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California is the largest state in the U.S. It is home to more major cities than any other place on the map, each with its own energetic art scene. Visit Los Angeles and you’ll find dozens of art museums such as the world-renowned Getty, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Head south to Orange County or San Diego where you’ll find the San Diego Museum of Art and the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) in Newport Beach, or head up north to San Francisco to visit the famous San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) or the de Young Museum which is a work of art in itself.
The Golden State is also home to hundreds of independent art galleries, dozens of design centers, and so many performing art centers you’ll lose count. Artists of all kinds from painters and sculptors to animators and digital artists will find an amazingly supportive community of working artists and as well as a captive audience of consumers.
Besides access to one of the hottest art scenes in the country, both aspiring and working California artists have access to the some of the best art schools and colleges in the world. Just a few top schools for aspiring artists include Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California State University in Long Beach, and California Institute of the Arts in Chapman.
California Art Schools
California is home a whopping 454+ accredited art schools, technical schools, and traditional colleges and universities. This is more than 4 times the national average of 90. Many of these schools offer degrees in Fine Art, Studio Art, Digital Art, and Experimental Art, to name a few. Some offer accelerated 2-year programs, while others offer 4-year programs. Scroll through the list below see what California’s Art schools have to offer.
Biola University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Design Concentration
California State University Long Beach - Degrees Offered: B. A. and B. F. A. in Art with Graphic Design or Illustration Option; M. F. A. Art with Concentration in Studio Art: - Graphic Design or Illustration/Animation Track
Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art - Degrees Offered: BFA Entertainment Art, Certificate Entertainment Art, BFA Fine Art, Certificate Fine Art
Loyola Marymount University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Animation, Studio Arts with Graphic Design Emphasis
California State University Northridge - Degrees Offered: B. A. Animation, Video/ Digital Art, Graphic Design, Illustration; M. A. Art, Studio Art Option with Video/ Digital Art Concentration; Visual Communication Option with Illustration or Video/ Digital Art Concentration; M. F. A. Art, Studio Art Option with Video/Digital Art Concentration; Visual Communication Option with Illustration, Video/Digital Art Concentration or Graphic Design Concentration
Chapman University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Digital Arts with Emphasis in Animation or Visual Effects; Graphic Design; Studio Art: New Genres
Art Center College of Design - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art, Graphic Design, Illustration; B. S. Entertainment Design
University of California San Diego - Degrees Offered: B. A. Studio Art, Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts, Media
California College of the Arts – Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Animation, Graphic Design,
Illustration; M. F. A. Design
San Francisco Art Institute – Degrees Offered: B. F. A Design and Technology, New Genres
San Jose State University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art: Design Studies with emphasis in Graphic Design, B. F. A. Art: Animation/Illustration, B. F. A. Art: Digital Media Art, B. F. A. Graphic Design; M. F. A. Art: Digital Media Art Concentration
University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) - Degrees Offered: B. A. Film and Digital
Media, Art: Electronic/Digital Media; B. S. Computer Science: Computer Game Design; M. F. A. Digital Arts and New Media; Ph. D. Film and Digital Media, Computer Science with focus on Games
California Institute of the Arts - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art, Graphic Design,
Character Animation or Experimental Animation; M. F. A. Graphic Design (with or
without specialization in Motion Graphics), Art and Technology, Experimental
More California Schools with Art related programs:
Selected Campus Locations:
Animation Career Review Rankings:
- Top 25 International Animation Training Programs (#25) - 2022
Employment and Salary Trends for California Artists
California is home to 272,130 artists specializing in everything from fine art to film to
performance art. This figure has increased significantly since 2002, when the population stood at 226,280. The average salary for California artists overall was $51,380 in 2002 and it jumped to $65,370 by 2010. As of 2010, the mean annual wage for artists nationwide was $52,290. In 2002, the average salary was $41,660.
Fine Artists: In 2002, California was home to 940 salaried fine artists. By 2010, the
population had more than tripled to 3,280. Salaries increased significantly as well. In
2002, salaried fine artists earned $43,450. In 2010, they earned $66,720.
Art Directors: In 2002, roughly 2,380 salaried art directors lived in California. By 2010, the population more than doubled to 5,900. Art directors saw a tremendous increase in salaries between 2002 and 2010 as well. In 2002, they averaged $79,900. In 2010, the average salary increased to six figures. That year, art directors averaged $106,330.