Is Art School Worth It? 15 Pros and Cons

Is Art School Worth It? 15 Pros and Cons
Is Art School Worth It? 15 Pros and Cons

The pros of an art school education are considerable, but what about the cons? If you are thinking about education in the visual arts, you may be wondering what to expect.  

Moreover, I believe Art School education offers a life-enriching experience that laying the grounds for a lifelong learning journey. What follows is a complete outline of the many positives points, if you intend to follow an art school education, mixed with several negatives. Check out these best-selling guides to art school at

Is Art Education Worth it?

As somebody who spent six years training as a fine art student in art school, I feel I am qualified to write about some of the many positives you will experience if you intend to study in the arts.

Developing your Drawing and Painting Skills. 

Depending on what stage you have reached in education, you need to specialize in a particular field. Be it the fine arts, graphics or fashion, and textiles.

Consequently, one of the biggest hurdles for students can be deciding on a specialism they want to study.

Moreover, Art school at college and degree level provides students the opportunity to select from a range of various disciplines.

The main reason for this is that if you are choosing to train in the fine arts, is finding the opportunity to create work in various disciplines such as painting, printmaking, and sculpture. 

An excellent way to understand which discipline inspires and excites you as an artist and practitioner in a particular field.

At some stage you need to a choice, for example, is it painting or drawing. You now have the opportunity to develop sustainable work in that specialism.

Meeting New People with Similar and Diverse Interests.

One of the best experiences you gain from going to art school is meeting people at many different levels with similar interests.

The breadth of experience and talent that you can gain access to at art school is immense, from your tutor to visiting lectures to fellow students.

All offer advice, influence, and ideas concerning the creation of work, the discussion of ideas, and the investigation of topics related to your chosen discipline and beyond.

This is of immense benefit to anyone wanting to develop their experience of different art-related themes.

If you are studying at by degree undergraduate level, you will inevitably, through your studying, come into contact with a diverse range of people, from different parts of the country and even the world. All have different ideas.

Part of the process of attending art school involves learning about and experiencing new styles of art.

This may arise with the tutorials that take place between students and teachers or the lectures you attend as part of your course of study. Either way, this is an excellent way to learn about new styles of art and art movements.

Learn About New Styles of Art

At all stages in your art education, you come into touch with innovative ideas. 

This is principally the case if you are studying at the foundation level when you find the opportunity to work in a range of techniques and disciplines.

One example I can recall is my introduction to experimental drawing, in which students were encouraged to draw in radically different ways from what they were used to using. 

This entailed giving your drawing to the person sitting next to you, where they would modify it and then hand it back to you.

These, as well as many more innovative ideas, enable you to expand your understanding of art and drawing techniques drastically.

In fact, one of the most rewarding aspects can be the discussion and interaction of ideas that take place between individuals, students, and lectures. 

Meeting Visiting Artists

If you are looking for inspiration on how to succeed as a practicing artist once you leave art school, then listening to people who have achieved success can be inspirational in many different ways.

The lectures presented are beneficial in that artists tend to showcase their artworks. Here you can gain a real insight into working methods of successful practitioners.

Attending Lectures by Visiting Artists

The more lectures you attend at University as an undergraduate, the more you will be able to develop your knowledge and understanding of the ideas relating to the arts.

It is here that you can attend a wide variety of lectures based upon a mixture of different strands of art.

For any student interested in developing their knowledge, art lectures provide you will a multitude of ideas to draw upon.

The lectures you attend often have a direct influence on the art student, and the practical work that is produced in the studio. Relevant lectures on painting or drawing can offer a real sense of inspiration and direction to the work you are producing in the studio.

I distinctly recall attending several lectures which enabled me to make progress with aspects of my workshop practice, 

Learning to Mount an Exhibition

For many undergraduate students, gallery practice is the first attempt to create a large scale exhibition with paintings and sculptures created in the studio. 

Planning and learning how to show your artwork in a gallery space is a big deal if you haven’t had an exhibition before. You will be given a chance to showcase larger scale paintings, sculpture, or installation work. You may want to exhibit a range of work-based upon a theme with smaller preparatory drawings or sculptures.

In the course of displaying and mounting an exhibition, you need to work or collaborate with fellow students either in using a conventional exhibition space or displaying art in a common area. 

This may involve some discussion in terms of which section of the wall or space you wish to use.

Once your exhibition is the setup, you may want to receive feedback from course tutors and lecturers regarding the quality of the artwork and ideas relating to the work. Part of this process could also be feedback from fellow students on your course of study.

Your Final Degree Show

Your degree show in the final year of an undergraduate course culminates in the final chance to showcase your artwork before you complete your course of study.

Furthermore, this is also an opportunity to exhibit your best work and possibly sell examples. Many people attend the end of year shows spend time looking for new talent.

Many people believe that your final show is also an opportunity to place your best work on display. For instance, this may result in receiving a good quality graduate qualification at the end of your course of study.

To put it, the qualifications and assessment of your work before, during, and after your final show informs your assessors of the final qualification you receive.

The Advantages of Having a Studio Space 

In particular, working in a specific environment or conditions particular to an artist studio is an excellent way to improve and develop the quality of your artwork. 

Creating a creative environment will enable you to create work on a variety of scales and practice a variety of techniques. This is a definite advantage to anybody who may not have access to a studio space at home. 

In particular, shared spaces are also an excellent way to see and interact with fellow students and discuss your art.

Working in a New City or Environment 

The atmosphere and anticipation created by working and living in new surroundings is a critical influence in helping you create new work in a new environment. 

The inspiration that you derive from starting a new course can have an immediate and profound influence on the style of work you choose to create.

If you are working from your immediate environment, the architecture or ozone of the sea can create a real and immediate stimulus to create new work.

In particular, you may have a specific reason for wanting to complete art school in a particular city or area of the country.

One of the real benefits of studying art in a significant city or cultural center is the access you have to a gallery and contemporary exhibitions. 

If you are seeking inspiration from your immediate surroundings, the Architectures and building can also provide you with endless sources of ideas to develop drawings directly on location or back in the studio.

Access to Information and Art School Library 

One of the many advantages of studying at art school is the direct access you have to the university library and books.

Having direct access to books and visual information they provide you with a wide variety of information that makes a real contribution to the development of your ideas and studio practice.

The internet is the primary source of information for any student at the moment. However, I can still access a wide variety of original content to reference in book form. This is well worth doing if you are complete a paper or final year dissertation.

The Possibilities of Postgraduate Study in Art

One of the pros of gaining a good quality degree at art school is the possibility of progressing onto a Master’s degree with all the opportunities it brings. Enables the majority of art students who are interested in pursuing a career as professional artists the chance to take develop there work at a higher level.

Postgraduate study can also be persuing in various vocational ways such as teaching, which can, for many art students, result in a career they can use to make a living as the produced art in their spear time.

Trying New Techniques in Art School

The range and variety of work that you come into contact within a modern-day art school are incredibly in its variety. Some art school have a house style which Pis developed around the tastes and preferences of the senior lectures who may teach at the institution. Other art schools like the one I attended in Liverpool will not. These art schools, in my view, are usually the best at encouraging and developing the individual creativity of the students who attend them.

Here is a list of some of the things you can expect to encounter as an art student.

  • One of the most enjoyable aspects of my early art education was the emphasis placed on the experimental drawing. ost This introduced me straight away to a variety of drawing techniques that I had previously not experienced before, allowing me to visualize ideas in a far more free and effective manner.
  • Painting cbe explored as a subject in a variety of ways at art school from the traditional portraits and landscape or the more formal abstract and expressive genres. One of the things that impressed me as an art student was how my contemporary worked to explore and develop the language of painting a medium in art school working in highly creative and expressive ways.
  • Sculpture and techniques relating to the generation of three-dimensional art such as ceramic and holographic art
  • Installation, performance art, and conceptual art are all forms of art that can are created in a multitude of spectrums, techniques, and ideas. Popular with many art schools in the contemporary art scene. They can result in highly creative and innovative art.

Art as a Lifelong Learning Experience 

Undoubtedly one of the real benefits of an art school education if you take full advantage of it. The fundamental skills to take with you provide yourself with as an artist with a set of conceptual and practice skills that you can take with as a creative person throughout the rest of your working life.

Learning an Artistic Language 

One of the most valuable and personal things you can carry with you when you leave art school as an art student is that of an artistic language.

What is an artist language you may be asking yourself? For the sculptor in the traditional sense, this is form in space.

The painter or installation artist, the process, or language is different. 

The important factor here is to realize what overall skills you can take with you when you finally leave education. I have vividly remembered the sculptor Robert Scriven, a student who believed likewise. 

My view is simply to think about the skills you can take with skills to you when you leave art school if art school represents anything, it much equipping its students as an artist or creative practitioners when they graduate. 

Career Opportunities Upon Graduation

You may be wondering what career prospects lay ahead when you finally graduate from art school. One of the cons of an art school education is the generally held belief that an education in the arts does not lead to rewarding career possibilities upon graduation. 

There are many diverse roles you can choose to follow; then, you finally complete your studies. Here is a list of some of the many roles that could suit your skills.

Fine artist. You may wish to create your art, paintings, and sculptures to sell them to make a living. There are several issues you need to consider, such as funding materials and studio space. 

Graphic design and computer-generated graphics and graphic art is a popular career for students who have an interest in illustration and graphics. It is also a career that can lead to a multitude of jobs in various fields.


Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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