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 a new series, Art & Object delves into the top art schools and programs in the U.S. From public universities with state-of-the-art studios to solely arts-focused colleges with flourishing overseas programs, this list runs the gamut. With this list, we are looking at the West.
This final top ten, showcasing the best art schools of the West, is distinct in a couple of ways. Diversity percentages are incredibly wide-ranging for this region. While the overall average remains standard, this listing includes the two most racially diverse schools of this series and one of the least.
Unlike any region so far, the largest racial group after white is typically evenly split between Asian American and Latinx students. It also features the only women’s college.
Additionally, this list includes the school whose graduates have the highest average salary of the series. And, another religious school is featured.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a majority of the schools in this listing are located in California and all but one of these are situated in or just outside of Los Angeles. Therefore many of these schools boast a deep connection with the LA art scene and its countless student opportunities.
In terms of cost of tuition, net price for low-income students, acceptance rate, and even student body size, the schools of the West are relatively standard. That being said, these schools do stand out a bit in terms of the size of their visual and performing arts departments. The average number of graduates produced per year is relatively high and this seems to correlate with a higher degree of general departmental resources.
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 West. You can find our rankings for the Southeast, Northeast, Southwest, Midwest, and our overall Top Ten here.
*Note: LGBTQ+ individuals may not always be accurately represented in gender data reported by institutions and organizations.