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Fine Arts Schools in Tennessee
Tennessee is famous for everything from cotton production to country music. In fact, according to Marchex, Inc. (the publishers of 50States.com), Bristol, TN is known as the Birthplace of Country Music and The Memphis Cotton Exchange handles approximately one-third of the entire American cotton crop each year. In the world of music, the state has produced icons such as Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Bessie Smith, and Dolly Parton and it boasts some of the biggest (and most unusual) attractions in the U.S.
According to Marchex, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States and Reelfoot Lake is the reputed "Turtle Capital of the World." In addition, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry is the longest continuously running live radio program in the world. It has broadcast every Friday and Saturday night since 1925.
Besides the best in country music and cool attractions, Tennessee has a lively art and culture scene filled with renowned museums, top performance venues, and galleries galore. Head to Memphis where you’ll find popular art museums such as Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Drive to Nashville where you’ll find The Parthenon, Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, and Cheekwood Art & Gardens. Stop by Knoxville to explore a popular spot for contemporary art lovers—The Knoxville Museum of Art or visit the bustling Jubilee Community Arts Cultural Center or The Bijou Theater Center.
While Tennessee has made its mark in the world of music, attractions, and art and culture, the state also has a stellar reputation in the academic world. Some of the state’s most prestigious universities include Vanderbilt University, Sewanee: The University of the South, Rhodes College, and Belmont University. Continue reading to find out which Tennessee schools offer the best programs for aspiring fine artists.
Tennessee Fine Arts Schools
Tennessee is home to 109 Title IV colleges and universities. More than 330,000 attend, with over 8,600 enrolled in the state’s top art schools alone. Just a few of the state’s best schools for artists include Watkins College of Art, Design & Film (Nashville), O’More College of Design (Franklin), and Belmont University (Nashville). Scroll through the list below to learn more about Tennessee’s top fine art schools and what they have to offer.
Memphis College of Art (MCA) – Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Animation, Digital Cinema, Digital Media, Photography; B. F. A. in Fine Arts with concentrations in Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture; B. F. A. in Design Arts with concentrations in Digital Media, Graphic Design, Illustration, Sequential Narrative
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film – Degrees Offered: B. A. Art; B. F. A. Fine Art, Film, Graphic Design with Concentration in Illustration or Web Design
Tennessee Fine Arts Schools – Other Options
A typical undergraduate art program features many of the same courses that a fine art program offers. This means, art graduates and fine art graduates are qualified for many of the same jobs. The State of Tennessee is home to several schools that offer excellent programs for aspiring artists that may also be attractive for aspiring fine artists. They include:
Austin Peay State University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Concentration in Visual Communications, Studio Arts with Concentration in Digital Media, Illustration
Johnson City East Tennessee State University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Specialization in Graphic
University of Memphis - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Concentration in Graphic Design; M. F. A. Graphic Design
Employment and Salary Trends for Tennessee Fine Artists
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tennessee was home to 25,390 salaried artists and designers as of March 2012. In 2002, The Volunteer State was home to 24,780 salaried artists and designers. They average $45,380 per year, up from $36,200 in 2002. Salaries and employment growth vary by company, job title, geographic location, education and experience, and more. For example, Tennessee-based fine artists average $53,480 per year, while Washington-based fine artists average $64,090.
The following information should give you an idea of potential earnings and employment growth for several popular careers in the art industry.
Art Director: Tennessee is home to 280 salaried art directors. In 2002, the state was home to 370. While this loss may seem significant, it is important to note that most of the loss occurred between 2002 and 2008. Between 2008 and today, the state lost just 20 salaried art directors. Fortunately, salaries have increased greatly since 2002. In 2002, the average salary was $45,030. Today, Tennessee-based art directors average $86,570.
Art Teacher (Postsecondary): Tennessee is home to 2,260 postsecondary art teachers, up from 1,540 in 2002. Tennessee-based art teachers average $51,580, up from $43,530 in 2002.
Craft Artist: According to the latest figures available at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tennessee was home to 220 craft artists in 2008. They averaged $34,370. It is important to note that many craft artists are self-employed, so salaries may be more or less based on industry, client-base, location, and more.
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