Studio art programs combine the study of multiple forms of art such as painting, photography, fiber, printmaking, transmedia (digital arts, performance art, and video art), drawing, and more. Because studio art is so diverse, this unique program prepares students for a career in many industries such as advertising, film and video, publishing, architecture, graphic design, consulting, fashion design, and web design. Graduates may also work in education, law, medicine, and other less common, but lucrative fields.
With the right education, studio artists in North Carolina should have no problems finding work in these areas. Fortunately, The Tar Heel State is home to several top schools for aspiring artists—including studio artists. A number of schools for aspiring artists and designers are located in major cities such as Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Durham. However, most of the state’s best options for aspiring studio artists are located in smaller towns such as Cullowhee and the popular city of Chapel Hill.
North Carolina Studio Art Schools
According to the most recent report by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), North Carolina is now home to an impressive 139 accredited colleges and universities. Scroll through the list below to find out which North Carolina schools are top choices for aspiring studio artists and what they have to offer.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Studio Art with Concentration in Electronic Media
Western Carolina University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Studio Art with Graphic Design Emphasis
Wake Forest - Degrees Offered: B. A. Studio Art with Concentration in Digital Media
Employment and Salary Trends for North Carolina Studio Artists
According to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 27, 2012, North Carolina was home to 37,420 salaried artists and designers, up from 30,390 in 2002. Salaries have increased as well. In 2002, salaried artists here averaged $36,400. As of March 2012, the average salary was $47,250.
It is important to note that salaries vary by industry, company, experience, location, and more. For example, at $86,860 per year, the highest paying (creative) industry for artists nationwide is the motion picture and video industry, and at an average national salary of $108,430, art directors are the highest paid artists in the field. At $84,180, the average salary for North Carolina art directors is much higher than the average for North Carolina artists overall. At an average salary of $51,860 per year, multimedia artists and animators here earn more than artists overall as well. Fine artists earn one of the lowest average salaries here, at $39,570 as of March 2012.
Salaries for independent artists and business owners may be higher or lower based on experience, specialization, type of company, location, and other factors. For example, illustrators that work with multiple art and design studios may average $40,000-$80,000+ per year. However, according to the Bureau, the average salary for “independent artists” is $70,200 per year, up from an average of $51,340 for 2008-2010.