Milwaukee Art Scene
Milwaukee is one of the coolest cities in the Midwest. The hit television show Laverne & Shirley put Milwaukee on the map back in the mid-70s. Since then, Milwaukee has proven that there’s more to this city than factories, breweries, and neighborhood bars.
Milwaukee is home to an active film production scene. Films such as Transformers 3, The Deep End of the Ocean, and Public Enemies have been filmed here. Productions like these have helped attract production and post-production studios of all sizes, including animation studios.
Milwaukee is also home to one of the most spectacular art museums in the Midwest—Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM). MAM sits on Lake Michigan and the structure is a work of art in itself. It includes the Quadracci pavilion, designed by Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava, the War Memorial Center, designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, and Cudahy Gardens, designed by landscape architect Dan Kiley.
MAM plays a major role in the Milwaukee art scene. It offers a number of art programs and classes as well as art events and tours. Many artists in the area see MAM as a source of inspiration, thanks to the architecture, elaborate exhibits, and openness to new and experimental art.
Other art museums and galleries include Tory Folliard Gallery, Charles Allis Decorative Art Museum, Delind Gallery of Fine Art, Eisner Museum, and the Institute of Visual Arts (Inova). Located at the University of Wisconsin, Peck School of the Arts, Inova is one of the most progressive art institutes in town. It highlights experimental art, digital art, and contemporary artwork.
Because of the film production scene and an art scene that encourages experimental and digital art forms, animators are a good fit for Milwaukee. In fact, the animation scene is alive and growing. Animators can look forward to an active scene along with help from organizations such as the Milwaukee Animation Group (MAG). MAG holds meetings and events and it provides the latest news and developments in animation.
If you’re ready to become a part of the Milwaukee art scene, you’ll need talent. To become a paid animator or other artist, you’ll need talent and the right education. Fortunately, many Milwaukee area colleges offer quality animation programs.
Milwaukee Animation Schools and Programs
Peck School of the Arts does not offer a degree in animation, but plenty of other Milwaukee area schools do. They are:
- Art Institute of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD)
- Milwaukee Area Technical College
- ITT Technical Institute, Greenfield (10 miles from Milwaukee)
- University of Wisconsin Parkside, Kenosha (39 miles)
The Art Institute of Wisconsin offers a bachelor’s degree in media arts and animation, while Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design offers a bachelor’s in animation. Milwaukee Area Technical College and ITT offer an associate degree in animation. The University of Wisconsin Parkside offers a bachelor’s in digital art with an animation concentration.
Milwaukee Animation Employers
Milwaukee animators work for large film and video production houses, independent studios, ad agencies, and at computer design and information technology firms. The State of Wisconsin is home to more than 1,000 computer design and information technology firms. Many are located in the Milwaukee area and they are often searching for talented animators with a computer science background.
Film and video animators may find employment at animation and design studios such as:
- Esper Images, Video & Multimedia Producers
- Media Dynamics
- Taylor Studios
- Iris Animation, Pewaukee (21 miles from Milwaukee)
Animators interested in advertising and design may consider:
- Boelter & Lincoln
- Cramer and Kasselt
- Platypus Advertising & Design
- Scott Advertising
- Zizzo Group
Animation Careers at a Glance
If you want a stable career in art, animation is the way to go. At a 14 percent increase in jobs between now and 2018, animation is the fastest growing industry in the art world. Salaries have increased as well. Milwaukee animators earned an average of $45,520 in 2006. In 2009, they averaged $53,460. If you’re planning to become an independent contractor or start your own studio, you may earn even more.
For more information about the animation industry in the U.S., visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov.