A typical studio art program combines disciplines such as ceramics, drawing, fiber, glass, painting, photography, printmaking and more. After becoming familiar with these areas, students may narrow their focus by specializing in one area. In addition to the traditional focus areas listed above, newer concentrations include digital art, design/video & digital imaging, visual communication design, digital media, new media, and designed objects, to name a few. Although studio art programs are similar to other art programs, studio art students spend more time in the studio creating art. The goal of a studio art program is to allow students to learn by doing or through “immersion.”
A good studio art program can prepare students for more than 100 different careers in the art and design industry. It can also prepare students to work in a few other industries that might surprise you. Just a few are aerospace, architecture, automotive, law, medicine, and science. Some common career options include cartoonist, ceramic artist, art director, printing designer, animator, airbrush artist, glass blower, mural artists, textile designer, art critic, display artist, art buyer, and graphic arts technician.
Because studio art programs are popular, you can find them at hundreds of art and design schools across the country. A number of prestigious traditional colleges offer programs as well. According to U.S. News & World Report, Yale University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, California Institute of Arts, Carnegie Mellon, California College of Arts, the School of Visual Arts in New York and Virginia Commonwealth University offer some of the best art and design programs in the country. Other Virginia schools worth noting include Virginia Tech, Marymount University, and Emory & Henry College.
Continue reading to find out which Virginia schools offer the best programs for aspiring studio artists and where to find them.
Virginia Studio Art Schools
Virginia is home to 129 Title IV degree-granting institutions. More than half a million students are enrolled, with thousands attending the state’s top art schools alone. Some of Virginia's top schools for aspiring artists are:
Marymount University - Degrees Offered: BA Art with a Minor in Studio Art
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) - Degrees Offered: BFA Studio Art with a Concentration in Digital Art
Bridgewater College - Degrees Offered: BA/BS Studio Art with a Specialization in Digital Media, Drawing, Photography or Visual Design
University of Virginia - Degrees Offered: BA Studio Art with a Concentration in New Media
Emory & Henry College – Degrees Offered: BA Studio Art
Liberty University - Degrees Offered: BS Studio Art, BS Studio and Digital Arts: Graphic Design, BS Visual Communication Arts with a Studio Art Concentration, Minor in Studio Art
Lynchburg College - Degrees Offered: BA Art with Studio Art (includes Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Photography), Minor in Studio Art
Virginia State University - Degrees Offered: BFA Visual Arts with a Concentration in Studio Arts
Radford University - Degrees Offered: BS/BFA Studio Art with a Photography Emphasis
Mary Baldwin College - Degrees Offered: BA Studio Art with an Emphasis in Drawing, Extended Media, Graphic Design, Photography or Printmaking
More Virginia Studio Art related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Virginia Studio Artists
As of March 25, 2015, Virginia was home to 47,510 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. They average $56,240 per year, down from $57,120 in 2013 when the state was home to 50,770 ADESM workers. Included in ADESM occupations are fine artists (illustrators, painters, and sculptors), art directors, photographers, craft artists, animators, graphic designers, actors, dancers, set designers, producers and directors, and more. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists salary and employment information for these areas and many others, we do not have enough space to list them all here. However, the following information will give you an idea of what to expect for several common careers for studio artists.
Art Directors: Virginia is home to 740 salaried art directors averaging $99,940 per year. In 2013, the state was home to 650 art directors averaging $89,510 per year.
Fine Artists (Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators): Virginia is home to 410 salaried fine artists averaging $28,920 per year. In 2013, the state was home to 360 fine artists. Salary figures were not available for 2013, but in 2009, the state’s 340 fine artists averaged $47,900 per year.
Graphic Designers: Virginia is home to 5,820 salaried graphic designers averaging $54,770 per year. In 2013, the state was home to 5,210 graphic designers averaging $54,650 per year.
Multimedia Artists and Animators: Virginia is home to 410 salaried multimedia artists and animators averaging $62,260 per year. In 2013, the state was home to 500 multimedia artists and animators averaging $58,980 per year.
Photographers: Virginia is home to 970 salaried photographers averaging $38,760 per year. In 2013, the state was home to 1,180 photographers averaging $39,320 per year.
Because they work in so many different industries, studio artists can find employment just about anywhere in the State of Virginia. However, a larger number of opportunities can be found in major cities such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Arlington, Richmond, Newport News, Alexandria, and Hampton. Although smaller, Roanoke and Portsmouth are worth looking into, as well as Petersburg and Suffolk.
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