In today's world, professionals versed in art and design are in high demand, particularly those who can use their skills in both the fine arts and commercial worlds. Those looking to embark on a career in the arts have a huge range of options for their training and education. In an on-going series, Art & Object delves into the top art schools and programs in the U.S.
Here, we look at the top ten schools of the Southwest, which tend to have visual and performing arts programs with a relatively high average of diversity compared to other regions in the U.S. Additionally, at almost every school, the largest racial group after White is Latinx. This is a departure from the Northeast and Midwest, where the second largest group is most often non-resident or Asian American. In the Southeast, this group is typically African American or an even split between African American and Latinx groups.
This region’s top ten has the broadest range in student body size. The largest school featured has 38,814 students. The smallest has just 113. Many of these schools are broadly focused colleges or universities that happen to have top tier art programs, rather than arts-focused schools. The programs offered at these institutions often encourage or require some degree of interdisciplinary studying.
Two schools in this top ten are open-enrollment institutions, meaning their acceptance rate is essentially 100 percent. These two institutions are also the only arts-focused schools on the list. This region's top ten listings also features a private, Christian university.
To determine its final rankings, Art & Object's editorial staff weighed the following factors: school reputation, tuition, cost of living, scholarship opportunities, fields of study, degrees offered, course diversity, faculty expertise, alumni reputation, student body diversity, student life in general, surrounding art scene, cultural opportunities, and post-graduation career help. While Art & Object has strived to craft a list in the most objective manner possible, we recognize that measures of "best" could include many other factors. With that said, here are the Art & Object selections of the best art schools in the Southwest. You can find our rankings for the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, West, and our overall Top Ten here.