San Antonio's Southwest School of Arts, formerly the Southwest School of Art and Craft, has now been approved to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, becoming the first accredited free standing College of Art in Texas, Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason reports.

  The school's Paula Owen says obtaining accreditation was not a simple process.

  "Well, it takes a lot of people working hard on curriculum and systems and fundraising," she said.

  The McNay Art Museum's Art Institute, which attempted a similar accreditation program, closed its doors back in the 1990s.

  Owen says the degree program will allow students to follow several degree paths.

  "They will also be able to concentrate on one specific area or another," she said, adding that degree courses will be offered in photography, sculpture, integrated media, painting and drawing, and ceramics.

  Contrary to the 'starving artist' image, Owen says having a degree with emphasis on the arts is a major selling point in today's economy.

  "The Texas Workforce Commission shows that the rate of growth for professions in the arts is actually growing faster than some of the other sectors," she said.