With a population of more than 6.4 million, Tennessee is the nation’s seventeenth largest state. This vast state is known for country music, down home cooking, eye-catching attractions, and an art and culture scene that offers many surprises. Stop in Memphis where you’ll find popular art museums such as Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Head to Knoxville to visit the Knoxville Museum of Art, the energetic Jubilee Community Arts Cultural Center or The Bijou Theater Center. Drive down to Nashville to explore Vanderbilt University’s Fine Arts Gallery, Cheekwood Art & Gardens or the magnetic Parthenon.
While Tennessee’s art and culture scene attracts artists of all kinds—including animators, the state’s film and video scene is even more magnetic. For starters, the Tennessee Film, Entertainment, & Music Commission promotes production here by offering film incentives, access to information about training programs, contests, and career and education opportunities. Next, Tennessee is home to a number of studios such as Magnetic Dreams Animation Studio, Zoe Creative Services, and NorthStar Studios. All are located in Nashville—the state’s second largest city.
Many of the state’s animators also work in advertising and marketing. Just a few employment options include FMB Advertising in Knoxville and Paradigm Marketing & Creative in Memphis. Education and technology are also popular industries for Tennessee-based animators. The state has more than 100 Title IV schools to choose from, dozens of community colleges, 1,700+ elementary and secondary schools, and more than 300 computer design and information technology firms in Nashville and Memphis alone.
If a career in animation in the state of Tennessee is something you’d like to pursue, you can get started by enrolling in an animation program. Fortunately, Tennessee is home to several schools that offer competitive programs for aspiring animators. Continue reading to learn more.
Tennessee Animation Schools
According to the most recent Institute of Education Sciences (IES) report (2012), Tennessee is home to 109 Title IV schools. More than 330,000 students attend, with more than 8,600 students enrolled in the state’s top art schools alone. Many Tennessee Title IV schools offer excellent art and design programs. Several of the state’s best schools offer animation programs. Take a look at the list below to review Tennessee’s best options for aspiring animator’s and what they have to offer.
East Tennessee State University – Degrees Offered: B.S. Digital Media with Concentrations in Animation, Visualization, and Interaction & Game Design; M. S. Technology with Digital Media Concentration; B. F. A. Art with Specialization in Graphic Design; M. A. New Media Studio;
M. F. A. with Specialization in Graphic Design
Middle Tennessee State University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Graphic Design, B. S. Electronic Media Communication with Specialization in Digital Animation
Tennessee Animation Schools – Other Options
O’More College of Design - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Visual Communications (The VisCom program at O’More College of Design offers many of the same courses as a typical animation program. Just a few include Animation I, Animation II, Illustration, Motion Graphics, Interactive Design, and Digital Imaging)
The Art Institute of Tennessee - Degrees Offered: B.F.A. Media Arts & Animation, Digital Filmmaking & Video Production
More Tennessee Animation related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Tennessee Animators
According to the most recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (March 27, 2012), Tennessee is home to 120 multimedia artists and animators, down from 260 in 2002. Fortunately, salaries are up. In 2002, Tennessee-based animators averaged $35,030. Today, they average $57,430. It is important to note that the animation industry is filled with freelancers. These individuals may make more or less than the state average based on factors such as industry, education and experience, client-base, company size, location, and more.
While jobs for animators can be found in many cities (and towns) across the state, the best opportunities can be found in major cities. These include Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. Also worth looking into are Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Johnson City, Franklin, and Bartlett.