Many artists begin their journeys in high school or earlier. What you may not know, though, is that the high school you attend can contribute to your success. Is your high school’s art program good enough for your art aspirations? Here are some clues:
Your school has a dedicated art program with a number of specialized courses
With budgets dwindling across the country, art programs are sometimes the first to get cut. Does your school have art classes? Better yet, does it offer pottery, drawing, visual media, or photography? If the answer is NO, it might be time to start looking for another option, like a private school with a robust high school art program.
Your school actively helps you prepare your portfolio to submit to art schools
Just like working on a college application, serious art students need to start preparing their portfolios to submit to colleges in advance. Does your school let you work on your portfolio during art class? Do your art teachers say, “This piece could be great for your portfolio?” A focus on the next step of your art career should be paramount in a good high school art program.
Your school’s college counseling office encourages applying to art schools
A strong high school art program is connected to their college counseling office. That means college counselors should know which students are equipped to consider applying to art school, and should keep this option open for qualified students. At Cheshire Academy, we’ve helped a number of students earn acceptance to art schools like the Rhode Island School of Design, and the college counseling office keeps art schools in the conversation for interested students.
Art extracurricular activities are given the same time allotment and rigor as athletic programs
Some schools, especially private schools and boarding schools, require that students participate in a competitive sport each season. For students interested in art, this can cut into already limited free time to pursue artistic passions. Schools with strong art programs allow students to take art programs to replace one or all of these requirements, giving equal weight to athletic and artistic pursuits after the academic day is done.
You can take a course that is specialized to your specific art interest
The best high school art programs offer classes that fit your specific interest. If you excel in photography, ideally your school offers one or more advanced photography courses. However, in the absence of that, the best high school art programs know that each artist is unique, and will let the most advanced students create custom courses around their interest. At Cheshire Academy, we have an Art Major independent study that allows artists to have one course for a full term centered around improving their portfolios and their skill in a specific medium.
There are opportunities to apply your art outside of the classroom
In this day and age, artists often must create not just for joy but also for money. That means working with a client, understanding their needs, and producing a final product. For example, at Cheshire Academy, photography students interviewed a local coffee shop owner to produce a photography show representing a specific ambiance for his store. If your school offers the opportunity to create art for clients, this is a sure sign you’re part of a great art program.
Does your school sound like it has a full and robust art program? If it doesn’t have a dedicated program with diverse and specialized classes, help you with your college portfolio, see art colleges as a valid post-high school option, or let you focus on art outside of classes, then it might not be strong enough for you.
Do you have a specific art passion you want to pursue in high school? Let us know in the comments!