Ceramics, sculpture, design, photography, painting, printmaking, filmmaking, drawing, crafts, video, and architecture are all art forms that fall under the category called “visual arts.” Several disciplines like textile arts, conceptual art, and performing arts utilize aspects of visual arts. Some applied arts also encompass visual arts like graphic design, decorative art, interior design, industrial design, and fashion design.
The Difference Between a BA and a BFA
Obtaining a degree in visual arts definitely goes beyond the artist’s studio. Visual arts per se is not a degree but a major to consider for those who enroll in Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree programs. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree, for instance, requires completion of 72 hours as part of the coursework that may include animation, cinematic arts, print media, photography, and interactive media.
The BA degree is a general one while the BFA is a professional degree. A BFA degree program will consist of a practical component together with discussion classes and lectures. Two thirds of the program is spent studying various art forms and only a third is focused on liberal arts courses. The ratio is reversed for a BA degree. The BFA is considered an undergraduate degree for professional education in the visual or performing arts.
Possible Employment Opportunities
Visual arts is probably one of the most prolific and diverse generators of employment. A graduate of visual arts will find a job with art studios, retirement homes, apparel manufacturers, local and state historical societies, libraries, community programs, rehabilitation centers, publishing houses, film production, antique dealerships, book designs, photo and film restoration, private art schools, and art galleries.
The visual artist can also find employment with government galleries, arts councils, private museums, photography studios, department stores, magazines, jewelry companies, advertising agencies, greeting card companies, manufacturers of props, public art schools, post production companies for films and television, sculpture, art foundries, interior design companies, pottery production, and photojournalism.
According to statistics, graduates of visual arts splinter off to various career directions that can range from teaching drawing and painting to being a creative director for an advertising agency. There are numerous skills that are developed with a visual arts program and, for the uninitiated, it isn’t just doodling. There are courses in art history, creative process, structural drawing, materials, and multimedia.
Additionally, the visual arts students will learn practical skills required in a studio workshop environment. Depending on the school attended, other courses may include creative arts theory, studios one to five, visual thinking, creative economies, and studios six to eight with a choice of disciplines in drawing, ceramics, photography, jewelry, digital imaging, painting, sculpture, and printmaking.
Schools Offering Visual Arts Degree Programs
Based on U.S. News ranking, the best schools offering visual arts include Yale University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), the Virginia Commonwealth University, the California Institute of the Arts, the Carnegie Mellon University, the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Also included in the list are Columbia University, the Alfred University-New York State College of Ceramics, California College of the Arts, Bard College, City University of New York (CUNY)-Hunter College, Temple University, the University of California-San Diego, Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri), Art Center College of Design, Ohio State University, School of Visual Arts, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.