What to Look Forward to in Your First Year as a Studio Art Major

Kaylee

Early Oil Paintings by BFA Student Kaylee Reynolds.

As I approached my first year as a Studio Art major, I was enthusiastic about being able to call myself an art student. Prior to college, I had never been fully able to dedicate all my academic efforts towards art.

"For me, it was exciting that virtually all the classes in the first year would be art related. For some this may sound daunting, but there really is so much to look forward to in your first year as a Studio Art major at NYU. "

BFA Student Kaylee Reynolds at The Met Museum in her first year.
BFA Student Kaylee Reynolds at The Met Museum in her first year.

Here Are Five Things to Look Forward to in Your First Year as a Studio Art Major

1. Because it is termed the “foundation year,” you’ll get to try a lot of different mediums in art.

You’ll take 2D Fundamentals, a drawing class, more or less. Still, feel free to get your feet wet. Art really has little to no boundaries, so you could very much do some painting or printmaking in this class too! You’ll also take:

  • 3D Fundamentals, a sculpture class, where you will create art from wood, metal, soft sculpture, ceramics etc.
  • 4D Fundamentals, yes, you read that right, 4D. This will mainly be a video and sound based class, where you will explore the concept of time in art.
  • Color, which is where I really honed my painting skills, and fun fact: the first time I used oil paint

And of course, you will also take a few introductory art theory and history classes.

Oil Painting by BFA Student Kaylee Reynolds in her first year, 2016.
Oil Painting by BFA Student Kaylee Reynolds in her first year, 2016.

Taking all these classes so early on in my first year as a Studio Art major exposed me to so many possibilities that I had previously never explored. It was nice to not feel boxed into one medium, and instead get to explore them all! Some were definitely challenging. Side note: I had no experience in any sort of woodworking or metalsmithing (yikes!). But no worries, you get tutorials on everything! In other classes, I honed my skills. I quickly found that of all the mediums, I was most passionate about painting, photo, and design. I’ve since continued to explore these mediums in more depth.

2. You spend so much time in your first year taking so many art classes, that you really get close to the students in your program.

During this first year is when the foundation of the studio art community is built. Soon you’ll all be spreading your wings and taking classes at every other school in the university. A lot of people choose to take on cross-school minors, or even double majors after that first year.

BFA Students in the Studio Art program.
BFA Students in the Studio Art program.

3. You’ll see exhibitions, visit galleries and museums—and this will continue for the rest of your time in the program.

You can’t study art if you don’t go see it right? Also, a lot of museums are either free or pay as you wish with your NYU ID!

Pipilotti Rist's Pixel Forest at the New Museum, 2016.
Pipilotti Rist's Pixel Forest at the New Museum, 2016.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

4. You’ll probably get lost a few times in the Art building.

But that’s okay! Soon, it will feel like home, as you’ll definitely spend a few long days and nights there. The Barney Building will become your home, until of course, your Senior Year in the program, when you get your own studio!

NYU Steinhardt's Barney Building
NYU Steinhardt's Barney Building.
Entrance of the Barney Building.
Entrance of the Barney Building.

5. And if you’re an international student like myself, and this is your first time in New York, you will probably spend every other weekend in your first year visiting all the touristy spots.

Top of the Rock, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty—take notes people, you need to visit all these places at least once to officially become a New Yorker (joking, ha!). Of course, you’ll probably also be busy taking pictures at every artsy spot in the city and beyond, because you’re an art major, duh.

BFA Student Kaylee Reynolds at the Brooklyn Bridge.
BFA Student Kaylee Reynolds at the Brooklyn Bridge.

All this, combined with the excitement of starting a new chapter in your life, is an unmatched experience. You’ll want to take advantage of every single second of it. I’m excited for you to flourish as artists!