Opinion: Should You Get a Master’s Degree in Art?

Each of us has a path that we plan to follow, that we’re expected to follow, and/or that we’re destined to follow. So when I received a question from an artist about pursuing an education in art, my answer wasn’t a simple yes or no. Here’s our Q&A.

Painting by Susan Sims | ArtistsNetwork.com

Artwork by Susan Sims. Published with permission.

Q: I’m curious about getting my Master’s Degree in Art. Would you share your thoughts on whether or not this would be of any benefit to me?! I own my own personal gallery/studio space and I teach private art lessons from kids to adults. I wouldn’t mind teaching at a college. One problem is that the nearest university that offers a graduate program in art is 3-1/2 hours away! As a writer I’m sure you’ve been asked this before but I would love your opinion! This is one of my portraits in oil I did at a workshop taught by Mark Carder. Should I continue my education or continue as I am. ~Susan Sims

A: Dear Susan, My short, honest answer, is that I don’t know, and that it’s not something that I think anyone else can answer for you. I think that first you would need to define “benefit.” As in, would you make more money? No one could say. Or as in, would you feel satisfied in your pursuit of education and the challenge and emotional/mental rewards you would gain? If that’s your goal, then my personal advice would be to go for it. I don’t know of anyone who regretted furthering their education. There are many things to consider though, including the commute, in your case.

Personally, I’m still considering a Master’s in Arts Administration, but am waiting until my kids are older (they’re in 4th and 5th grade). And then, I’m not sure if the investment in tuition would be returned. So in the meantime, I’m content with my B.A., and am working on some exciting side projects in addition to my career. We’ll see.

Your work is beautiful, by the way. I appreciate your asking for my opinion, and I hope this helps at least a little. It’s a hard decision to make, but in the end, my advice is simply to live without regrets. ~Cherie

So there it is. I let Susan know that I would be happy to ask you, the Artists Network community, for your opinion. What advice do you have to offer Susan? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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