An art-focused associate's degree program is designed to provide students with the knowledge they need to produce non-representational works of art. Students might gain an understanding of the craftsmanship and aesthetic theories that stand behind every work of art.
Programs may grant 2-year Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Arts degrees. In addition to having a high school diploma or equivalent, prospective students may need to present samples of their work prior to being admitted. Some arts programs might be designed for students who would like to later transfer their credits to a 4-year university in pursuit of a bachelor's degree. Some online programs can also be found.
Associate of Arts Degree
An associate's degree program in art, fine arts or visual arts can prepare students to create and exhibit original paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works of art. Students learn how to work with color, line, form and composition to create representational and abstract pictures and objects. Aspiring abstract artists often find the curriculum broad enough for them to take an imaginative as well as a figurative approach to their pieces.
Through a series of studio experiences, undergraduates have the chance to discover their own personal styles while learning how to work with a variety of studio equipment and materials. Some courses may emphasize abstraction, using mediums like clay, wood, oil paints and acrylics. The core curriculum for a foundation art program typically includes classes in:
- Life drawing and painting
- 2-D and 3-D design
- Graphic design
- Metalwork and jewelry
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 3% growth in employment of fine artists, including painters, sculptors and illustrators, between 2014 and 2024. Their median annual salary was $46,460 as of May 2015. However, the BLS also noted that most fine artists are self-employed and that many require a second job to support themselves (www.bls.gov).
The credits earned from an associate's degree program in fine arts are usually transferable to 4-year colleges and accredited art schools. Students who want to pursue a more in-depth study of abstract art and enhance their career opportunities can apply to schools that offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Next, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree can provide the additional credentials necessary to find work as an art educator. Alternatively, bachelor's degree-holder could enroll in an art therapy graduate program.
Associate of arts degrees can provide students with a broad knowledge base of the arts in addition to abstract artwork. After graduating students may be able to find bachelor's degree programs allowing them to focus more on abstract art, also opening up further employment opportunities.