A: Both require a four-year commitment; the BA requires 2/3 of liberal arts courses and 1/3 visual arts courses. The BFA requires 2/3 visual arts courses and 1/3 courses in the liberal arts. A Bachelor of Arts degree focuses on education in the liberal arts. You take academic classes, such as Math, History, English, etc., depending on your field of study. A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree allows you to practice areas in visual arts with the goal to concentrate on your chosen medium, such as Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Film, etc.
Q: When should I start preparing for my application to an art school?
A: The sooner the better. If you are an artist, which means you always live with your camera, sketch pad, or chisel and hammer close by, then you have probably already started to develop your artistic voice. Keep all your drawings, prints, etc., as they will show your artistic development over the course of time. Don't throw anything out, even if you feel it's not a good representation of your talent! Allow your coach, art teacher, or admissions counselor to edit your work for your final portfolio. And the more we have to choose from, the better and easier it is to show your interests, concerns, and artistic expression in your final portfolio. This will make you stand out, as you are telling a story with your artwork - the story of your development of becoming an artist!
Start in freshman year, and continue to make art. There will be weeks when you won't have as much time to devote to your art, i.e. studying for tests, community work, etc. This is especially true in Junior year, think SATs, et al. But this should not stop you from making art. As a matter of fact, being able to build a sustainable art practice is a hot topic in contemporary artmaking. We all get overloaded by information, and figuring out a schedule you can implement to make art a habit, is critical. Another plus on your application!
Q: What's the difference between Fine Arts and Visual Arts?
A: A quick answer is that Fine Art works are skillfully made and interested in conveying beauty. They can be music compositions, paintings, poetry, architecture, etc. Visual Art focuses on - well, art that's mainly made to be looked at. This also includes the Applied Arts, such as interior design or fashion design, as well as animation, video production, and other fields.
Q: What's a portfolio?
A: A portfolio showcases an artist's best work. Whether you're a painter, sculptor, filmmaker, photographer, etc., a portfolio is an artist's resume and you need to have one if you want to get into art school. It presents your artistic voice and skill level. And, as you are changing as a person, so does your portfolio. But keep in mind to ONLY add your best work to your portfolio!
Q: What kind of jobs can I get after I graduate from art school?
A: Lots of jobs! Here are some examples.
With a Fine Art degree:
Museum Curator, Portrait Painter, Gallery Owner, Film Production Art Designer, Exhibiting Artist, Art Teacher, Magazine Founder, Exhibition Designer, Costume and Fantasy Art Designer, etc.
With a Photography degree:
Exhibiting Photographer, Photo Editor, Commercial Photographer, Director of Creative Services, Photography Studio Owner, Magazine Photographer, Wedding Photographer, Event Photographer, etc.
With a degree in Film:
Film Director, Producer, TV Art Director, Production Coordinator, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Camera Operator, Scenic Artist, Special Effects Supervisor, Production Assistant, Media Buyer, Videographer, etc.
With a Graphic Design degree:
Graphic Designer, Web Developer, Art Director, Production Artist, Book Designer, Creative Director, Designer for Record Label, Illustrator, Marketing Communications Manager, Poster Designer, UX/UI Developer, etc.