Distance Learning Degree Programs in Fine Art: Overview of Degrees
Students with creative talent who wish to pursue an art education have many distance learning options. Distance learning certificate programs in the fine arts allow artists to take courses for personal enrichment, while also enhancing their professional abilities in specific areas, such as oils, acrylics or watercolors. Distance learning degrees in fine art include the Associate of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts.
Associate and Bachelor's Programs
Students are introduced to the fundamentals of fine arts in distance learning associate and bachelor's degree programs, including drawing, design, color and composition. While completing the programs, students are encouraged to develop their own unique artistic style and direction. Fine arts courses are designed to build technical expertise and professionalism. Associate degree programs have fewer required courses, and distance learning programs at the associate level can be completed in a minimum of two years; bachelor's degrees usually require four or more years to complete via distance learning programs, since the pace is typically slower than in structured classroom courses.
Fine art students enrolled in distance learning programs need an at-home or local studio, where they can work on assignments. Most distance learning programs use Web-based education software and conferencing to conduct classes online. Through the Internet, e-mail, phone, fax and mail, students complete required coursework and communicate with faculty and classmates.
Outlines for distance learning courses include the requirements for textbooks, art supplies, hardware and software upfront. Art supplies can typically be purchased online for convenience or from a local art supply source. Students upload photos of their class assignment projects for professor review; they are also frequently required to submit artwork by mail for distance learning classes.
Some courses that may be included in a fine arts distance learning degree program include:
Still Life Painting: students learn about form, light, warm and cool colors, shadows and composition, while painting still life forms.
Silkscreen: participants learn how to create fine works of art using the photo-emulsion stencil method.
Watercolor Painting: participants receive an introduction to basic watercolor materials and techniques, including flat brush, graded wash, dry brush and wet-on-wet techniques.
Master of Fine Arts Programs
Master's programs allow students to concentrate on their areas of expertise. Some specialties include fine art, media design, creative writing, painting, sculpture and theatre. Typically, students create a portfolio of work in an at-home or local studio. Their work may be presented in an exhibition and undergo critical review by faculty and professionals. In a distance learning program, the exhibition and review may be conducted online via video, live Web conferencing and online slideshow presentations.
Some master's programs require students to attend an intensive summer residency program, where they complete most of their fine art projects; in others, they meet periodically with an assigned mentor in their geographic area. Professors and mentors for distance-learning master's programs are usually successful artists working in the area they teach.
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