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Artists find creative ways to express emotions about the world around us, and there is an exciting variety of careers for those who are open minded and thrive on creative exploration. One of the greatest benefits of being an artist is having an open canvas of opportunity and the freedom to market your work in any path you choose. From pottery or painting to teaching or interior design, MCC provides options for art enthusiasts seeking a career path in fine arts!

Many careers in the visual arts are highly challenging and require the utmost in dedication and perseverance if success is to follow. The rewards are well worth the intense effort, however. You may choose to sell your work as an independent studio artist (ceramicist, painter, sculptor, photographer, etc.) or be part of a design team in an advertising company. The MCC Art Department teaches the history and theory of art, as well as providing practical experiences working with multiple media. Our studio areas encourage collaboration and creativity, as well as creating community. Exhibits in MCC’s Ray Frederick Gallery and visiting artists also inspire our art program and students.

Even if you are not pursuing an art degree, you can still enroll in any of the MCC art classes. In fact, in every art class there are a small group of students pursuing an art degree and the majority of the other students are pursuing careers of other kinds (nursing, business, etc.) but they are taking an art class or two to balance out their schedules, try something new, or do again what they enjoyed in high school. Many of these students do incredible work!

Our Facilities

We have two studios on campus, and the newest is a large, open space with concrete floors ideal for dripping paint and getting really expressive! You will have all the room you need to work as large as you want, and all in great lighting. Oftentimes, our art students will spend time in the studios outside of their regular class schedules.

In the middle of the campus we have the Ray Frederick Art Gallery, where we bring in artists to show their work throughout the academic year. This is a great teaching tool for all students, not just those interested in becoming an artist. We strive to exhibit artists from various backgrounds who have something interesting to say through their art, including former students. Often, we invite visiting artists to talk to the students in my studio classes as part of their visual education. Toward the end of each semester we hold student exhibitions, where every student in our studio classes has work on display … we celebrate what you do!

MCC’s Art Program

  1. two-year Fine Arts Associate of Arts transfer degree (AA) for those who want to transfer their credits and complete a baccalaureate/bachelor’s degree at a university.
  2. A two-year Liberal Arts Associate of Arts transfer degree for those who want to transfer their MCC credits and complete a baccalaureate/bachelor’s degree at a university.

Most MCC art students receive their AA Liberal Arts degree and then transfer to universities or private colleges to continue their art education and earn a BA or BFA degree. Some go into specific areas like graphic design or art education. Others prefer to stay in the fine arts, pursuing a lifelong adventure as an independent studio artist. Whether you are pursuing a degree in the arts or not, MCC has a lot to offer: small college atmosphere, great facilities, small classes in which you get a lot of individual attention, and a chance to grow and develop your own ideas and skills.

The link under Degrees Awarded (below) specifies our program course requirements.

Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State, UNI and Iowa

MCC participates in the Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa to enable MCC students to transfer credits seamlessly to any of the state universities. Participants are dual-enrolled at MCC and the university with access to academic advising and student services at both institutions. The universities guarantee admission into the desired degree program, provided all requirements are met. Ask the MCC Admissions Office for more information!

Art Careers & Job Outlook

Overall employment of artists is projected to grow 6 percent through 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Specific career paths include independent artist (painter, sculptor, photographer, illustrator, ceramicist), art teacher, graphic designer, fashion designer, commercial photographer, art restorer, community art director, art studio manager, textile & fabric designer, architect, landscape architect, furniture designer, product designer, stage designer, gallery/museum director, and more! Whichever path you choose, having a creative career is one of the most rewarding occupations. There is always something new to do, and you are constantly being challenged. Many artists set their own work schedules and often have a kind of freedom that other careers simply don’t offer.

The median annual wage for graphic designers was $50,380 in 2020.

Follow these links to find additional up-to-date information on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook website:

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