The District of Columbia (Washington, The District or DC) is home to some of the nation’s finest universities. Georgetown, George Washington University, and American University are just a few. While the Districts’ academic institutions attract thousands of students annually, the arts and culture scene here attracts millions of visitors each year. In fact, in 2014, DC set an all-time record of 20.2 million visitors. Besides the White House, major points of interest include the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle, The Kreeger Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The National Portrait Gallery, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Arena Stage.
For aspiring animators, a thriving arts and culture scene is certainly a major draw. However, access to some of the nation’s best art and design schools at an affordable price is top priority. Fortunately, the DC-area is home to several schools that fit the bill and because they have Title IV status, these schools are eligible for federal financial-aid programs. This makes them accessible to aspiring artists that need help meeting tuition costs.
Most Expensive DC Animation Schools
Georgetown University (Georgetown College), DC – Tuition Cost: Undergraduate $49,968 for the 2016-2017 school year
Corcoran College of Art + Design, DC – Tuition Cost: Undergraduate $32,875.50 for the 2015-2016 school year
Howard University, DC – Tuition Cost: Undergraduate $22,737 for the 2015-2016 school year
American University, DC – Tuition Cost: Undergraduate $21,278 for the 2015-2016 school year
Least Expensive DC Animation Schools
The Art Institute of Washington, Arlington, VA – Tuition Cost: $5,956 (per quarter based on 12 credits).
The Art Institute of Washington, Washington-Dulles, VA – Tuition Cost: $5,832 (per quarter based on 12 credits).
George Mason University, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Fairfax, VA - Tuition Cost: Residents $5,376 (12-16 credit hours), non-residents $15,699 (12-16 credit hours)
More Animation related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
District of Columbia Animation Scene
So, you already know a bit about DC’s arts and culture scene and the best schools for aspiring animators. Now let’s talk about Washington’s film and animation scene. First, the state capitol attracts dozens of productions each year. Just a few major productions (from yesterday and today) include Jason Bourne (release date July 29, 2016), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Argo (2012), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), X-Men: First Class (2011), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), Mission Impossible III (2006), XXX: State of the Union (2005), Minority Report (2002), Absolute Power (1997), Air Force One (1997), Independence Day (1996), The American President (1995), In the Line of Fire (1993), Patriot Games (1992), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and JFK (1991).
Next, the DC-area is home to dozens of small to mid-sized animation and production studios as well as a number of creative agencies that hire animators to produce animations for commercials, games, videos, mobile apps, and more. Just a few options include:
- APCO Worldwide, DC
- Bethesda Softworks, Rockville, MD (18 miles)
- D2 Productions, Marlborough, Maryland, (19 miles)
- Discovery Communications, Silver Spring, MD (6.2 miles)
- Flipbook Productions, DC
- LMO Advertising, Arlington, VA (5.2 miles)
- National Geographic, DC
- O’Keefe Communications, DC
- PCM Animation Studios, Silver Spring, MD
- Pigmental Studios, DC
- Pixeldust Studios, Bethesda MD (6.9 miles)
- Porter Novelli, DC
- Screenscope, DC
- Travel Channel, Chevy Chase, MD (9 miles)
- Vogt Productions, DC
- Zenimax Media, Rockville, MD (18 miles)
Finally, Washington, DC is home to 32,270 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. The District has the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation. These professionals average $87,420 per year, making DC the highest paying state in this occupation as well. Of this group, around 90 are salaried animators and multimedia artists averaging $74,230 per year. This makes DC the fifth highest paying state for this profession.
Awesome Animation Fact: Willis O’Brien (1886-1962) was a special effects artist for motion pictures. Released in 1925, O’Brien’s first feature film project, The Lost World, included a number of stop motion animation sequences including a stop motion Pteranodon, an Allosaurus, and a Brontosaurus who rampaged through London and destroyed Tower Bridge. The artists extraordinary work on the film landed him another major production—King Kong (1933), Son of King Kong (1933), and Mighty Joe Young (1949) for which he received the Academy Award for Special Effects. His stop motion technique became identified with dinosaur "exploitation" films such as O'Brien's The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956) and The Giant Behemoth (1959). –Lomography, Dino-Source