Art Courses: All About Adult Education Art Classes

Adult art education offerings are widely available through park districts, art schools, community colleges and adult education centers. Programs and courses are offered for both beginners and talented amateurs at all levels.

Essential Information

Adults interested in studying art can take standalone courses that are either for personal enrichment or for credit toward a full certificate or degree program. Colleges, universities and art schools often offer full certificate or degree programs in areas that might include fine arts, drawing, graphic design, photography and Web design. Degrees in art are most often available from the associate's through master's degree levels.

Standalone adult education art classes cover topics such as sculpture, photography, painting, drawing and art appreciation. Many of these courses require hands-on projects as students learn to use different types of mediums to draw, paint or sculpt their creations. Students taking a photography course learn to use different types of cameras, work with camera settings and edit photos. A course in art history gives students an opportunity to analyze artwork and possibly take field trips to see some creations in person at a gallery or art museum.

Students pursuing a certificate or degree program may complete many or all of these courses as part of their studies. These topics may also be studied at the advanced level in degree programs. Those specializing in an area like Web design, graphic design or fashion also complete a number of courses related to that concentration.

List of Common Courses

Here are some descriptions of common adult education courses in art.

Drawing Course

Introductory courses will focus on the elements of drawing, such as line, proportion, light and shading techniques and perspective. Intermediate coursework might cover differing mediums such as oil pastels and pens. Students may work on still life compositions, live models and landscapes.

Painting Course

Painting courses will cover the use of watercolors, acrylics and oils. These courses will allow students to paint landscapes, abstracts, still life compositions and portraits. Students may learn paint application techniques, how to mix colors and transfer drawings to paintings. Instructors will discuss how to bring a concept to finished form, and students will learn how to critique their own work as well as that of others in the class.

Art Appreciation Course

Art appreciation courses generally cover a period of time in art history, teaching students to recognize various artists and styles from specific periods. Students may travel to art museums and galleries to view works of various artists such as El Greco, Monet, Renoir and Seurat. These courses might also focus on a single topic, such as the depiction of women in art over or across periods of time. Analysis of the paintings themselves and the context of the time period in which they were created will be explored.

Photography Course

Photography courses are typically offered for both film and digital cameras, and courses covering computer photography editing programs are also widely available. Students can learn the basic function of cameras and lenses, as well as how to compose shots using varying lighting, filtering and focusing techniques. Advanced coursework may cover indoor and outdoor photography, abstract forms, portraits and the development of a body of work.

Sculpture Course

A variety of media will be covered in courses about sculpture. Beginning classes tend to work with clay, and as skills are developed, courses in working with stone, metals and wax and bronze may be available. Students will learn how to work with sculpting tools and be introduced to installation, casting, construction and mold-making methods.

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