Minnesota Art Schools – Reviewing Minnesota’s Best Art Colleges

Minnesota is a large and beautiful state with a reputation for personality and creativity. From Garrison Keillor’s mythical Lake Woebegone to the work of Minnesota state natives F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Judy Garland and Charles Schultz, the state has long contributed to the arts in the America. Opportunities for creative work in Minnesota are growing, whether you are interested in becoming an interior designer, museum curator, advertising art director or fine artist.

From its famous 10,000 Lakes to its major urban and business center in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, Minneapolis provides creative inspiration. Minneapolis boasts the 11-day long Minneapolis Fringe Festival, the largest non-juried performing and visual arts festival in the nation. The state also houses museums, galleries and design firms. Minnesota offers a variety of settings and institutions for individuals committed to pursing studies in arts-related careers.

Minnesota has four art schools accredited by the National Association of Schools for Art and Design (NASAD) including two small specialized design schools: the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, with some 703 enrolled students (est. 1886), and the College of Visual Arts (est. 1948) with an enrollment of 200. Minnesota State University in Mankato and Minnesota State University in Moorhead both offer Departments of Art with programs accredited by NASAD as well as by the Council for Interior Design. Minnesota State and the Minnesota College of Art and Design also offer distance learning options through their online programs.

Minnesota College of Art and Design (MCAD) is located in Minneapolis, in a neighborhood adjacent to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts-the Twin Cities pre-eminent art museum, housed in a neo-classical landmark building designed by McKim, Mead and White in 1915. The College offers a range of degrees. The Bachelor of Fine Arts program allows students to choose from 13 different majors in fine art, design and media. Some the school’s more unusual majors include Furniture Design, Comic Art and a major called Print Paper Book. The BFA program offers a balance of two-thirds studio classes and one-third liberal arts, providing a strong pre-professional focus.

The Minnesota College of Art and Design also offers a Bachelor of Science degree that centers on bridging the gap between business executives and creative staff. This program is recommended for students who are both visual and verbal and who are interested in applying their analytical and entrepreneurial skills to working in arts-related fields. Students participate in internships in art agencies, design firms and web development companies. The school’s Masters of Fine Arts in visual studies follows a mentor-based approach combining studio work with seminars and inter-disciplinary experience.

Minnesota State offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees offering studio specializations in ceramics, drawing, fibers, graphic design, painting, photography printmaking and sculpture. Minnesota State offers an alternative for students looking to study art in the context of a large university with a range of educational resources.

Minnesota State Mankato enrolls 14,500 students on its 303 acre campus located 85 miles southwest of Minneapolis. Similarly, the University Of Minnesota Department Of Art in Minneapolis offers a Bachelor of Arts Program encompassing training in studio arts as well as history of art and art criticism. The school’s selective Bachelors in Fine Arts program is available for students applying at the end of their sophomore year and looking to prepare for a specialized art career or graduate study.

Other liberal arts schools in Minnesota offer bachelor’s degrees in art including St. Cloud State in St. Cloud, where students can choose in emphasis in graphic design, 3-d media, or integrated media. Independent Arts institutes, such as the College of Visual Arts, focus on individualized learning an art-making community and boast an integrated curriculum focused on preparing students to become professional artists.

Finding the right art school in the stunning state of Minnesota is a matter of seeking the coursework, setting, faculty and learning climate that meets your needs. But large universities and art and design institutes alike will provide a thorough training in the skills required to forge a career.

Alabama Art Schools – Top Choices For Art Colleges

For individuals with artistic talent who are considering a career in the arts, Alabama is home to four major universities, as well as liberal arts and community colleges, that all have Art Departments offering majors in commercial and fine arts. The University Of Alabama Department Of Art, located in Tuscaloosa, is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, as is the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa is also accredited by the Council for Interior Design, as are Samford University and Auburn University. Alabama students can pursue arts degrees in design, architecture and technical arts at Alabama’s independent technical schools as well.

Alabama offers a combination of small, charming towns and bustling urban areas. Students can choose between study at urban universities or small-town liberal arts colleges. Alabama hosts the Birmingham Museum Of Art, the Alabama Theatre and the annual Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Smaller communities are home to galleries of Native American, African America and Folk Art, reflecting the region’s rich heritage.

Students attending the University of Alabama in Birmingham, for example, participate in internships and a program that draws on the creative resources of Alabama’s largest city, working with local museums and galleries. The Art Department offers concentrations in ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, printmaking, culture, time based media, art history and art education.

The highly-regarded Tuskegee University, in Tuskegee. Alabama, one of the nation’s leading historically black colleges, houses a department of Fine and Performing Arts that seeks to develop appreciation and understanding of aesthetic expression and development of skills through individual critique, studio activity and classroom instruction.

The smaller Spring Hill College in Mobile Alabama, the third oldest Jesuit College in the U.S., set in a charming neighborhood of towering Oak trees and historic buildings, houses a Division of Communication, Fine and Performing Arts where students are encouraged to gain an understanding of art as communication and explore how personal expression reflects and changes the broader culture. Fine Arts majors can focus on Studio Art and Art Business to prepare for careers as artists, designers or illustrators, or as arts managers or employment in galleries or museums. Students who major in graphic design can prepare for jobs in web and multimedia environments.

Auburn University, in the small town of Auburn Alabama, founded in 1856, was the first large land grant university in the south and currently enrolls over 24,000 students. The Auburn Department of Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art where students can concentrate in ceramics, painting & drawing, printmaking or sculpture. BFA students complete 48 hours of studio work, along with in-depth coursework in their concentration. Students are challenged to develop their own approach to their work and personal creative expression.

Students wishing to pursue careers in the arts can attend Alabama’s historical institutions and develop their aesthetic, intellectual and art-making skills. Undergraduate arts majors often go on to graduate school as preparation for their careers. Bachelor of Arts programs in most of Alabama’s colleges and universities include general liberal arts studies and often a specific core curriculum in the traditional areas of literature, history, science, etc. Students then focus on arts courses, especially in their upper division years.

Exploring art on the undergraduate level in a nurturing, supportive atmosphere can help students develop a sense of their own artistic vision and career direction. While some graduates may choose to take the challenging road of being an independent artist or artisan, others can apply their skills to jobs in commercial and communications fields, as graphic designers, advertising creative staff, interior decorators, web and media artists and commercial illustrators. A college degree will facilitate entry into arts careers, as well as develop individual technique and skill.