What Are the Best Art Schools and Colleges in California?

July 3, 2016

When it comes to education which allows individuals to dwell upon the creative, critical or analytical approaches to art, there is a part of the world that comes to mind almost instantly. Art Schools in California offer a range of studies spanning from Architecture, Fine Art, Design, Photography, down to Film, Animation, 3D Design and Game Design. If you are someone who plans to embark on a journey of discovering the kind of art that one can see, Art Colleges in California might just be the places where you can fully grasp the lengths of meaning which exist within the sphere of Visual Arts… Allan Bloom once said: “Education is the movement from darkness to light,” and we could not agree more. To educate yourself means to broaden your mind in a way you did not even think was possible. You learn things you didn’t even know you should learn, and you expand your horizons to the lengths you never knew existed. Apart from that, you learn how to think critically and question everything in the long journey towards success. And if you pick California, the state of many art galleries and museums for your scholarly adventure, you are in for a treat!

The educational system of California is comprised of private and public schools and universities, as well as community colleges and high schools. Being the most populous state in the USA, it has the most new students as well, more than 36 states have in total population. California is also known for the highest number of enrollments in the whole country. As for art schools in California and art colleges in California, there is a high number of quality institutions that can satisfy even the hungriest of learning minds, that offer a good community, and provide a plethora of information and resources for the prospective college students in the search for the perfect degree. If you are looking for a sunny campus, if you are not afraid of competitive admissions rates, or if you just search for a solid new community in which you can thrive and get all the information you need, California art colleges are for you.

So, whether you are a first-time college student or you want to expand your area of expertise in this sunny state, scroll down to see the top art schools in California.

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Brooks Institute in Ventura

The arts college focused on the visual and media arts in Ventura, the Brooks Institute is a for-profit art school. It offers two graduate programs and four majors, and these programs include Bachelor of Arts in Professional Photography, Film and Video Production, Graphic Design, and Visual Journalism, and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography and Master of Science in Scientific and Technology Imaging. The Brooks institute has three campuses in Santa Barbara and Ventura. The campus in Ventura used to be a movie studio and includes a screening room, post-production facilities, sound stages, movie backlot sets, and digital video editing studios, among others. Brooks focuses on “learning by doing”, so the students are encouraged to make use of the professional equipment available in order to gain experience in their fields of interest, as well as to engage in the creative community that offers a lot of information that can be very useful in their future careers. All the previously mentioned things surely make Brooks Institute one of the best art schools in California. The admissions rate for Brooks is 99%, so apply fearlessly, the year 2016 might be the year you embark on that magical journey called college!

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The Art Institute of California in Los Angeles

The AICA-LA is a for-profit college for creative arts in Los Angeles. Actually, the Art Institutes is comprised of a network of over fifty for-profit art schools in the USA, eight of which are in California (in Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento). The AICA focuses on practical education with an aim for employment after graduation, so it is no wonder that it offers a strong Career Services department. It offers programs such as Industrial Design, Media Arts and Animation, Interior Design, and Digital Video Production/Motion Picture, among others. In the vicinity of the campus are many big companies such as Disney, ABC, CBS, Paramount, Columbia, and Universal Studios, so the students have the perfect opportunity for internships. The admissions rate is 40% but do not let this discourage you in your search for the perfect degree program in one of the best art colleges in California.

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Academy of Art University in San Francisco

Founded in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens, the Academy of Art University, formerly known as Academy of Art College is a for-profit art school in California, in San Francisco. It is one of the largest privately owned schools of art and design in the USA, and it holds over seventy alumni and student art exhibitions each year. That means that students get many opportunities to show their work, and get their career on track. The students are granted access to a number of facilities, including studio space, light equipment, and green-screen rooms, and the San Francisco location of the University provides plenty of opportunities for networking and internships at various creative companies. The school is open admission-type and offers programs such as Animation and Visual Effects, Fashion, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Photography, New Media, and a lot more.

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UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture in Los Angeles

The UCLA Arts is a public art school in California, at the University of California in Los Angeles. It consists of four degree-granting departments (Architecture and Urban Design, Art, Design | Media Arts, and World Arts and Cultures/Dance), and six centers (the Art | Global Health, the Art | Sci, cityLAB, the Experiential Technologies, the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts and the Now Institute, and Center for the Art of Performance). The school also has two public arts institutions, the Hammer Museum and Fowler Museum at UCLA, which make the University of California campus worth a visit! The admission rate for UCLA is 19%, and notable faculty members include the legendary professors such as Vasa Mihich, Rebecca Allen, Victoria Vesna, and Casey Reas. In addition to all of this, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture fine arts graduate program is ranked second among all fine arts programs in the United States, and first among fine arts programs in public universities, by US News and World Reports.

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Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles

The private art and design school in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester, Otis College of Art and Design is one of the best art schools in California today. Founded in 1918, it was the first independent professional school of art in the city. It has been ranked among the best art colleges in California, and best design schools in the whole country, with a particular interest in its animation and fashion programs. Notable alumni and faculty of Otis include the recipients of MacArthur, Fulbright, and Guggenheim grants, Oscar winners, famous costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, and top-notch designers. The students are able to intern at a number of art galleries, museums, and big companies such as Nike and LEGO, definitely good news for the people who wish to start their careers with style. Otis has an admission rate of 66%, and its programs include Digital Media, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Architecture, Product Design, and Toy Design, to name a few.

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California Institute of the Arts in Valencia

CalArts Institute in the Valencia neighborhood of Santa Clarita municipality is in the top three California art schools for a reason! It was founded by the legendary Walt Disney back in the early 1960s and has been in the very top of art schools in California ever since. Each student at California Institute of the Arts is assigned a mentor who is responsible for guiding them through their program and assisting them in their independent study. The students are also able to have freedom in the development of their own work over which they retain copyright and control. The school has eight galleries that show student work, and it provides a number of helpful facilities, such as media labs, and a “Super Shop” for woodworking, mold making, and metalworking. As one of the best art schools in California, CalArts offers programs such as Photography and Media, Art, Graphic Design, Film and Video, and Animation, among others. The admission rate is 27,5%, which is completely understandable given that some of the CalArts alumni ended up working at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar. And yes, the notable alumni include Tim Burton, Jerry Rees, and John Musker.

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California College of the Arts in San Francisco

California College of the Arts or simply CCA is an art, architecture, design, and writing school in San Francisco founded in 1907, so you can imagine the history it has. The CCA values the one-on-one attention to the students, as the student-teacher ratio is 8:1 here. It also includes a First Year Program that makes students familiar with the studio practice, as well as the portfolio review at the end of each year. Additionally, CCA organizes a First Year Student Exhibition every year and offers a number of helpful resources for the professional development and networking in the world of arts that surely helps students kick-start their career more easily. The admission rate in CCA is 76%, and it offers programs such as Graphic Design, Film, Animation, Painting, Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, to name a few.

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Art Center College of Design in Pasadena

Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design is one of the best art schools in California offers the comprehensive education to the students from day one. Here, you do not get the first-year general education program, so if you know exactly what you want to dedicate your life to, this is the perfect place for you! Their unique Transdisciplinary Studios Program makes it possible for students to collaborate regardless of their major, in order to erase the limits of creativity and allow students to freely explore their options and interests. The school partners up with various organizations and companies that sponsor student projects and encourages the student’s engagement in solving social and cultural issues that better the society. The programs they offer vary from Entertainment Design, Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography and Imaging, Product Design, to Environmental Design. With the admission rate of 63%, all you have to do is make a decision and head for Pasadena for a journey of a lifetime!

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