Visual art is a broad term that includes everything from animated productions to tattoo art. Speaking of tattoos, “tattoo artist” is on the list of “coolest jobs for visual artists” as well as animator, architect, set designer, toy designer, forensic artist, museum curator, textile designer, art teacher, cake decorator, and art therapist. Because visual art (as a field) is so vast, a typical visual arts degree curriculum includes courses in just about every area of art. Students will complete coursework in cinematic arts, animation/interactive media, intermedia, print media, photography, computer graphics, drawing, painting, design, and more.
Visual arts programs are common at most art and design colleges, but their popularity seems to be growing among traditional universities, technical schools, and community colleges. This means, finding a program should be easy—no matter where you live. In the State of West Virginia, many schools offer art and design programs, and several standouts offer solid programs for aspiring visual artists. Just a few top schools for artists and designers here include Concord University, Mountain State University, Fairmont State University, Marshall University, and West Virginia University at Parkersburg. Continue reading to find out which West Virginia schools offer the best programs for aspiring visual artists.
West Virginia Visual Arts Schools
According to the most recent report by the National Center for Education Sciences, Institute of Education Sciences (NCES IES), West Virginia is home to 46 Title-IV colleges and universities. As stated, many of these schools offer top-tier programs for artists and designers. Marshall University and Alderson Broaddus College lead the pack for aspiring visual artists.
Marshall University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Fine Art, Visual Arts with Graphic Design, Photography Emphasis; B.S. Computer and Information technology with Web Application, Game Development Emphasis, Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) Web Application Development; M. A. Art with Concentration in Graphic Design
Alderson Broaddus College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Visual Arts with Concentration in Digital Arts, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking Track; B.A. Communications with Video & Radio Track; B.S. Computing with Entertainment Software Development Track; Minor in Digital Arts with Coursework in Computer Animation, Media Computation, Photography, Webmastering; Minor in Visual Arts with Coursework in Drawing, Painting, Photography, Digital Arts, Media Computation, Computer Animation
West Virginia Visual Arts Schools – Other Options
Need a backup plan? Many fine arts and studio art programs offer some of the same courses as visual arts programs. The following West Virginia schools offer studio art and fine art majors.
Concord University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Advertising &Graphic Design, Studio Art
West Virginia Wesleyan College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art with Concentration in Graphics Design, Painting + Drawing, Intermedia
University of Charleston - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Graphic Design, Studio Art Concentration; Minor in Art
Glenville State College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art with Concentration in Graphic and Digital Design, Studio Art
West Virginia University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art and Design, Studio Arts with Graphic Design, Intermedia, Printmaking; M.A. Studio Arts; M.F.A. Studio Arts, Design/Technology, Art and Design; Minor in Electronic Media, Photography, Studio Art
Shepherd University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Graphic Design, Photography/Computer Digital Media, Printmaking Concentration; Minor in Art, Photography/Computer Digital Media
More West Virginia Visual Art related programs to consider:
Employment and Salary Trends for West Virginia Visual Artists
According to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (March 29, 2012) West Virginia is home to 5,530 artists and designers, down by just 40 artists since 2002. Salaries are on the rise. Artists and designers in the state average $37,190 per year, up from $31,270 in 2002. Because visual artists work in a variety of fields, average salaries will vary. In addition, many visual artists work independently. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for these individuals are quite high. Depending on the field, solo artists can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $82,000 or more per year.
The following information will give you an idea of what to expect in several popular fields for visual artists.
Art Director: West Virginia had a population of 40 salaried art directors in 2002. In 2008, the state was home to 60 salaried art directors. In 2002, West Virginia-based art directors averaged $46,550. In 2008, the average salary was $66,950.
Multimedia Artist & Animator: West Virginia was home to 50 salaried multimedia artists & animators in 2002. The population has remained unchanged since then. However, salaries are up from $32,260 in 2002 to $43,060 today.
Graphic Designer: West Virginia had a population of 310 salaried graphic designers in 2002. Today, the state is home to 590. Salaries are on the rise as well. In 2002, West Virginia-based graphic designers averaged $31,790. Today, the average salary is $37,690. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “senior designers, who may supervise junior staff or have some decision-making authority that reflects their knowledge of graphic design,” earned a median salary of $60,000.
“Solo designers who freelanced or worked under contract reported median earnings of $57,000. Design directors, the creative heads of design firms or in-house corporate design departments,” earn $95,000. “Graphic designers with ownership or partnership interests in a firm or who are principals of the firm in some other capacity” average $95,000 per year.
Photographer: West Virginia was home to 260 salaried photographers in 2002. Today, the state is home to 320. They average $25,860, down from $32,470 in 2002.
No matter which specialty you choose, when you are ready to begin your job search, head to Charleston—the state’s largest city first, or Huntington (second largest), Parkersburg (third), or Morgantown (number four). Other principal cities to consider include Wheeling, Fairmont, Weirton, and Martinsburg.