Choosing which art school to attend can be a daunting process. Art is a challenging subject to study, and if you don't know exactly what aspect of your art you are hoping to explore while in school, it can be difficult to choose the right school to attend. Learning about some of the best art colleges on the East Coast may help you decide.

What Are Some Art Schools on the East Coast?

The East Coast is the oldest part of the United States, and the schools there are some of the oldest in the country. While the East Coast is primarily known for its liberal arts colleges and the Ivy League schools, there are a number of the best art schools in this part of the country as well.

Rhode Island School of Design is one of the most prestigious art schools in the entire country. Known for its proximity to Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design is the alma mater of some of the 20th century's most compelling artists and designers.

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Parsons School of Design is part of The New School in New York City and is one of the country's foremost art colleges, with a renowned fashion design department. Parsons students also excel at illustration, drawing, painting and fiber arts and benefit from the school's proximity to the New York City art world.

Which East Coast Colleges Have Strong Art Programs?

Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York has one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious art programs. Sculptors, painters and illustrators as well as fashion and industrial designers have all trained at Pratt. The campus also provides a well-rounded liberal arts education in addition to fine arts courses in order to encourage the broader application of creative knowledge.

The Cooper Union in New York City is a celebrated and formidable school with one of the best art programs in the country. Admission is highly selective, but tuition is free for the students who make the cut. Art of all kinds is taught at Cooper Union.

Savannah College of Art and Design is a newer school that has grown in prestige over the past several decades. It boasts some of the most comprehensive degree programs in the field of art and design. From architecture to accessory design to brand design, textile design and other fine arts applications, students have a wide variety of scope for turning their talents into careers.

What Ivy League Colleges Have Strong Art Programs?

When one thinks of the colleges in the Ivy League, it is somewhat counterintuitive to imagine that these serious academic institutions would also be home to some of the best art colleges in the world, but indeed, many are. These schools are renowned both for their humanities and sciences departments, but there are also wonderful art facilities and exceptional instruction available at these institutions for students who are serious about art.

Yale University School of Fine Art in New Haven, Connecticut is regularly named one of the top art schools in the United States. It is also the very first professional art school founded in the United States. With an on-campus museum and programs for graduate and undergraduate students, the university is one of the foremost places for the study of fine art.

Harvard University and Brown University are two other Ivy League colleges with noteworthy fine arts departments. Both universities offer specialized training at the graduate level while also providing the opportunity for undergraduate study in fine arts.

What Colleges Offer Art Degrees?

Many students leaving high school who are hoping to study art in college may be unsure of exactly what kind of art programs are out there. Not all undergraduate university-level art programs are the same. Some schools immerse the fine arts student fully in the fine arts practice with very limited courses in other subject areas that might traditionally be considered liberal arts subjects. Other schools require students studying fine art to take other courses in the humanities and sciences, believing that all disciplines can be connected and that the study of one may inform the study of another.

At the graduate level, it is more likely to find a curriculum that is solely devoted to the study of fine art. Moreover, most graduate students who are pursuing fine art know exactly what medium or discipline they are interested in focusing on. These students do not need to waste time with the study of art-making disciplines or genres that are outside of the purview of their interest. Graduate school is the time for specialized study.

If you are considering an undergraduate curriculum in fine arts, a good place to start is to ask yourself whether you are hoping for a school that is exclusively devoted to teaching fine arts or whether you'd prefer to specialize in fine arts at a school that has a more general and traditional college curriculum. Once you have the answer, you can begin your search for the right art college for you. Speaking with a guidance counselor or college liaison is a good way to get your questions answered and to learn about schools that you might not already know. This can help you narrow your search.

How Many Years Does It Take To Be An Artist?

This is a question without a real answer. Some say that you are an artist the moment you choose to express yourself through any creative medium. Others may say that you are only an artist when you have discovered the exact way to say what you want to say through the visual medium of your choice. Either way, to be an artist is mostly determined by your will, your level of interest and the way that you define the term.

For some artists whose work is exceptional straight from the start, they may have the luck of early gallery representation and sales at an early point in their career. However, these artists are not more "real" than artists who do not have agent or gallery representation.

If you judge being an artist based solely on how much of your work sells, it may be a long time or even never before you can call yourself an artist. However, if you base that measurement on how often you practice your art and how dedicated you are to achieving what you set out to achieve, you are an artist as soon as you begin your work.

Can You Get A Scholarship for Art?

There are many resources available for artists who are looking for scholarships, particularly for undergraduate study. Some art scholarships are offered by institutions themselves. Many colleges have fine arts departments and are looking to attract the best and the brightest to their institution. These schools tend to offer art scholarships to particularly promising students who are planning to study art while in their undergraduate years.

Other scholarships are awarded by separate institutions that are devoted to giving opportunities to artists and art students who otherwise may not be able to afford college. Scholarships from various foundations may offer partial financial support for undergraduates or in some cases, scholarships for students hoping to pursue graduate studies.

Researching art scholarships online is a good first step. Search broadly and then go more specific. Some scholarships are focused on students who are pursuing a particular discipline or a particular facet of the arts. Others are designed to support students from specific backgrounds. Once you've done some cursory research on your own, it is a good idea to reach out to a guidance counselor to see if he can provide any insight or offer information concerning resources about which you were previously unaware.

About the Author

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.