Art Schools in Washington State (2023)

With a population of more than seven million, Washington is the nation’s thirteenth largest state. It is home to seven cities that have a population of 100,000 or more and dozens of charming towns and villages with populations of 10,000 or more. The state’s largest cities include Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Kent, and Everett. While artists can find lively art and culture scenes in just about any city here, the most active scenes can be found in Washington’s largest cities.

For starters, the state is home to one of the Pacific Northwest’s most diverse collections of art venues. Seattle is home to a variety of must-see art museums such as Seattle Art Museum (SAM), Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM), Henry Art Gallery, and Frye Art Museum. The city’s downtown area features a range of public art pieces, West Seattle hosts a monthly art walk, and you will find dozens of art centers here from Pratt Fine Arts Center to Seattle Creative Arts Center (SCAC).

Head to Tacoma, where you can take in the sights at the magnificent Museum of Glass or the Tacoma Art Museum and in Spokane, you will find the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. Vancouver is home to attractions such as Art on the Boulevard and Gallery 360, and Bellevue is home to the Bellevue Arts Museum. Head to Everett where you will find The Russell Day Gallery and Schack Art Center.

Find a school

Washington’s outstanding collection of art museums and galleries, the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs in each city, the Washington State Arts Commission, and a large “working artists” community help keep the art and culture scene alive in The Evergreen State. Washington’s academic institutions also play a vital role in helping the artist community prosper. The state is home to dozens of schools that offer all types of art and design programs from painting, sculpture, and drawing to animation, game design, and virtual technology. Just a few favorites include Cornish College of Arts, Seattle Pacific University, and DigiPen Institute of Technology.

Continue reading to learn more about Washington’s best options for aspiring artists and some of the programs they have to offer.

Washington State Art Schools

Washington State is now home to 85 Title IV degree-granting institutions and possibly dozens of other schools that offer art and design programs. More than 380,000 students are enrolled in the state’s Title IV colleges and universities, with thousands enrolled in art and design programs. The following are some of the best.

DigiPen Institute of Technology – Degrees Offered: BFA Digital Art and Animation; BS Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, BS Computer Science and Game Design, BS Engineering and Sound Design; BA Game Design, Music and Sound Design; MFA Digital Arts; Minor Art, Game Design

Cornish College of the Arts - Degrees Offered: BFA Art, BFA Design (Design: Visual Communications and/or Motion, or Interior Architecture), BFA Film + Media (Fiction, Nonfiction, and Experimental /Emergent Technologies)

Seattle Pacific University - Degrees Offered: BA Art: Emphasis Studio Art, BA Art: Emphasis General Art, BA Art: Emphasis Illustration/New Pictures, BA Art: Emphasis Photography; Art Minor Studio: Digital Media, Art Minor Studio: 3-D Media, Art Minor Studio: 2-D Media, Minor Art History and Visual Studies

TheArt Institute of Seattle – Degrees Offered: BFA Media Arts & Animation, BFA Game Art & Design, BFA Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, BFA Digital Photography, BFA Graphic & Web Design; BS Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Game Programming, Audio Production; AAA Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media; Diploma Web Design & Development, Web Design & Interactive Communications

University of Washington, School of Art + Art History + Design – Degrees Offered: BA Interdisciplinary Visual Arts; BFA, MFA 3D4M, BFA, MFA Painting + Drawing, BFA, MFA Photomedia (Glass, Ceramics or Sculpture Track)

Whitworth University - Degrees Offered: BA Art with Tracks in Two-Dimensional (Drawing/Painting and Printmaking), Graphic Design, Three-Dimensional (Ceramics, Sculpture, Glass), Visual Design in Computing; Minor Art, Community Arts

Washington State University (also Pullman, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Everett) – Degrees Offered: BFA Art with a Focus in Digital Media, Drawing & Painting, Printmaking, Photography, Sculpture or Ceramics; MFA Art

More programs to consider:


Selected Campus Locations:

  • San Francisco & Online

Animation Career Review Rankings:

  • Top 50 Nationally for Animation (#14) - 2022
  • Top 50 Nationally for Game Design (#40) - 2022
  • Top 50 Nationally for Graphic Design (#46) - 2022
  • Top 50 Nationally for Illustration (#29) - 2022
(Video) Art colleges in Washington

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Southern New Hampshire University

Selected Campus Locations:

  • Online

Selected Programs:

  • BA in Graphic Design - 3D Modeling and Animation
  • BA in Graphic Design
(Video) Why You Shouldn’t Go to the University of Washington

Employment and Salary Trends for Washington State Artists

Washington is home to 43,500 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. They earn an average annual salary of $52,930 per up slightly from $51,900 in 2009, when the state was home to 40,850 ADESM professionals. Of the 43,500 salaried ADESM professionals living in Washington today, 4,250 are graphic designers averaging $55,030 per year, nearly 2,000 are multimedia artists and animators averaging $75,740 per year, 680 are art directors earning an impressive $102,590 per year, and around 400 are fine artists averaging $71,200 per year. These salaries represent some of the nation’s highest salaries for these creative occupations.

It is important to note that many artists and designers are self-employed, so it is safe to assume that the population of ADESM professionals in the state is much higher. These individualstypicallyearn more as well—especially in larger states and major cities. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” ‘industry’ has thehighest concentrationof employment (not thehighest levelof employment) in ADESM occupations, and it is one of the highest paying industries for ADESM professionals.

Overall, independent artists average $70,620 per year. Independent artists working in animation average $75,150 per year and those working as art directors average $91,100 per year. Independent fine artists average $43,390 per year, and independent craft artists average $36,590 per year. Nationwide, the median annual wage for ADESM occupations was $43,100 in May 2014, which was higher than the median annual wage of $35,540 for all occupations.

Employment of art and design occupations is projected to grow two percent from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than the average for all occupations, adding about 16,700 new jobs. Projected growth, says the BLS, will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, television, and on smartphones. As companies continue to increase their digital presence, more art and design workers will be needed to help create visually appealing and effective layouts of websites and other media platforms.

The top five highest paying states for ADESM professionals are:

  • District of Columbia ($89,950)
  • New York ($74,100)
  • California ($70,440)
  • Massachusetts ($58,200)
  • Maryland ($57,330)

The industries with the highest levels of employment for ADESM professionals are:

  • Motion Picture and Video Industries
  • Radio and Television Broadcasting
  • Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools

The top five states with the highest employment levels for ADESM professionals are California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois. While Washington did not make the top five list, of the top ten metropolitan areas with the highest employment levels in this occupation, the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division holds the number eight spot.

(Video) Introducing the Sam Fox School - College of Art | Washington University

Awesome Animation Fact: Despite having a rich plot with developed characters, the Academy Award winning film for Best Animated Feature—Spirited Away (2001), was not made with a script. In fact, Hayao Miyazaki’s films never had scripts. “I don't have the story finished and ready when we start work on a film,” says the filmmaker. “I usually don't have the time. So the story develops when I start drawing storyboards. The production starts very soon thereafter, while the storyboards are still developing.” -mental_floss


What College has the best program for art? ›

Jerry's Top 10 Fine Art Schools USA
1Yale UniversityUS
2Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)US
3University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)US
4Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCU)US
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Is University of Washington good for art? ›

University of Washington

#96 Best Colleges for Art in America.

What is the hardest art school to get into? ›

What is the hardest art school to get into? Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the hardest art and design school with the lowest acceptance rate in the world.

What art major pays the most? ›

9 Highest Paying Art Careers
  • #1 Art Director. Median Salary: $94,220. ...
  • #2 Producer & Director. Median Salary: $74,420. ...
  • #3 Landscape Architect. Median Salary: $69,360. ...
  • #4 Video Editor. Median Salary: $63,780. ...
  • #5 Graphic Designer. Median Salary: $52,110. ...
  • #6 Drafter. Median Salary: $56,830. ...
  • #7 Art Curator. ...
  • #8 Interior Designer.

What should I major in if I like art? ›

The following is a list of the best 10 degrees for artists:
  • Fine Arts. A fine arts degree gives you an education in the visual arts. ...
  • Graphic Design. ...
  • Business. ...
  • Digital Arts. ...
  • Game and Interactive Media Design. ...
  • Cinematography and Film/Video Production. ...
  • Theater Arts. ...
  • Fashion Design.

What majors is Washington state known for? ›

The most popular majors at Washington State University include: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Social Sciences; Engineering; Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs; Psychology; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Health Professions and Related Programs; Family and Consumer ...

What major is University of Washington known for? ›

The most popular majors at University of Washington include: Social Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Engineering; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Health Professions and Related Programs; Psychology; Communication, ...

Why did the Art Institute of Seattle close? ›

SEATTLE - The Art Institute of Seattle has been around for more than seven decades. Now, due to financial reasons the institution will abruptly close on Friday, leaving students without classes, and in many cases possibly their degrees.

What is the #1 art school in the world? ›

Royal College of Art (London, EN)

Founded in 1837, the Royal College of Art ranks 1st in art and design, according to the QS World University Rankings.

Is going to art school worth it? ›

Art schools offer a unique learning experience for students serious about the arts. They provide a focused education on the arts that may not be found at other colleges and provide an environment conducive to producing art, which is something many students find helpful in their educational career.

What is the number 1 art school in America? ›

Best Art Schools
University of California--Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA #1 in Best Fine Arts Programs Save4.5
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL #2 in Best Fine Arts Programs (tie) Save4.3
Yale University New Haven, CT #2 in Best Fine Arts Programs (tie) Save4.3
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Do you need a good GPA for art school? ›

Art schools do care about grades, but having a strong portfolio is the number one requirement. Having good grades is important, however, because the competition for getting into art school is high, and grades can often be the determining factor between two applicants of equal artistic ability.

Which art is most difficult? ›

However, abstract art is also considered by some to be the most challenging due to the lack of rules and definitions. To me, abstract art is defined by the overall feel achieved by the painting and I certainly appreciate the talent of those able to create great abstract art.

Is art a difficult major? ›

Working on an art degree in college can be difficult in that it requires a lot of time, hard work and discipline. It can also be taxing to the students physically, intellectually and emotionally. Typically, art students spend around 15 hours of study per week, or more when engaging in their artistic pursuits.

What are 10 careers in art? ›

10 Jobs for Artists and People Who Love Drawing
  • Animator. ...
  • Art Teacher. ...
  • Cake Decorator. ...
  • Fashion Designer. ...
  • Graphic Designer. ...
  • Illustrator and Technical Illustrator. ...
  • Industrial Designer. ...
  • Makeup Artist.

Are art jobs in demand? ›

Job Outlook

Overall employment of craft and fine artists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 5,900 openings for craft and fine artists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

What jobs can u get in art? ›

What specific roles are available in art and design?
  • Fine artist. Fine artists create and sell their original artwork, often specialising in mediums such as painting, drawing or sculpture. ...
  • Illustrator. ...
  • Graphic designer. ...
  • Photographer. ...
  • Interior designer. ...
  • Furniture designer. ...
  • Art teacher or lecturer. ...
  • Curator.

What to study if I want to be an artist? ›

Formal education is not typically required for a fine artist, but many fine artists have at least a bachelor's degree. At the bachelor's level, students can usually choose from a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), or even some Bachelor of Science (BS) in Art degree programs.

What is a degree in art called? ›

Bachelor of arts (BA or AB; from the Latin baccalaureus artium, baccalaureus in artibus, or artium baccalaureus) is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate program in the arts, or, in some cases, other disciplines.

Can you make money as an art major? ›

Recent research shows that 80% of art graduates obtain employment that is either closely or somewhat related to their education. An art degree gives you the ability to earn good money while doing work you have passion for - a feeling sadly missing in much of the modern workforce.

What GPA is required for Washington State University? ›

Requirements. U.S. high school students who are ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class or who have a cumulative GPA of 3.60 or better (on 4.0 scale) are assured admission to Washington State University.

What is the average GPA for Washington State University? ›

Average GPA: 3.46

The average GPA at Washington State University is 3.46. This makes Washington State University Moderately Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

What SAT score is required for Washington State University? ›

Aim for a 1030 SAT or a 20 ACT or higher, and you'll almost certainly get an offer of admission. As long as you meet the rest of the application requirements below, you'll be a shoo-in. But if you score below our recommended target score, you may be one of the very few unlucky people to get rejected.

Is University of Washington hard to get into? ›

The University of Washington received 43,778 applications for its Seattle campus and accepted just 24,467 students, resulting in a 56% overall acceptance rate. Although UW admissions are competitive, your actual chances of getting in are tied to the strength of your profile.

What kind of students go to University of Washington? ›

Most of the student body is white, and significant number are Asian. There do not seem to be that many lower-income students on campus. Most of the students are from Washington state; the out-of state students tend to come from Oregon, California, or Hawaii. There is a significant number of international students.

Is University of Washington worth the money? ›

High Value. Based primarily on its reputation, University of Washington is a high value school, placing it in the top 20% of schools in terms of value.

Is there a lawsuit against Art Institute? ›

Art Institutes sued for $11 BILLION, what about the students and families affected? Clear the parents, and the students who attended the Art Institutes from 2003-2011, from their loan debts. These people are innocent to the fact that their money, intended for education, had been used to commit fraud.

How did The Art Institute mislead students? ›

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The Art Institute of California misleads students into thinking that government loans can cover the cost of tuition at the for-profit college, then leaves them without a degree and saddled with debt, a class claims in Federal Court.

What kind of art is Seattle known for? ›

Seattle is a significant center for the painting, sculpture, textile and studio glass, alternative, urban art, lowbrow (art movement) and performing arts. The century-old Seattle Symphony Orchestra is among the world's most recorded orchestras.

What city is most famous for art? ›

Paris, France. With over 1,000 art galleries spread across the city, Paris is an art lover's mecca.

Where is the best place to study art? ›

Top 10 Universities for Art & Design Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019
RankName of InstitutionLocation
1Royal College of ArtUnited Kingdom
2University of the Arts LondonUK
3Parsons School of Design at The New SchoolUnited States
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What is the most popular art subject? ›

Most popular subjects for international students in the US
2Business & management
3Mathematics & computer science
4Social science
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What are the CONs of art school? ›

Pros and Cons of Going to Art School
You will meet and network with other artistsRejection may take its toll on you
Art school students have access to equipment and suppliesGoing to art school can be expensive and time-consuming
Art school builds on your existing talentsPeople may not understand your art
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6 Jun 2021

What are the CONs of art education? ›

Here are the CONs:
  • Low chances to become a working artist. ...
  • One of the worst investment. ...
  • No courses about Art business. ...
  • No teaching about IPR laws. ...
  • No teamwork mindset. ...
  • Lack of discipline.

Do arts students have a future? ›

Having gained knowledge in subjects like English, Political Science, Geography, History and Economics, a plethora of opportunities await Arts students. Law, Journalism, Fashion Design, Hotel Management are some of the top courses after 12th Arts that students can opt for depending on their interests.

What US city is known for art? ›

The new report reveals that the top five U.S. cities are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami. These cities will likely come as no surprise to close watchers of the art world here, as they are all hubs for major museums, galleries, art fairs, and artists.

Do most artists go to art school? ›

In a study conducted by Artnet, only about 12% of the 500 most successful American artists were self-taught, while others had bachelor and masters degrees from various art schools.

Do all artists go to art school? ›

In fact, confirms that 78% of their top 50 living artists have no MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree. A self-taught artist is not relying on an art school to provide the information and practice needed to become an artist.

Which state is best for artists? ›

The highest position that you can reach as an artist is founder and chief executive officer.
1. Oregon.
Total Artist Jobs:99
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$120,000
3 more rows
6 Apr 2021

Where is the best place to study art? ›

Top 10 Universities for Art & Design Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019
RankName of InstitutionLocation
1Royal College of ArtUnited Kingdom
2University of the Arts LondonUK
3Parsons School of Design at The New SchoolUnited States
8 more rows

What city is known for art in the US? ›

New York, NY

Where is the art capital of the US? ›

February 1913 marked a defining moment in the history of art.

Is Seattle a good city for artists? ›

We have a reputation as one of the greatest arts cities in the world—after all, this is the home of music legends like Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Pearl Jam. Dancers, artists, musicians, and writers showcase their craft in new and unexpected ways.

What is the hardest state to draw? ›

Hawaii's archipelago was the most difficult–also unsurprising–but the next two were curious. Participants had a lot of difficulty with Maryland, which hugs the cap of Virginia and wraps around the top of the Chesapeake Bay. They also struggled with Michigan, which most of us can picture as a mitten-shaped state.

Is Seattle a good place for artists? ›

As a gateway to a vibrant community with a rich history of arts, culture, and industry, Seattle is the perfect city for a burgeoning artist.

Is art school easy to get into? ›

Hoping to get into a college art program? Many of the best art programs are highly competitive, and, even if your portfolio is strong, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

What city is most famous for art? ›

Paris, France. With over 1,000 art galleries spread across the city, Paris is an art lover's mecca.

Where should I live as an artist? ›

Having a thriving artistic community makes a city a better place to live.
The following 10 places emerged as the best cities for artists to live and work in.
  • Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Washington, D.C. ...
  • Seattle, WA. ...
  • Philadelphia, PA. ...
  • Berkeley, CA. ...
  • Chicago, IL. ...
  • St. ...
  • Baltimore, MD. ...
7 May 2021

Where do most American artists live? ›

Los Angeles, CA

The LA area has over 40,000 artistic and cultural establishments, which include world-renowned museums such as the Getty Center, and performing arts venues such as the Hollywood Bowl and the Los Angeles Music Center.

What is the art capital of the world? ›

Berlin: Art capital of the world.

What state has the most painters? ›

In fact, our research shows that New Jersey is the best state for painters in America. The best city in America for painters with the highest pay is Sacramento, CA.
1. New Jersey.
Total Painter Jobs:45
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$83,000
3 more rows
6 Apr 2021

What is the most popular art style in America? ›

The most popular art today is commonly referred to as Contemporary Art. Contemporary art encompasses many styles including Modern, Abstract, Impressionism, Pop Art, Cubism, Surrealism, Fantasy, Graffiti, and Photorealism. Today's popular mediums include painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, and digital art.


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