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Learn about art

With online courses from edX, you can explore how world cultures have shaped art history. Learn about the differences between classical art and modern art, and study various mediums and styles, from European painting to American poetry.

What is art?

Part of what makes art an exciting field is that it can be challenging to define. Art is a constantly evolving set of practices and mediums. Artists who are celebrated today may have once faced backlash for their unconventional approaches. The same artists whose abstract style may have been ridiculed by critics can now find their work appraised for millions of dollars. The term “art” no longer applies strictly to the principles of the classical period, nor is it restricted to visual art and sculpture. Contemporary art describes a vast range of visual, auditory, and performance-based practices and experiences. 

The contemporary study of art also challenges the West’s historically eurocentric appraisal of artworks, their significance, and their value. Today, students interested in pursuing an art degree may take coursework that focuses on regionally specific art such as African art and Chinese art. And while they may continue to enroll in more traditional fine arts courses that offer drawing lessons and painting classes, many art students also take digital art and design courses. These types of courses can prepare them for a career in graphic design or teach them how to create their own customized online art gallery.

Browse online Art courses

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Art course curriculum

Learners have a range of introductory and intermediate level classes available in the art sphere. Explore traditional Japanese art and culture through the study of Japanese sculpture, Yamato, Ikebana, and Kabuki. Or study the literary arts and learn about the underlying principles of poetry. A traditional art class in a subject such as painting or drawing may focus on the design fundamentals and techniques for a specific medium. Other courses will dive into art history in various eras, movements, and regions around the world.

Additionally, online courses that focus on the business of art administration can prepare learners for management positions in the art industry. Team leaders are needed to manage designers, direct artistic projects, and consult with other companies or team members.

Careers in art

A background in art can lead to many new and exciting job opportunities. In addition to pursuing a career as an artist, individuals could apply an art degree to the management of an art organization as an arts administrator, executive director, or development associate.

Professionals with an undergraduate or secondary degree in art could also pursue careers in teaching at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary school levels, or apply their skills to a museum or gallery as curator or events coordinator. Art backgrounds also lay a foundation for graphic designers, architects, and fashion designers.

Begin your educational journey today and explore how online art courses from edX can advance your career.