What Are The Top Art Schools?

Rankings are always tricky. Rating the top art schools depends on the criteria of the one or ones doing the judging and possibly whether or not they have some sort of connection or vested interest in placing certain schools where they place them. Cronyism aside and imagining a perfect world of total objectivity, a one-size-fits-all rating system would only work in a world where artists are determined ahead of time in a test tube and everyone is a homogenous clone. But then you have to wonder if art and creative expression would even really exist in such a utopian society.

So, back to the present day reality, a single specific answer to the question, "What are the top art schools?" generally does a disservice to the needs of the individual student. As with stereo components, it depends entirely on priority and application. The top school for music and performing arts will likely not be the top school for commercial and visual arts. Even within a single category, the "best" art school will still depend on the needs and priorities of the student.

There are a number of organizations and publications willing to give it a shot, though, and their conclusions can be easily found on the Internet. However, it is best to consider these ratings simply a starting point, as they can be quite misleading. Remember that higher education is funded primarily by the students who attend said facilities. No students, no school. No school, no over-paid faculty incapable of working in the real world. (Oops. Did I say that out loud?) And that, that certainly does not apply to all art school faculty members.

The first thing you need to determine is what you plan to do with an art education. There are many and varied career choices. The art career or occupation you want will be one of the most important deciding factors in your own personal ranking system.

For instance, if you're already working in the art field of your choice (or close to it) and all you need is a piece of paper, then you can probably get what you need from a local community college or state university. Depending on the state, that may be a less expensive way to get that piece of paper than going to a dedicated art school.

If, on the other hand, you're gunning for a particular possibly prestigious position in a well-known art gallery, it would serve you well to work backwards. Find out what they consider the top art schools and which of those they most often hire graduates from. In other words, which art school degree will get your resume to the top of the stack?

Your choice may also come down to economics. What can you afford; what kind of financial aid is available; and what are you chances of a reasonable pay off?

In the end, you are the judge. You will have to determine what the top art schools are for you and make the best choice for you. After all, individuality is the very pulse of art.

Dallas Commercial Real Estate Market Does A Rebound

Dallas City in Texas continues to experience steady growth in its real estate industry notably on the commercial side. This is not really a wonder as Dallas is a large city which accommodates several huge industries consisting of the petroleum, transportation, banking, information technology and telecommunications sectors. But despite the growing economy, Dallas remains to be among the most affordable cities in the U.S., according to Forbes.

The Dallas Texas real estate industry has also maintained its momentum since it began experiencing its booming days back in the 1980s. The Dallas commercial real estate including the big buildings and skyscrapers was a major growth factor. In addition, the Dallas metroplex accommodates numerous high-end shopping centers more than that of any other city or state in the U.S.

Experts reveal that the commercial real estate market in Dallas is in great condition compared to the residential properties. In terms of foreclosure, the percentage of Dallas office space, apartment, industrial and retail buildings is very small. This is due to the fact that commercial companies almost always have the financial resources to carry out their expansion and construction projects.

Dallas is seen to continue being a commercial real estate hub in the many years to come. Currently, new construction projects of condos and townhouses are widespread around this booming city. The other good news is that many of the office spaces previously available in Dallas have already been occupied or pre-leased. The central business district of the city has reduced its office vacancy rate to 24 percent as of end of September 2007.

The year 2007 has proved to be favorable for the Dallas commercial real estate sector. Latest reports from Cushman & Wakefield say office tenants that have been expanding and relocating have leased 1.5 million square feet more of office space in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the first half of the year. The third quarter net leasing has also soared nearly 90 percent from totals in mid-2007. A recent report by Delta Associates showed that Dallas-Fort Worth is seen to accommodate an average of 4.8 million square feet of office space each year until 2010.

As for construction, an estimated 6.9 million square feet of office space is now being built in Dallas-Fort Worth as of the middle of 2007 and this is bigger than in 2006. Of the estimated office space being constructed, more than 40 percent is already pre-leased. Rents have also risen to seven percent from the 2006 rates. Third quarter figures show that office rents averaged $19.42 per square foot while rents for medical office space rose 12 percent to $24.4 percent.

With all these positive developments going on, the future of Dallas commercial real estate is indeed looking bright. Many real estate investment firms are seeing a low vacancy rate and substantial rent gains this 2007. Developers are also projected to provide 2.6 million square feet of office space by the end of the year while building owners are expected to ask for higher rents as a result of lower vacancy. The reduction in vacancies is being attributed to the surge in employment by 3.2 percent covering more than 900,000 jobs by year end.

How to Find Affordable Automobile Insurance in Arizona

Finding affordable automobile insurance for your Arizona vehicle may not be a difficult as you think. Shop around on the Internet for alternative quotes from various companies.

There are discounts and savings that you may not be aware of as follows:

1. Multi-Line Discount: Insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders that have more than one line of insurance coverage with them. Seek insurance quotes from the insurance company that is currently writing your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy. Be sure to make them aware that you have other lines of coverage placed with them, especially if you’re seeking quotes over the internet.

2. Non-smokers: Non-smokers are a more favorable risk to insurance companies than non-smokers. Now would be a good time to kick the habit for both your health and your pocket.

3. Vehicle Safety Features: Newer vehicles come equipped with airbags and automatic seatbelts. These features and others like anti lock brakes will server to lower your auto premiums.

4. Higher Deductibles: How much can you afford to pay out of pocket in the event of a collision or comprehensive loss? If you can afford to pay the first $500 or even $1,000, you will earn a premium discount for the higher deductible. Get alternative quotes with various deductibles. Make sure the premium savings is worth the extra out of pocket expense. Remember, the deductible applies to each loss, not just the first one.

5. Accident Free: How is your driving record? If you have a clean driving record without accident or points, ask your insurance company for a clean driver discount. Companies may call it by different names, but make sure you specifically ask the question how much is my clean driving record saving me?

6. Multiple Auto: Insuring two vehicles with one insurance company is cheaper than two separate policies. If you have more than one vehicle, it only makes sense to cover them under the same policy.

Fashion Jewelry Facts and Care Tips

Why we love fashion jewelry?

Fashion jewelry, also referred to as costume jewelry, is a fun and inexpensive way to express your individual style. Its low cost composition means that it is easy to get your moneys worth of use out of it and allows for a much greater variety of bolder, attention grabbing styles and colors that can be mixed and matched according to your mood or wardrobe.

Caring for your fashion jewelry

Although fashion jewelry doesn’t require much of an investment, it is still important to get the most bang for your buck by taking proper care of your costume jewelry by following a few simple steps:

- NEVER allow fashion jewelry to come in contact with oils, soaps, perfumes, or any harsh chemicals which can fade or even ruin the item.

- ALWAYS remove jewelry before sports, swimming, exercising, washing hands, showering, cleaning, doing laundry, or applying lotions or creams.

- NEVER store jewelry wet. Always dry with a soft cloth before storing.

- When cleaning, be gentle! Use a soft toothbrush and jewelry cleaner that specifically states that it is safe for costume jewelry. Make sure it does not contain acid, alcohol, or ammonia. Only use jewelry cleaner as directed. DO NOT over scrub.

- Store jewelry in a plastic ziploc bag or soft jewelry pouch away from other objects and jewelry items to avoid scratching.

- Store jewelry in a clean, dry, cool, not cold place away from heat and dust.

- Use a jewelry cloth for buffing.

- Regularly check for loose stones.

Fashion jewelry typically consists of three elements:

1. A base alloy such as brass, nickel, aluminum, tin or a combination of metals that has been altered to resemble more precious metals such as silver, gold, or platinum. This is achieved by a variety of methods including:

· tone: Have you ever heard of fashion jewelry that is referred to as silver or gold tone? This means just what the name implies. Tone refers to the color of the metal only. Gold and silver tone jewelry are silver and gold in color but contain no actual gold or silver.

· electroplating: This is probably the most common method. In this process an electric current is used to deposit a thin layer, as little as 2 micro inches (a micro inch is one millionth of an inch) onto the base alloy metal which is immersed in a salt bath solution of the precious metal that will be used to plate the object.

· layering: This method also utilizes the process of electroplating. However, the plated object is immersed for a longer period of time allowing for a much thicker layer of precious metal to be deposited. Layered gold or silver consists of approximately 20-50 micro inches of gold or silver. Although it doesn’t sound like much. This thicker layer results in a much more durable, longer lasting jewelry piece.

· overlay: This method utilizes heat rather than electricity to combine the base metal with the precious metal to form a new alloy. This creates a permanent bond between the metals which creates jewelry that can be as durable and long lasting as the real thing with proper care. Gold overlay jewelry is also sometimes referred to as gold filled. It is generally safer for sensitive skin than costume jewelry made by other methods.

· Technibond: This is considered to be one of the most desirable methods of gold plating because it uses a full 40 micro inches of 14kt gold over .925 sterling silver rather than a typical base alloy. It is the best of both worlds.

· vermeil: This is the top of the line in gold plating. This method uses as much as 100 micro inches of gold over .925 sterling silver and as you can expect is also a bit pricier. It may be worth it for someone looking for something closer to the real thing without paying the exorbitant price for solid gold.

2. Man made stones such as cubic zirconia, crystals, rhinestone, glass, or epoxy are the second component of most fashion jewelry The most popular of which is cubic zirconia because of its physical characteristics. It is used to create simulated versions of precious gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Its sparkly appeal and inexpensive price tag allow for much larger, more glitzy fashion pieces that instantly attract attention. Colored glass can also be used to simulate precious stones and faux pearls. Rhinestone and crystal jewelry is also popular because of its glitzy appeal and color choices. Epoxy and acrylic are plastics that is often used to make inexpensive bead jewelry.

Although typical fashion jewelry consists of man made stones sometimes natural crystals and semiprecious stones such as pearls, topaz, black opal, amethyst, or peridot is used to provide a more fine jewelry appeal.

3. Fashion jewelry may also consist of unusual materials such as wood, stone, and shell which can be either natural or colored.