Art at MCLA - The Right Choice
Here are some of the reasons why an MCLA Art education may be right for you, right from the start.
- Gain skills
- We focus on drawing, painting, and design skills from both academic figurative traditions as well as modern experiments. You get exposure to and experience with real craft skills and real art concept skills. A lot of art schools teach no craft skills at all, which is a tragedy, because good skills are what makes an artist employable. The types of drawing, painting, and design that we teach apply well to careers in the fine arts, design, drafting, special effects/storyboarding, illustration, and more. Sometimes we teach specific skills for select art media, but often our goal is broad-based transferable skills that you can use across many different art forms.
- Lead, don't follow
- What kinds of art do you love to make, and what do you want to learn? By the junior and senior years, our program is highly customizable - you can design your curriculum and select advanced courses best suited to your interests. Most schools force you to do what they think is best for you, which makes you a follower, not an artist. At MCLA, after you gain some serious skills in our foundations program, we allow room for your choices and interests; in fact, we push you to develop them. We give you the chance to be a leader, an innovator, an artist. How would you use this opportunity to build your own arts career?
- Study with the best
- You're taught by experienced art professors who are working artists. Unlike larger programs where many courses are taught by inexperienced graduate students who've never taught college classes before, at MCLA you get to know exceptional artists right away, artists who are masterful teachers and extraordinary professionals.
- Join the Arts scene
- At MCLA's Art Major program, you can interact with a thriving local and regional arts scene - meet guest artists, visit world-class museums filled with both historical and contemporary artworks, apply for apprenticeships and internships to work with artists or arts organizations. Unlike art studies in a major metropolis where thousands compete for arts jobs, in the relatively small and rural Berkshires there's less competition; you have more choices and better chances of getting experience and real jobs. Although the national unemployment rate has been hovering around 9% (a lot higher for recent college grads), the unemployment rate in the Berkshires is a lot less, lately around 6%. You might actually have better chances of creating a career in the arts in the Berkshires than in big cities.
- Get Arts business training
- Learn arts business during your studies, perhaps by minoring or majoring in our Arts Management program. This opportunity is rare among other schools but can be critical to your success. We provide the chance to learn how to survive and earn a career in the arts.
- Earn jobs
- Contrary to stereotypes of the 'starving artist,' national studies show that people with art major degrees on average earn $40-$50,000 per year. This is about the same income level as most college-educated adults in America. That's good. That means you can find ways to survive as well as most people, but still do what you love. Some of these wage earners are fine artists, but many are also designers, teachers, museum specialists, and many other careers that can benefit from a liberal arts degree. We can't guarantee you a job, but we can promise that our Art Major can deepen your practice of the arts, increase your knowledge and ability, and give you opportunities to apply for excellent jobs. See where our alumni are working.
- Be curious
- It's important for any artist to have a broad outlook and a range of experiences. By always informing yourself about the wider world, your artistry connects with people's lives. That's why a liberal arts education is so valuable. Many art schools are so specialized that you gain only minimal historical understanding (your art remains naïve and uninformed), writing skills (required to succeed as an artist), and understanding of the varied sciences (often at the forefront of culture, and many forms of art). While specialty schools focus narrowly, at MCLA we have a broad-based approach that includes many different fields of study. We aim for the generalist, not the specialist. In the long run, our experience is that the liberal arts method makes better, more informed artists. Additionally, if you want to study art but aren't thinking of becoming an artist, then the liberal arts degree can apply to many non-art jobs. It's flexible for many kinds of careers.
- Save $$$
- College can be expensive, and we try to keep costs low. As a state school we are much more affordable than most private institutions. Think of it this way: MCLA's Art Major program can serve well as a stepping stone into many arts careers, or into further studies. Many students graduate from our program and then attend a 1 or 2-year teaching certification program to become public school art teachers. Many move on to highly specialized art studies in BFA or MFA programs. Quite a few have become independent designers, museum educators, gallerists, and freelance artists. If you have specific interests in graphic design, commercial illustration, photography, or art education we recommend that you consider taking MCLA's art major and learn all of the technical skills we have to offer. After graduating, attend a one- or two-year certification program or graduate program in these kinds of specialties. It is common that BFA programs require 5-6 years of study... so you can save money by attending MCLA and optionally attend a more expensive specialty school later. Many of our alumni have done so with great success. With less financial burden, artists have better chances to survive and thrive.