They don’t call Missouri The Show Me State for nothing! When it comes to art, visitors and natives alike can months exploring the states many art museums and alternative galleries, performance venues, and historic sites and landmarks. Head to the state’s largest city—Kansas City, and you’ll find the several major art museums such as The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Stop by St. Louis and you’ll find the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch, the beautiful Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM), and more than 100 public installations and art projects. Its no wonder artists flock here to live, work, and study.
Missouri is home to nearly 36,000 artists. The artist community has grown here since 2002, when the talent pool stood at 33,930. The artist community here is filled with all types of creatives from animators, illustrators, and graphic designers to painters, sculptors, and performance artists. While Missouri has a high population of graphic designers and multi-media artists, the state has its fair share of illustrators working in advertising, animation and filmmaking, publishing, law, medicine, science, engineering, technology, and more.
Some of the state’s illustrators are from other areas in the region, but many are homegrown thanks to the number of schools art and design schools and traditional colleges that offer art programs. Just a few notable Missouri illustration schools include Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) and Missouri State University.
Missouri Illustration Schools
Missouri is home to more than 120 accredited colleges and universities with a student population of 300,000+. Thousands of these students are enrolled in art programs, with roughly 650 enrolled in the state’s top art schools. Scroll through the list below to take a look at Missouri’s best options for aspiring illustrators and what they have to offer.
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Illustration, Painting, Digital Filmmaking, Animation, Digital Media, Graphic Design
Missouri State University – Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Option in Computer Animation, Digital Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration; B. S. Electronic Arts with Option in Computer Animation Studies, Multimedia Studies
Missouri Western State University – Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Digital Animation, Graphic Design, Studio Art with Concentration in Illustration; M. A. A. Integrated Media
University of Central Missouri - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Graphic Design, Studio Art with Illustration Emphasis
More Illustration related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Missouri Illustrators
Missouri was home to 360 salaried illustrators/fine artists in 2002. The population decreased more than 50 percent between 2002 and 2010, but this doesn’t mean the number of freelancers and other independent artists has decreased. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics now reports the salaries for independent artists nationwide. In 2010, they averaged $51,340.
The average salary for Missouri fine artists was $32,080 in 2002. In 2010, it was $54,750 Nationwide, median annual wages of illustrators were $42,650 in 2010. The lowest paid illustrators earned less than $20,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,410. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,230 and $60,650.