We here at Fine Art like to encourage you to follow your dreams.
The beginning of a new year is a good time to set goals, like learning different skills or updating what you already know. For those of you working in the fine arts, there is a wide variety of online courses to help you become better at what you do.
Many of these courses are free, and only require registration.
For the visual arts, since it is a visual practice, most education is conducted on site, either in a lab, studio or lecture hall. But surprisingly enough, there are several virtual courses geared for the arts professionals, ranging from business courses to the philosophy of aesthetics.
If you want to open an art gallery, there are numerous business courses to help you learn how to set up your own small business.Entrepreneurship & Business Course by Mark Juliano is similar to a class he teaches at Carnegie Mellon University. The course teaches how to start a company, write a business plan, make a presentation to investors, etc.
The About Guide to Business Majors has a comprehensive listing of business courses.
NatWest Bank has a free Business Start Up Course which explains how to start or grow a business.
Art Historians and Art Critics
Art historians and art critics benefit from having a strong knowledge in philosophy and aesthetics. University of Oxford lecture series Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art is conducted by James Grant. He discusses the ideas of western philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant.
There are plenty of curatorial schools and programs available for the aspiring art curator. However, no one has yet developed an online curator course.
Art Museum and Art Auction Professionals
The online courses available for those who work in museums or art auction houses fall into two distinct categories: Business and Art History (see the above links). To go into this field, it is recommended to enroll in Museum Studies at a university.
Working with art directly such as when appraising a painting, or researching its chemical composition for conservation purposes, then you’ll need to be in the gallery or the lab with the specific artwork. However, there are still a few online courses available for both appraisers and conservators to help learn the tools of the trade.
The Appraisers Association of America works with New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) and offers a Certificate in Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts.
Art conservators can learn Organic Spectroscopy which is offered by UC Irvine. Students will learn about how to examine organic molecules with mass spectrometry and other tools.
Artists can always develop their skills. Here is a good tutorial from Drawing at About.com.