Dark-haired woman in a paint-covered smock painting on canvas in art studio

Great Colleges for Visual Arts in the West and Midwest

Start your visual arts college search with this list of colleges and universities in the Midwestern and Western US that are looking for students like you!

Visual arts fields are for the most passionate people of all—those driven by the idea of creating something out of nothing, of finding beauty in anything. Creative students deserve the best of the best when it comes to visual arts higher education. If you’re an artistically driven individual, these schools are a great place to start (or continue) your college search. 

All the colleges and universities on this list are located in the Midwestern and Western US and offer fantastic visual arts programs in varying disciples—and you can connect with all of them quickly and easily on CollegeXpress! You’ll find a green “Connect me” button underneath each featured school. If you’re interested in learning more, just click the button—then they'll reach out to you with more info. This could be your launching point to a great art career! 

Chapman University 

ChapmanChapman University is a private university with a 78-acre campus in Orange County, California—30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Dodge College of Film & Media Arts is the fastest-rising film, advertising, and broadcast journalism school in the country, plunging students into an immersive world of entertainment and media. State-of-the-art facilities and professors—plus a constant flow of top Hollywood guests—all work together in a unique village setting.

Connect me with Chapman!

Cleveland State University

Cleveland State UniversityCleveland State University is a public university on an 85-acre campus in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Undergraduates can major in Art History, Design, or Studio Art and can declare a minor in Art History, Graphic Design, Studio Art, or Visual Studies. The University also offers an Arts Campus that includes over 120,000 square feet of studios, rehearsal space, classrooms, and production shops, with faculty from the top arts institutions in town, including the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

Connect me with Cleveland State! 

Miami University

Miami UniversityMiami University is a public coeducational university with a 2,100-acre in Oxford, Ohio, plus two additional campuses in Middletown and Hamilton. Students can major in Art (with a concentration in Ceramics, Metals, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, or Sculpture), Architecture, Art Education, Fashion, Games & Simulation, Interior Design, and more. The College of Creative Arts' #thrivingartist network provides a supportive group of arts alumni in major US cities—including New York City and Los Angeles—plus mentorship for new graduates and collaboration among arts alumni in key metropolitan areas.

Connect me with Miami! 

Ohio University

Ohio UniversityOhio University is a comprehensive public university in Athens, Ohio—75 miles southeast of Columbus. With 17,000 undergraduates and a 16:1 student-faculty ratio, OHIO offers more than 250 academic programs, including Studio Art, Art History, Interior Architecture, and more. Students can pursue their passions through exhibition opportunities, various funding for creative projects, innovative programs with contemporary practices, and more.

Connect me with OHIO!

University of Cincinnati

The University of CincinnatiUniversity of Cincinnati is a public research institution with a 250-acre campus just two miles from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Students can apply to programs in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) and pursue majors in Fashion Design, Industrial Design, Fine Arts, and Art History, plus a certificate in Game Art. Established partnerships with regional, national, and international clients provide opportunities for students to engage in real-world projects.

Connect me with Cincinnati!

University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado BoulderUniversity of Colorado Boulder is a comprehensive public university with a 600-acre campus in Boulder, Colorado—just 27 miles northwest of Denver. Nearly 1,000 undergraduate Art students and 50 Art graduate students learn from 18 full-time Studio Arts faculty members in programs including Ceramics, Foundations, IMAP (Photography, Digital Media, Video, and Integrated Arts), Painting & Drawing, Printmaking, and Sculpture & Post-studio Practice. At the heart of campus, the 170,000-sq. ft., state-of-the-art Visual Arts Complex houses both the University of Colorado Boulder Department of Art & Art History and the CU Art Museum.

Connect me with CU Boulder!

University of Iowa

The University of IowaUniversity of Iowa is the state’s first public institution of higher education, with a 1,700-acre campus directly adjacent to downtown Iowa City, Iowa. Art-related undergraduate areas of study include Art, Art History, Cinema, Communication Studies, Comparative Literature, Dance, English, English & Creative Writing, Journalism & Mass Communication, Music, and Theater Arts. The University has earned its reputation as an international pioneer in the arts, being home to the world-renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop and leaders across every form of creative expression.

Connect me with Iowa! 

Wayne State University

Wayne State UniversityWayne State University is a comprehensive public university on a 194-acre campus in Detroit, Michigan, with satellite campuses in Clinton Township, Farmington Hills, Jackson, Livonia, and Warren. The University offers majors in Art, Art History, Dance, Design, Design & Merchandising, Film, Journalism, Media Arts, and more through the College of Fine, Performing & Communication Arts. Students benefit from rigorous research, creative production, instruction, and community engagement within the context of an urban research university. 

Connect me with Wayne State! 

Interested in earning a visual arts degree somewhere else? You can check out our featured Visual Arts School Profiles page to find more options!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Sarah Armstrong

Sarah Armstrong

High School Class of 2022

I am a deaf student, and I had always dreamed of going to Gallaudet University. CollegeXpress helped me search though other qualified universities. They helped me know for sure that Gallaudet University was the right choice for me!

Rana Slosberg

Rana Slosberg

Slosberg College Solutions LLC

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is the 800+ lists which have all kinds of hard-to-find information. These lists are helpful when I’m creating college lists, and I also use them to give students a feel for a particular college or university.



High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress helped open me up to many colleges that fit my interests. I’m only a sophomore in high school, so I like having a lot to look at, and CX does a great job of picking colleges that meet my wants. It's a great website that I'll continue to use until it comes time for me to apply for colleges. I also like that it notifies me through email with options to look at. Thanks CX!

Fabiola Rodriguez

Fabiola Rodriguez

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me on my journey to get to the school of my first choice by showing me all the options I have. I didn’t know of the College of Southern Nevada until I went on this website, and it helped me look for other choices and compare what colleges would be right for me.

Hailey Riddile

Hailey Riddile

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships to apply for and look into more colleges. While there are many websites similar to CollegeXpress, every website is different, and I've found a lot of good insight on this website. Receiving emails from CollegeXpress about scholarships is extremely useful, and getting insight about colleges near, far, and anywhere in between helps me narrow down my choices to what I want, which is also super helpful. The articles are always really good reads, and I can't stress enough how helpful this website has been to me. Anything related to college is beneficial to me as a senior, and I have learned lots of useful things to help me on my college journey this year.

College Matches