Wisconsin is one of the most popular domestic tourist destinations for serious outdoor enthusiasts. The Badger State is home to 15,000 sparkling lakes, 13,500 miles of navigable streams and rivers, five spectacular state parks, and a county that has more miles of shoreline than any other county in the U.S. (Door County). Besides beautiful scenery and endless opportunities to hike, bike, golf, ski, boat, kayak, and fish, Wisconsin is home to thousands of sports fanatics, art lovers, and academics. Wisconsin certainly has something for everyone, which is why more than 5.7 million residents call it home, and millions of visitors flock here each year.
Tourists with an eye for art and culture come here to enjoy top art museums such as Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM), Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA), and more. Students come here to take advantage of one of the nation’s finest collection of colleges. The state’s 80+ schools offer a variety of degree levels, with majors ranging from art to zoology. Just a few of the state’s best colleges include Beloit College, Carroll University, Marquette University, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Many of the state’s best colleges offer top-tier art and design programs, including fine art programs. Continue reading to learn more about Wisconsin’s best schools for fine artists and what they have to offer.
Wisconsin Fine Arts Schools
Whether you’re interested in a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or even a Master of Fine Arts in art, studio art, or fine art, Wisconsin has 84 Title IV degree-granting institutions to choose from. More than 300,000 students attend, with thousands enrolled in the state’s top art and design schools alone. Continue reading to find out which schools are tops for aspiring fine artists and where to find them.
Fon du Lac
Marian University – B.A. Art with Concentration in Fine Art Studio; B.A. Graphic Design, Photography; Minor in Art, Graphic Design, Photography
Mount Mary College - Degrees Offered: B.A. Fine Art, Graphic Design; Minor in Art, Graphic Design; Certificate in Communication Arts, Fine Art, Graphic Design
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee - Degrees Offered: B.A. Studio Art; B. F. A. Design & Visual Communications, Digital Studio Practice, Film, New Genres, Photography, Painting + Drawing, Print and Narrative Forms, Video; M.A. Studio Art; M.F.A. Film, New Genres, Studio Art, Video; Minor in Art
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh - Degrees Offered: B.A. Radio-TV-Film, Studio Art; B. F. A. Art with Graphic Design Emphasis; B. F. A. Design & Technology, B. F. A. Fine Arts with 2D Studio (Drawing, Photography, Printmaking), 3D Studio (Art metals, Ceramics, Fibers, Functional Design), Design; B.A., B.S. Art; Minor Studio Art
University of Wisconsin Stevens Point - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art with Studio Art Emphasis; B. F. A. Art with 2D (Drawing, Painting), 3D (Ceramics, Sculpture), Communications with Media Studies, Design & Technology, Graphic Design; B.S. Web Design & Digital Media (WDMD) with Design or Technical Focus
Wisconsin Fine Arts Schools – Other Options
Many art programs and studio art programs offer some of the same courses as a typical fine arts program. If you are interested in a fine arts program, but your first choice is off the table, consider enrolling in an art or studio art degree program. The following schools offer excellent programs for aspiring artists of all kinds.
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire – B.A. Art with Drawing + Painting, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography, Printmaking Emphasis; Minor in Web Design & Development
University of Wisconsin Green Bay – B.A. Communication with Electronic Media or Photography Emphasis; B.A. Design Arts, Studio Arts; Minor in Art
Carthage College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art, Studio Art, Communications with Graphic Design Major; Minor in Art
University of Wisconsin Parkside - Degrees Offered: B. A. General Arts, Digital Arts with Concentration in Animation, Graphic Design, Illustration or Web Design; B.A. Design & Technology, Studio Arts with Concentration in Drawing, Printmaking, Crafts; Certificate in Film Studies, World Wide Web Publishing
Viterbo University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Visual Communications, Digital Media, Graphic Design, Studio Art; B. F. A. Studio Art with Concentration in Design & Technical Production, Drawing, Graphic Arts and New Media, Interdisciplinary Studies, Photography, Printmaking; B. S. Communication Studies with Visual Communication Focus; Minor Art
University of Wisconsin Madison - Degrees Offered: B. S., B. F. A. Art with Emphasis in Digital Modeling, Graphic Design and Typography, Life Drawing, Multimedia, New Genres, Painting + Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Video and Performance; M. A., M. F. A. Art with Graphics Specialization
University of Wisconsin Stout - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Animation, Art, Comic and Sequential Art, Digital Cinema, Entertainment Design, Graphic Design and Interactive Media, Studio Art with Drawing, Printmaking Emphasis; B. S. Game Design and Development, Graphic Communication Management, Professional Communication and Emerging Media; M. F. A. Design; Minor Art, Applied Photography
Alverno College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art with Studio Art Focus, Interactive Media Design; B.S. Computing and Information Technology with Interactive Media Design (IMD) Focus; Minor in Creative Arts
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) – B. F. A. Art, Communication Design, Drawing, Illustration, Integrated Studio Arts, Photography, Printmaking, Time-Based Media (Video & Animation); Minor in Animation, Video
University of Wisconsin Platteville - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art with Comprehensive Art, Graphic Design Emphasis; B.A. Media Studies with Video and Audio Production Emphasis; Minor in Video and Audio Production
Lakeland College – B.A. Art with Graphic Arts, Studio Arts Emphasis; Minor in Art
Carroll University - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art; B. S. Art, Graphic Communication with Emphasis in Design, Design Management, Graphic Design, Web Design; B. F. A. Photography; B.S. Information Technology with Emphasis in Web Application Development, Game Development; Minor in Graphic Design, Video Production, Web Design
University of Wisconsin Whitewater - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art, Electronic Media, Graphic Design, Multimedia Digital Arts; B. F. A. Art, Design & Technology, Graphic Design; B.S. Media Arts & Game Development (MAGD) with Visual Design Emphasis; B.A. Media Arts & Game Development (MAGD) with Visual Design Emphasis; B.A or B.S. Media Arts & Game Development (MAGD) Communication/Gaming; B.A. or B.S. Media Arts & Game Development (MAGD) Technology Emphasis; Minor in Art, Art Studio, Arts Management, Media Arts & Game Development (MAGD) with Visual Design, Communication/Gaming Emphasis, Multimedia Design, Multimedia
More Wisconsin Fine Art related programs to consider:
Employment and Salary Trends for Wisconsin Fine Artists
Wisconsin is home to 32,900 salaried artists and designers. In 2002, the state was home to 31,040 salaried artists and designers. They average $42,470 per year, up from $34,740 in 2002. Salaries and employment growth vary based on factors such as company type and size, job title, location, and more. For example, Wisconsin-based fine artists average $39,500, while Washington-based fine artists average $64,090.
The following information should give you an idea of potential earnings and employment growth for fine artists and several popular careers in industry.
Fine Artists (Painters, Sculptors, Illustrators): Wisconsin was home to 190 salaried fine artists in 2002. They averaged $33,500 that year. Today the state is home 150 salaried fine artists, averaging $39,500 per year.
Art Directors: Wisconsin is home to 520 art directors, up from 340 in 2002. They average $68,850 per year, up from $56,540 in 2002.
Craft Artists: Wisconsin is home to 70 salaried craft artists. They average $27,410 per year. The Bureau does not offer 2002 employment and salary information for craft artists.
Graphic Designers: In 2002, Wisconsin was home to 3,450 graphic designers with an average salary of $37,290. Today, the state is home to 4,320 salaried graphic designers with an average salary of $42,320.
To increase your chances of obtaining a lucrative position in any given field, consider Milwaukee first—the state’s largest city. The next largest city is Madison, followed by Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine. Other (smaller) principal cities are worth exploring as well, especially if you’re interested in teaching, working for an art center or association, museum, or design center. Consider Appleton, Eau Claire, Janesville, Waukesha, or Oshkosh.