Monthly Archives: July 2017

Reviewing the Best Art Colleges in Texas

The expansive state of Texas enrolls 10,000 students in art school and boasts 13 schools accredited by the Council for Interior Design. Among its leading programs are offerings at the University of North Texas-College of Visual Arts and Design, Rice University, and Baylor University.

The University of Texas offers NSAD-accredited programs and has art departments in its nine campuses across the state including Austin, San Antonia and Arlington. Texas also boasts renowned museums including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, McNay Art Museum and the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Austin Museum of Art.

The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas in Austin recently completed a new Visual Arts Center. Two of its faculty members were named Guggenheim Fellows in 2010. Noted graduate Marcia Gay Harden was the 2010 commencement speaker at University of Texas at Austin-a school that clearly values the arts.

Austin is one of the largest and most diverse art departments in the country. The Studio Art division offers seven areas of study: Ceramics, Metals, Printing and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Transmedia, a major with an emphasis on experimental practices including working in such realms as sound, installation, web, interactive and hypertext. The school also offers a selective 3-year MFA in Studio Art program enrolling 30 students.

The College of Visual and Performing Arts School of Art (SoA) at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas offers NASAD-accredited degree programs in studio arts, art history, communication design and visual studies. The BFA in Studio Art focuses on the development of students’ personal artistic expression and technical skills as well imparting an understanding and appreciation of both artistic heritage and contemporary art. The school also offers Masters Degrees as well a doctoral program in Fine Arts focusing on Critical Studies and Artistic Practice.

Rice University, one of the nation’s premier research universities, boasts a commitment to undergraduate education and offers a Studio Art major in its Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts. Students are encouraged to explore courses in areas such as philosophy, anthropology and history. Students at Rice have access to the creative resources of the dynamic city of Houston Texas and visit galleries, studios and exhibitions in their junior year in preparation for a senior year that focuses on intensive studio work.

Baylor University, in Waco Texas, offers both a BFA and BA in Studio Arts. Baylor students can concentrate in Ceramics, Fabric Design, Painting and other fine arts. BA students are encouraged to take courses across the concentrations, and are required to enroll in a larger percentage of liberal arts coursework than students on a BFA degree track. Baylor also offers a BA in Architecture in cooperation with Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Students at Baylor complete discipline-specific exams, portfolios, exhibitions and research papers, depending on their degree track. Baylor houses the Martin Museum of Art, the Allbritton Art Institute for the study of nineteenth and twentieth century art and the Harding Black Ceramic collection and Archive dedicated to scholarship in the ceramic arts.

There are dozens of other colleges and universities across the state of Texas that offer degree programs in fine art, design and commercial art fields. Individuals interested in these fields can explore the range of options available to them in Texas and seek out a balanced program to help launch their career.

The Accepted Definitions For Art and Its Classification

Art is an area of study that is very broad. Generally, art is defined as a means of self-expression. There is not just one definition widely accepted for Art. Art lends itself to several definitions. Some of these definitions are:

• It is a means of expressing one’s ideas through painting, drawing, sculpting etc.
• It is any activity in which a person gives order and form to organized ideas to bring out a new creation.
• It is a way of life and forms an integral part of life.
• It is the production of items with visual tools such as lines, colour, textures, etc. guided by design principles to satisfy both the aesthetic and functional needs of the individual and the society.
• It refers to the products of human creativity.
•It is a means of self-expression.

Art is broadly divided into two. These are I) Liberal Arts and ii) Creative Arts

i) Liberal Arts refer to the studies intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills such as law, literature, government, etc. It is usually referred to as humanities since it is a humanistic discipline that addresses concerns of social living.

ii) Creative Arts refer to the arts that employ creative abilities in the production of artefacts that are useful in carrying out our day to day activities. Unlike the liberal arts, creative arts offer self-occupational or practical skills which are manual in nature to its learners. It is the focus as far as the study of Visual art is concerned.

It should be noted that when the term ‘art’ is mentioned in the realms of visual art education, we are in effect talking about the creative arts. It is divided into two main branches namely a) Visual arts and b) Performing Arts.

Visual Arts

This refers to all creative or artistic products that are perceived with the sense of sight (optical sense-eye), sense of touch (skin) and can arouse emotions. Therefore, any creative product you can see, touch and can arouse in you an emotional feeling can be said to be a visual art form. Let’s take a drawing done on a sheet of paper as an example. Since one can see the drawing with the eye and can touch it while this same drawing also arouses an emotional feeling in the person seeing it, we can say with conviction that drawing is a visual art form.

Visual arts is sometimes referred to as Plastic or solid arts because of their tangible nature. It is divided into two groups. These are Fine arts and Industrial arts.

• Fine Arts are produced to serve as a form of decoration in the interiors and exteriors of homes, offices etc. They are purposely produced to satisfy the aesthetic drive of the viewer. Owing to this, the aesthetic qualities of the works in this area is stressed or given much emphasis in their creation. Though these arts may play other roles, it should be noted that their main function is for decoration. Examples include Painting, Graphic design, Picture making and Sculpture.

• Industrial arts also known as applied arts are those that focus more on the functions or uses of the artistic product, not its aesthetic value. They are created to satisfy the utilitarian needs of the individual while carrying out duties in our everyday life. They are purely usable art forms. Examples include Textiles, Leatherwork, Ceramics, Pottery, and Jewellery.

Performing Arts

These are perceived by the sense of sight and sense of movement (kinesthetic sense). They are performed or played. They are seen in a stream of time. Examples include music, dance and drama. An aspect of performing arts is Verbal arts which are performances communicated with words and body gestures. They include poetry, incantations, recitations etc.