What makes an art school an art school?
The general definition is an educational institution with a primary focus on the visual arts. This involves sculptures, paintings, graphic design, etc… Although they could also involve other arts such as acting, poetry, music, writing, and dance.
Which art school was believed to be the first?
The first art school was believed to be Accademia degli Incamminati which means Acadamy of the progressives. . It was founded by Lodovico Carracci and his cousins in 1585 in Bologna, Italy. He was inspired by his younger cousins who were painters. Carracci worked under the painter Prospero Fontana and after traveled to Florence, Parma and Venice. Thats when he decided to open the art school with his cousins.The school was originally called Accademia del Naturale or academy of nature because it was originally made to stimulate students to paint nature in its true form. Then the school changed its name to Accademia dei Desiderosi which translates to the academy of the eager because every artist should be eager. Finally the name changed to what is now and remained that way. The school became highly progressive and influential. Caravacci and his cousins trained leading Italian artists of the time, including Guido Reni and Domenichino.The teaching techniques of the Carracci's’ academy were based on frequent observation of nature, the study and revision of poses from life, and boldness of scale in drawing figures with chalk. The purpose of this private school of artists was to ensure extensive training and not only in art but also in other activities considered minor at the time. The personal goals of the three cousins was to keep and embrace the classical tradition of Raphael, the Venetian coloring, the manner of Michelangelo and the experience of many painters from Emilia and Lombardy.Accademia degli Incamminati.jpgAccademia Degli Incamminati
Weren’t there always art schools and did artists always go to them?
The answer to the first question is an obvious no. Our old ancestors who made cave art and who sang in rituals didn’t have the “luxury” of going to art schools. They used what was around them and passed down their skills to the next generation and it continued that way for a long time. Only around when empires and nation states did some sort of teaching occur but they weren’t schools. It was through an apprenticeship sometimes with just one student and sometimes with many. This commonplace during the time. To answer the second question, no, not all artists went to schools. Later on art schools were opened up but they were nothing like to today. They were very expensive and mostly for the elite. Art was not really taught at a young age. Artist had to teach themselves, become an apprentice or be part of the elite. A lot of artists had to be sponsored to stay afloat. Most artists were not fully recognized for their beautiful pieces of art until after their death. Only fairly recently art was taught in schools whether the student was good or bad at art.
Which artists didn’t go to art school?
Michelangelo is one of these artists. He was an apprentice to a painter and frequently visited the Medici family’s sculpture gardens in Florence. After a year he was given fantastic opportunities and eventually had art commissioned by Pope Julius II for the pope’s tomb and for the Sistine Chapel.
Vincent Van Gogh is another artist that didn’t go to school and was one of the leaders (although unknowingly) of the post-impressionist movement. He got into art by selling art in galleries. He taught himself how to paint through books like Travaux des Champs by Jean- Francois Millet and Cours de Dessin by Charles Bargue. Although Van Gogh did not live to see himself become a celebrated artist his mother lived long enough to see her son become famous and he has remained that way today. He is hailed as a genius and a wonderful artist.
cafe-terrace-at-night.jpgVincent Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night

Leonardo DaVinci became an apprentice under the skilled artist, Verrocchio, at age fourteen. he learned a wide range of artistic skills and became part of a guild at age 20. His skills and pure genius expanded past art and into science; even though he could not see the clear boundary between the two. His ideas were extremely futuristic.
You don’t have to go to an art school to be an artist.
Which artists went to art schools?
Georgia O’Keeffe went to the Art Institute of Chicago. After her husband died she moved to New Mexico and was inspired by the landscape. Her works can be seen all over in museums and are very popular.
Cindy Sherman is another artist who went to school to study art. She went to SUNY Buffalo for painting but later switched her major to photography. After she graduated she started one of her most famous works Untitled Film Stills.
CindySherman-Untitled-Film-Still-21-1978.jpgCindy Sherman's Untiltled Film Stills
Pablo Picasso was originally taught by his father who was an art teacher. He neglected his schoolwork and sketched instead. When he was fourteen years old he applied to Barcelona, Spain’s School of Fine Arts. While in school he got tired of the same classical paintings and sculptures and broke away creating cubism and influencing many artists after him.
guernica_painting_by_pablo_picasso_3200x1200.jpgPablo Piccaso's Guernica

How important is art in schools?
Everyone knows how important art is but what are the exact benefits of a student learning art in school before going to a school specifically for art? Researchers after conducting extensive research determined that students who received more arts education did better on standardized tests, improved their social skills and were more motivated. Students that are low privileged have a better chance of succeeding and closing the gap with their privileged counterparts. Researchers have also found that since students were earning higher grades the teachers were affected positively. Teachers were happier, enjoyed greater job satisfaction, were more interested in their work and likely to be innovative and pursued personal development experiences.
Apprenticeship versus art schools and what it’s like today.
Apprenticeship was commonplace during the renaissance through the late 1700s. Most apprentices were males and had to work hard under their master grounding up pigments, getting wood ready to be painted on and other tasks. When their skills start to grow they are able to sketch, copy paintings and do the simple art creating tasks under the watchful eye of the master. Slowly the apprentice gets to do more and learns new valuable skills until they themselves are masters at art. Unlike today, artist then had patrons that commissioned artwork and sponsored them that's how most artists got by without starving. Today most people go to art schools or learn by themselves.
Art Schools were for the skilled and wealthy. If you were poor you had to be the best of the best most of the time to be accepted into the school. However it is a different story for today’s schools. Students learn art from a very young age whether they want to or not. Depending on the school depends on how long they continue to learn art. Art in schools can range from (again depending on the school ) to the basic fundamentals of art, to music, to photography. if the student wishes they can continue their education in college to become artists. Today artist can create what they choose and display it in galleries for it to be sold. Today life as an artist can be hard so some people are an artist on the side of their main job.