Texas has a thriving art and design scene that features some of the regions top art venues and one of the largest populations of salaried artists and designers in the country. Unique art scenes can be found all over the state from Amarillo to Houston, but many of the state’s most visited venues can be found in mega-cities such as San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Austin. Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts and The Menil Collection are popular, while organizations such as the Houston Civic Arts Association, Houston Arts Society (HAS), and The Society for the Performing Arts are the glue that helps hold it all together.
The San Antonio Museum of Art is one of the most coveted venues in the city, while The Grand Tobin Center for the Performing Arts is expected to open as early as 2014. While the state’s large cities attract millions each year, several smaller cities have made their mark over the years. Places such as Galveston and Brazosport are home to dozens of fine art galleries and other unique art venues. In Brazosport you’ll find The Center for the Arts & Sciences which features natural history exhibits, art galleries, a theater and performing arts venue, a planetarium, and manicured nature trails.
Go to Galveston for great food and stay for awhile to explore the Galveston Arts Center (GAC). Incorporated in 1986, GAC is located in Galveston’s Historic Strand District in the 1878 First National Bank Building. This art center is the city’s “only visual arts organization in Galveston with a permanent location, a rotating exhibition schedule with free admission at all times and a professional full-time staff.” It is home to an art education center, several galleries, the long-running ArtWalk program, and ArtWorks (retail gallery).
In addition to a growing art and design scene, Texas (the nation’s second most populous state) is home to the country’s fourth largest collection of Title IV schools. What’s even better is a large number of the state’s whopping 252 colleges offer some of the best art and design programs in the U.S. Just a few top art and design schools include Texas State University School of Art & Design in San Marcos, Texas Tech University of Lubbock, and the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio. These schools also happen to house their very own art museums. Continue reading to find out which schools offer the best programs for aspiring designers.
Texas Design Schools
Texas has such a diverse collection of schools that it’s easy to find the perfect school for even the most particular design student. Some art and design schools are freestanding, while others are part of a larger college or university. Scroll through the list below to review Texas’s best schools for aspiring designers and what they have to offer.
University of Texas at Austin - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art, B. F. A. Studio Art, Design, Visual Art, Design; B.S. Radio-TV-Film; M. F. A. Design
Texas A&M University Commerce - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Visual Communication Arts with Emphasis in Art Direction, Design, Illustration/Copywriting, New Media or Photography, B.A., B.S. Media Studies; Film (Minor)
University of Texas at Dallas - Degrees Offered: B. A. Arts and Technology with Animation, Computer Game Development, Design or Design and Digital Arts Track; Emerging Media and Communication, Film Studies, Visual Arts; M. A., M. F. A. Arts and Technology with Animation, Computer Game Development, Design or Design and Digital Arts Track, M. A. Emerging Media and Communication; Ph.D. Arts and Technology with Animation, Computer Game Development, Design or Design and Digital Arts Track
University of North Texas - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Communication Design, Visual Art and Design (Visual Art Studies), Studio Art with Concentration in New Media Art, Drawing, Photography; B.A. Radio-Television-Film (RTVF); M. F. A. Design with Concentration in Innovation Studies, New Media Art
University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Studio Art with Design, Graphic Design Focus
Sam Houston State University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Emphasis Advertising and Graphic Design, Computer Animation, Drawing, Photography, Printmaking
More Texas Design related programs to consider:
Employment and Salary Trends for Texas Designers
According to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (March 29, 2012), Texas is home to a large community of salaried artists and designers, and thousands of independent contractors and freelancers. The Lone Star State is home to 106,350 salaried artists and designers, up from 84,040 in 2002. They average $45,730 per year, up from $36,780 in 2002.
The “artists and designers” group consists of fine artists (illustrators, painters, sculptors), art directors, photographers, craft artists, animators, media artist, and more. This means, average salaries may vary greatly based on job title well as other factors such as education and experience, company, geographic location, and more. The following are just a few career fields for aspiring designers.
Art Director: Texas had a population of 1,260 art directors in 2002. Today, the state is home to 1,590. In 2002, Texas-based art directors averaged $63,020. Today, the average salary is $76,130.
Communication Designer: The average salary for a communications designer working in the Dallas-Plano-Irving metro area is $65,840 (the 5th highest in the U.S.), and the average salary for the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metro area is $55,520 (10th highest). Employment for Texas-based media and communications professionals has increased since 2008, from 260 to 350 today. Salaries are on the rise as well. In 2008, the average salary for Texas-based media and communications professionals was $47,430. Today, the average salary is $54,710.
Graphic Designer: Texas is home to 10,780 are graphic designers, up from 8,610 in 2002. They earn an average salary of $45,570, up from $40,050 in 2002.
Multimedia Artist/Animator: Texas is home to 1,790 salaried multimedia artists & animators. They average $57,160 per year, up from $42,560 in 2002. Although Texas was home to 2,990 salaried multimedia artists in 2002, the state still has one of the nations largest populations of salaried multimedia artists & animators.
As stated, the art and design industry as a whole is filled with freelancers and independent contractors. This means, the population is much larger than reported. Just think, the U.S. is home to well over 1.7 million artists and designers, and millions of independent creatives. The average salary for a full-time employee is $53,850, while independent artists average $82,870 per year. Based on a multitude of factors from client list to location, some independent artists may earn more than $100,000 per year, while others may average as little as $25,000 per year.
Opportunities for both salaried and independent designers can be found in many Texas cities and towns. However, some of the best opportunities can be found in major cities. Start with Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin. Next, try Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi, and Plano. Smaller places such as Brazosport, Galveston, and Odessa are also well worth exploring.