Find a school near you!
Animation? Design? Game Art?
Studio Art Schools in Virginia
Studio Art is “any type of visual art made in a studio.” A typical studio art program offers a focus in ceramics, drawing, fiber, glass, painting, photography, and printmaking. However, studio art programs allow students to dabble in all areas, and some allow students to focus in multiple areas. Still, others may offer alternative concentrations in digital art, graphic design, or interior design studio, to name a few.
Studio art programs are very similar to standard art programs, but with one interesting twist. As the name suggests, studio art majors spend a significant amount of time in the studio creating art, while art majors must complete a substantial amount of coursework in a classroom setting. The goal of a studio art program is to allow students to learn by doing or through “immersion.”
A good studio art program can prepare students for more than 100 different careers in the art and design industry. It may also prepare students to work in a several other fields that might surprise you. Just a few common career options include cartoonist, ceramic artist, art director, printing designer, animator, airbrush artist, glass blower, mural artists, textile designer, art critic, display artist, art buyer, and graphic arts technician. Some studio artists also work in the legal field, medical, research, science, and in education. Medical illustrator, sketch artist, and modeler are just a few job titles in these areas.
Studio art programs are plentiful at hundreds of art and design schools across the country. A number of prestigious traditional colleges offer programs for artists as well. According to U.S. News & World Report, Yale University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, California Institute of Arts, Carnegie Mellon, California College of Arts, and School of Visual Arts in New York offer some of the best art programs in the country.
In the State of Virginia, dozens of top colleges offer art and design programs—including studio art programs. Just a few of Virginia’s top schools for aspiring artists include Virginia Commonwealth University (U.S. News Ranking #4), Virginia Tech, Marymont University, and Emory & Henry College. Continue reading to find out which Virginia schools offer the best programs for aspiring studio artists.
Virginia Studio Art Schools
According to the most recent report by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the state of Virginia is home to 129 Title IV degree-granting institutions. More than 400,000 students attend, with thousands enrolled in the state’s top art schools alone. Scroll through the list below to find out which Virginia schools are tops for aspiring studio artists and what they have to offer.
Marymount University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art, Graphic Design; B. S. Information Technology with Specialization in Interactive Media; Minor in Illustration, Studio Art, Media and Performance Studies
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) - Degrees Offered: B.A. Film; B.A. with a Concentration in Design and Technology, Cinema Production Studies; B. F. A. Studio Arts with Concentration in Digital Art, Visual Communication & Graphic Design with Concentrations in Creative Technologies, Visual Communication Design, Graphic Design, 3D Animation, and Modeling; M.A. Film; M. F. A. Creative
Bridgewater College - Degrees Offered: B. A., B.S. Art, Studio Art with Specialization in Digital Media, Drawing, Photography, Visual Design; Minor in Art
University of Virginia - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art, Media Studies, Studio Art with Concentration in New Media; Minor in Film, Media Studies
Emory & Henry College – Degrees Offered: B. A. Art, Studio Art, Graphic Design
Eastern Mennonite University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art, Digital Media, Digital Video Production, Digital Communication, Photography; Minor in Art, Digital Communication, Digital Video Production, Photography
James Madison - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Graphic Design, Media Art and Design with Concentration in Digital Video and Cinema
Liberty University - Degrees Offered: B. S. Studio Art, Studio and Digital Arts: Graphic Design, Communication with Cinematic Arts Concentration, Communication Studies with Digital Media Concentration, Visual Communication Arts with Studio Art Concentration; B.S. Web Technology and Design; M.A. Communication Studies with Media and Communication Studies Concentration; Minor in Graphic Design, Photography, Studio Art
Lynchburg College - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art with Studio Art (includes Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Photography); B.A. Art with Emphasis in Graphic Design; B.A. Communications with Electronic Media Focus; Minor in Studio Art
Old Dominion University - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art; B. F. A. Fine Art, Art with Concentration in Graphic Design; Minor Film and Video
Virginia State University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Visual Arts with Concentration in Animation, Graphic Design, Studio Arts; Minor in Animation, Art & Design, Graphic Design, Photography, Web Design
Radford University - Degrees Offered: B.A. Design Culture Design Management; B.S., B. F. A. Studio Art with Photography Emphasis; B. F. A. Graphic Design; M.A. Design Thinking; B.S. Information Science and Systems with Web Development Emphasis; Minor in Cinematic Arts, Design Appreciation
Staunton Mary Baldwin College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Studio Art with Emphasis in Drawing, Extended Media, Graphic Design, Photography, Printmaking; B.A. Art Management, Film Studies, Film Production; Minor in Film Studies, Film Production
Virginia Studio Art Schools – Other Options
Some aspiring artists choose the fine arts major or the art major. As stated, both are similar to the studio art major, but again, studio art majors spend more time in a studio setting rather than a classroom. The following Virginia schools offer art, fine art and/or studio art degrees.
Bluefield College - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art, Graphic Communications; Minor Art
Virginia Intermont College - Degrees Offered: B. A., B. F. A. Art with Concentration in Drawing, Graphic Design, Printmaking; B. F. A. Design and Technology; Minor in Photography + Digital Imaging
Hampton University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Fine Art, Art with Emphasis in Graphic Design; Certificate in Film Studies
Norfolk State University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Fine Arts, Graphic Design; M.A. M.F.A. Visual Studies
Employment and Salary Trends for Virginia Studio Artists
According to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (March 29, 2012) Virginia is home to 49,990 salaried artists and designers, up from 40,780 in 2002. They average $56,940 per year, up from $42,310 in 2002. The “artists and designers” group consists of fine artists (illustrators, painters, sculptors), art directors, photographers, craft artists, animators, and more. This means, average salaries may vary greatly based on specialty area as well as other factors such as education and experience, company, geographic location, and more.
The following information will give you an idea of what to expect in the areas of employment and salary in several popular fields for studio artists.
Art Director: Virginia is home to 560 salaried art directors, up from 400 in 2002. They average $85,950 per year, up from $64,490 in 2002.
Craft Artist: Virginia is home to 70 salaried craft artists averaging $26,340 per year. Salary and employment information for craft artists was not available for years 2002-2008.
Fine Artist: Virginia was home to 220 salaried fine artists in 2002. They averaged $39,810. Today, the state is home to 290, and they average $34,030 per year.
Graphic Designer: Virginia had a population of 3,550 salaried graphic designers in 2002. Today, the state is home to 5,280. Salaries are on the rise as well. In 2002, West Virginia-based graphic designers averaged $38,430. Today, the average salary is $53,950. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “senior designers, who may supervise junior staff or have some decision-making authority that reflects their knowledge of graphic design,” earned a median salary of $60,000.
“Solo designers who freelanced or worked under contract reported median earnings of $57,000. Design directors, the creative heads of design firms or in-house corporate design departments,” earn $95,000. “Graphic designers with ownership or partnership interests in a firm or who are principals of the firm in some other capacity” average $95,000 per year.
It is important to note that the art and design industry (not just graphic design and photography) has an unlimited supply of solo artists. This means, the population is much larger than reported and individual salaries vary greatly. Across the U.S., more than 1.7 million salaried artists and designers work in all fields, up from around 1.5 million in 2002. Salaries are on the rise as well. The mean annual wage for salaried artists and designers nationwide is $53,850, up from $41,660 in 2002.
Multimedia Artist & Animator: Virginia was home to 710 salaried multimedia artists & animators in 2002. Today, the state is home to 470. Salaries are up from $44,230 in 2002 to $57,990 today. It is important to keep in mind that many companies and studios prefer to hire independent contractors rather than hire in-house staff. The Bureau does not report employment figures for independent workers. This means, The Old Dominion State is likely home to hundreds of independent workers with varying income levels.
Photographers: Virginia was home to 1,460 salaried photographers in 2002. They averaged $25,230. Today, the state is home to 1,200 salaried photographers averaging $38,710. Independent photographers dominate the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “more companies contract with freelancers rather than hire their own photographers.” Based on salaries for all independent artists combined, independent contractors (those that work with a single client, but as a contractor) may earn anywhere from $41,210-$51,340 per year. Freelancers and others with multiple clients may average more than $80,000 per year.
Because they work in so many different areas, studio artists can find employment just about anywhere in the state. However, many opportunities can be found in principal cities including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Arlington, Richmond, Newport News, Alexandria, and Hampton. Although smaller, Roanoke and Portsmouth are also well worth looking into as well as Petersburg and Suffolk.
- Find a School
- Animation Programs
- Find Schools with Animation, Design, & Gaming Programs
- Schools & Colleges
- College Outreach
- Alabama - Kentucky
- Alabama Animation Schools
- Alaska Animation Schools
- Arizona Animation Schools
- Arkansas Animation Schools
- California Animation Schools
- Colorado Animation Schools
- Connecticut Animation Schools
- Delaware Animation Schools
- District of Columbia (DC)
- Florida Animation Schools
- Georgia Animation Schools
- Hawaii Animation Schools
- Idaho Animation Schools
- Illinois Animation Schools
- Indiana Animation Schools
- Iowa Animation Schools
- Kansas Animation Schools
- Kentucky Animation Schools
- Louisiana - North Dakota
- Louisiana Animation Schools
- Maine Animation Schools
- Maryland Animation Schools
- Massachusetts Animation Schools
- Michigan Animation Schools
- Minnesota Animation Schools
- Mississippi Animation Schools
- Missouri Animation Schools
- Montana Animation Schools
- Nebraska Animation Schools
- Nevada Animation Schools
- New Hampshire Animation Schools
- New Jersey Animation Schools
- New Mexico Animation Schools
- New York Animation Schools
- North Carolina Animation Schools
- North Dakota Animation Schools
- Ohio - Wyoming
- Ohio Animation Schools
- Oklahoma Animation Schools
- Oregon Animation Schools
- Pennsylvania Animation Schools
- Rhode Island Animation Schools
- South Carolina Animation Schools
- South Dakota Animation Schools
- Tennessee Animation Schools
- Texas Animation Schools
- Utah Animation Schools
- Vermont Animation Schools
- Virginia Animation Schools
- Washington Animation Schools
- West Virginia Animation Schools
- Wisconsin Animation Schools
- Wyoming Animation Schools
- Careers in Animation
- Animation Firm Profiles
- Software & Technology