Reviewing Minnesota’s Best Art Colleges

Minnesota is a large and beautiful state with a reputation for personality and creativity. From Garrison Keillor’s mythical Lake Woebegone to the work of Minnesota state natives F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Judy Garland and Charles Schultz, the state has long contributed to the arts in the America. Opportunities for creative work in Minnesota are growing, whether you are interested in becoming an interior designer, museum curator, advertising art director or fine artist.

From its famous 10,000 Lakes to its major urban and business center in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, Minneapolis provides creative inspiration. Minneapolis boasts the 11-day long Minneapolis Fringe Festival, the largest non-juried performing and visual arts festival in the nation. The state also houses museums, galleries and design firms. Minnesota offers a variety of settings and institutions for individuals committed to pursing studies in arts-related careers.

Minnesota has four art schools accredited by the National Association of Schools for Art and Design (NASAD) including two small specialized design schools: the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, with some 703 enrolled students (est. 1886), and the College of Visual Arts (est. 1948) with an enrollment of 200. Minnesota State University in Mankato and Minnesota State University in Moorhead both offer Departments of Art with programs accredited by NASAD as well as by the Council for Interior Design. Minnesota State and the Minnesota College of Art and Design also offer distance learning options through their online programs.

Minnesota College of Art and Design (MCAD) is located in Minneapolis, in a neighborhood adjacent to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts-the Twin Cities pre-eminent art museum, housed in a neo-classical landmark building designed by McKim, Mead and White in 1915. The College offers a range of degrees. The Bachelor of Fine Arts program allows students to choose from 13 different majors in fine art, design and media. Some the school’s more unusual majors include Furniture Design, Comic Art and a major called Print Paper Book. The BFA program offers a balance of two-thirds studio classes and one-third liberal arts, providing a strong pre-professional focus.

The Minnesota College of Art and Design also offers a Bachelor of Science degree that centers on bridging the gap between business executives and creative staff. This program is recommended for students who are both visual and verbal and who are interested in applying their analytical and entrepreneurial skills to working in arts-related fields. Students participate in internships in art agencies, design firms and web development companies. The school’s Masters of Fine Arts in visual studies follows a mentor-based approach combining studio work with seminars and inter-disciplinary experience.

Minnesota State offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees offering studio specializations in ceramics, drawing, fibers, graphic design, painting, photography printmaking and sculpture. Minnesota State offers an alternative for students looking to study art in the context of a large university with a range of educational resources.

Minnesota State Mankato enrolls 14,500 students on its 303 acre campus located 85 miles southwest of Minneapolis. Similarly, the University Of Minnesota Department Of Art in Minneapolis offers a Bachelor of Arts Program encompassing training in studio arts as well as history of art and art criticism. The school’s selective Bachelors in Fine Arts program is available for students applying at the end of their sophomore year and looking to prepare for a specialized art career or graduate study.

Other liberal arts schools in Minnesota offer bachelor’s degrees in art including St. Cloud State in St. Cloud, where students can choose in emphasis in graphic design, 3-d media, or integrated media. Independent Arts institutes, such as the College of Visual Arts, focus on individualized learning an art-making community and boast an integrated curriculum focused on preparing students to become professional artists.