage huge workloads

If you're a high school student hoping to prepare for an art college preparation, sign up on Superprof and learn from the best art tutors around you!

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