Media arts programs prepare students for a career in film, advertising, television production, public relations, animation, broadcasting, audio production, graphic design, digital art, visual effects, photography, and many others. In the State of Virginia, many media arts graduates live in major city such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or Chesapeake where creative firms, production studios, media and communications companies are plentiful. Just a few options include The Martin Agency (Richmond), LM&O Advertising (Arlington), TriVision Studios (Chantilly), and BES Studios (Richmond).
In addition to employment opportunities, Virginia is home to a number of colleges that offer training programs for aspiring artists and designers. Just a few of the best include School of Visual Arts (SOVA) at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg), Liberty University (Lynchburg), James Madison University (Harrisonburg), and Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCU Arts) in Richmond. The following list includes these and other popular options for aspiring media artists.
Virginia Media Arts Schools
Virginia is home to 129 Title IV colleges and universities. More than more than 545,000 students are enrolled with thousands attending the state’s top art and design schools alone. Take a look at the list below to review Virginia’s best options for aspiring media artists and what they offer.
Marymount University - Degrees Offered: BA Art, Graphic Design; BS Information Technology with Specialization in Interactive Media; Minor in Illustration, Studio Art, Media and Performance Studies
School of the Visual Arta (SOVA) at Virginia Tech – Degrees Offered: BFA Studio Art, Graphic Design; MFA Creative Technologies
Virginia Intermont College – Degrees Offered: BA, BFA, BA with Teacher Licensure PreK-12 in 2D Concentration-Drawing, Graphic Design, Painting, Printmaking; BA, BFA, Minor Photography & Digital Imaging
University of Virginia - Degrees Offered: University of Virginia - Degrees Offered: BA Art, Media Studies, Studio Art with Concentration in New Media; Minor in Film, Media Studies
Eastern Mennonite University – Degrees Offered: AA Communication, BA Art, Digital Media, Photography; BS Communication; Minor Art, Digital Communication, Digital Video Production, Photography
James Madison - Degrees Offered: BFA Graphic Design, Media Art and Design with Concentration in Digital Video and Cinema
Liberty University - Degrees Offered: BS Studio Art, Studio and Digital Arts: Graphic Design, Communication with Cinematic Arts Concentration, Communication Studies with Digital Media Concentration, Visual Communication Arts with Studio Art Concentration; BS Web Technology and Design; MA Communication Studies with Media and Communication Studies Concentration; Minor in Graphic Design, Photography, Studio Art
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) - Degrees Offered: BA, BFA Art; BFA Communication Arts, Graphic Design, Kinetic Imaging; MFA Design with Specialization in Visual Communications, Kinetic Imaging; PhD Media Art & Text
Mary Baldwin College - Degrees Offered: BA Studio Art with Emphasis in Drawing, Extended Media, Graphic Design, Photography, Printmaking; BA Art Management, Film Studies, Film Production; Minor in Film Studies, Film Production
The Art Institute of Virginia Beach – Degrees Offered: AA, BFA Graphic and Web Design; BFA Media Arts & Animation; BFA Digital Photography; Diploma Web Design & Interactive Communications, Photography
More Virginia Media Art related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Virginia Media Artists
Virginia is home to 47,510 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. The average salary for ADESM professionals is $56,240 per year, down from $57,120 in 2012 when the state was home to 50,770 ADESM professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of art and design occupations is projected to grow two percent from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than the average for all occupations, adding about 16,700 new jobs.”
“Employment” says the Bureau, “will increase from about 773,100 jobs in 2014 to about 789,700 jobs in 2024. Projected growth will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, television, and on smartphones. As companies continue to increase their digital presence, more art and design workers will be needed to help create visually appealing and effective layouts of websites and other media platforms.”
The median annual wage for art and design occupations was $43,100 in May 2014, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $35,540. Because media artists work in a range of industries, employment and salary trends vary greatly. Let’s take a look at trends for some of the most popular industries for media artists.
Multimedia Art & Animation: Virginia is home to 410 salaried multimedia artist & animators, down from 500 in 2012-2013 when they averaged $58,980. Fortunately, salaries are on the rise. Virginia-based multimedia artists & animators average $62,260 per year.
Graphic Design: Virginia is home to 5,820 graphic designers averaging $54,770 per year. In 2012, the state was home to 5,210 graphic designers earning an average salary of $54,650.
Public Relations: Virginia is home to an impressive 7,430 salaried public relations specialists, up from 7,050 in 2012. Salaries are way up as well. In 2012, Virginia-based PR specialists averaged $70,510. Today, they average $77,550.
Photography: Virginia is home to 970 salaried photographers averaging $38,760 per year. In 2012, the average salary was $39,320 and the state was home to 1,180 photographers.
Film & Video Editing: In 2012, Virginia was home to 310 salaried film & video editors. Today, the state is home to 250 film & video editors. In 2012, Virginia-based film & video editors averaged $65,020. Today, the average salary is $62,750.
Media and Communication: In 2012, Virginia was home to 960 salaried media and communication professionals. Average earnings were $41,710 to $80,170 annually. Today, the population is just a tad less at 950, and average earnings are $40,220 to $85,340 annually.
Virginia's Broadcasting Industry boasts more than 750 salaried professionals averaging anywhere from $37,260 up to $85,230 per year. In 2012, the state was home to 1,400 professionals in this field averaging $77,180 to $86,950.
It is important to note that many artists and designers work independently. Depending on the industry, these independent artists may earn more than salaried workers earn. For example, according to the Bureau, “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” has the highest concentration of employment in the ADESM industry, with an average salary of $70,260 per year. Independent Artists has second highest concentration of employment in the multimedia art and animation industry, with an average salary of $75,150 per year. It has the third highest concentration of employment for photographers, with an average salary of $47,180 per year and the third highest level of employment for film and video editors, with an average salary of $72,290.
As mentioned, media artists work in so many different fields you’ll lose cont. This means opportunities can be found all over the state. However, as mentioned, a larger number of opportunities can be found in major cities such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Arlington, and Richmond. Other cities worth looking into include Newport News, Alexandria, Hampton, Roanoke, and Portsmouth.
Awesome Animation Fact: One of the most recognizable members of the Looney Tunes family is The Tasmanian Devil. Often referred to as "Taz," the constantly hungry, growling and screeching animal is based on the real-life Tasmanian Devil. Taz was created by Robert McKimson (1910-1977) and “voiced” by Mel Blanc (1908-1989).