Art School

Art school is a general term for any educational institution with a primary focus on the visual arts, especially illustration, painting, photography, sculpture, and graphic design. The term applies to institutions with elementary, secondary, post-secondary or undergraduate, or graduate or postgraduate programs in these areas. They are distinguished from larger institutions which also may offer majors or degrees in the visual arts, but only as one part of a broad-based range of programs (such as the liberal arts and sciences). France's École des Beaux-Arts is, perhaps, the first model for such organized instruction, breaking with a tradition of master and apprentice instruction when it was formed.

If accredited as a college, most art schools grant a bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of arts, or bachelor of science degree. Associate degrees and professional diploma programs are common as well.

Art and design schools in the United States
In the U.S. art and design schools that offer bachelor of fine arts or master of fine arts degrees break down into basic types with some overlap and variations.

At the most fundamental the term relates to a small, private art or design school. Art Academy of Cincinnati, Montserrat College of Art, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and O'More College of Design are examples of that model. At the other end of the spectrum, the largest single art school in the United States is the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which when combined with the other art institutes comprises the largest art school system in the world.

Some of these schools belong to a consortium formed in 1991 and called the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). These schools differ from career schools in that they require a strong component of liberal arts courses in addition to art and design courses, providing a well-rounded college degree.

There also are partnerships between art schools and universities such as School of the Art Institute of Chicago with Roosevelt University, the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University, Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, the Rhode Island School of Design with Brown University, Maryland Institute College of Art and Johns Hopkins University, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in conjunction with Tufts University, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, or Herron School of Art at Indiana University.

There is one state-supported independent art school in the U.S., Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Cooper Union in New York City is among the most selective of art schools, admitting 4%, with every student on full scholarship. The Yale School of Art at Yale University offers only graduate instruction in its two-year MFA programs. The Yale Daily News reported on Thursday, February 1, 2007 that the School had 1215 applications for its class of 2009 and would offer admission to fifty-five students.

Next up the scale in size for an art school would be a large art or design department, school, or college at a university. If it is a college, such as the College of Design, at Iowa State University typically, it would contain programs that teach studio art, graphic design, photography, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, or interior architecture, as well as art, design, and architectural history areas. Sometimes these are simply the schools of art, architecture, and design such as those at the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign or the Yale School of Art. With over 3,000 students, VCU School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University is one of the largest art schools in the nation and is also has achieved the highest ranking ever for a public university. Variation exists among art schools that are larger institutions, however, the essential element is that programs at universities tend to include more liberal arts courses and slightly less studio work, when compared to dedicated, but independent, schools of art.

The final and most common type of art school, a state supported or private program, would be at a university or college. It typically is a BA program, but also might be a BFA, MA, or MFA. These programs tend to emphasize a more general degree in art and do not require a major in a specific field, but might offer concentrations. A concentration is not accepted by some accrediting or professional organizations as being adequate preparation in some fields that would lead to success as a professional. This is the case for graphic design, where typically, the minimal degree is a BFA major in graphic design.

Many of the degree-offering institutions do not offer intense training in classical realism and academic painting and drawing. The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is considered a collegiate version of this educational model. This gap is filled by Atelier art schools (schools located inside an artist's studio) or in separate locations, such as the New York Academy of Art, the National Academy of Design, the New York Studio School, the Art Students League of New York, established in 1875, and the Academy of Classical Design.

Online art schools
In recent years a number of art schools have begun to offer some or all of their curricula online, which by nature, transcends national boundaries. Among these are The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online and Academy of Art University. As with on-ground schools, many of the majors involve computer-based work, such as compositions created in Photoshop, Illustrator, or 3D-Studio Max. Submission and review of these materials proceeds virtually identically for on-ground and online classes. When online courses require production of traditional drawings or other such materials, they usually are photographed or scanned for submission and review by instructors.

Art school culture
Art school culture has been portrayed in media such as Art School Confidential and Six Feet Under and may have existed in the past; however, this current portrayal could be classified as a stereotype. In contrast to that contemporary stereotype, professional art and design education accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design or offered by the members of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design incorporates rigorous liberal arts and general education requirements so that students receive an authentic college or university degree.

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