Fine Arts

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Articles on Fine Arts:
   Major in Fine Arts
   A future in Fine Arts
   Fine Arts Major...A Closer Look
   Explore a Career in Fine Arts

Major in Fine Arts

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“Creative juices run hot through our veins. All of us have an irresistible, divinely-inspired impulse to create.” ~Stephen Altrogge

A world without art would be drab, empty and dark. Painters, sculptors and photographers bring color, imagination and inspiration to our world. They delight our senses, open our minds, evoke emotions and subtly shape and influence our opinions. In this way, they hold great power and responsibility in that they push us to envision political, social and spiritual ideas that may not otherwise be tolerated in society. As a fine arts major, you will develop practical skills in whatever area of artistic specialization you choose. You will also gain a foundation for your future art career that is well-grounded in the historical, cultural and anthropological elements of art education.

In applying for college, many schools with fine arts majors require you to submit some sort of art portfolio. This is to show that you possess specialized technique and skill in at least one art form such as illustrating, printmaking, graphic design or painting. In addition to a passion for art and the basic ability to express yourself visually, there are other traits that are highly desirable for a fine arts major. One is creativity and a sense of individual “voice” in your work. Second is the ability to accept criticism which is one of the primary ways we grow as artists. Another necessary skill is attentiveness to detail which allows you to keenly observe your subjects and surroundings and to fine tune your work with precision. Individuals who are persistent, patient, disciplined and self-motivated do well in a fine arts program where much independent work is required and time-management is important.

As a fine arts major you will explore galleries, museums, cultural festivals, music venues and theaters. You’ll participate in hands-on studio work, may be encouraged to study abroad or participate in an art internship. Educationally, a fine arts program is one of the most flexible programs available, enabling you to pick electives according to your medium preferences, needs and goals. For example, you may choose classes in glass blowing, fibers, metal work, drawing or ceramics just to name a few. You’ll take classes that focus on art from a specific location or time period. Types of classes you’ll take might include:

  • Arts and ideas
  • Modernism and postmodernism
  • Visual arts
  • History of European art 
  • Ancient art
  • Issues of contemporary art
  • Art of India

Employment opportunities with a fine arts degree may be limited or bountiful, depending on what you’re looking for.  For example, “college level art teacher” recently scored #1 in a study ranking “Employment Opportunity.” This position generally requires a master’s degree in some sort of art, but also comes with many benefits! There is also a growing need in the area of fine arts management which focuses on the business end of the art world (caring for financial, legal and fundraising details). If you dream of becoming a freelance artist, it will be necessary to develop strong entrepreneurial skills in order to market your work or possibly set up your own business in an increasingly competitive field. You may get creative and find a niche guiding art-related activities in a hospital, prison, community center or school setting. Other fine art careers include:

  • Illustrator
  • Art director
  • Gallery or museum exhibit designer or manager
  • Conservator
  • Printmaker
  • Curator
  • Multimedia programmer
  • Recreational or art therapist

If you find pleasure in the creative process and desire to impact others by introducing them to new perspectives through meaningful art, then look no further than to a major in fine arts!