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Best Art Schools in Chicago | See Details

If you are looking for a school to study art, going to an art school in Chicago won’t be a bad decision. We will be listing out and also discussing some of the best art schools in Chicago to make the selection of schools easier for you.


By now, it’s an old joke that parents recoil in horror when they learn that their kid wants to go to art school. The terrified parents always want to know how their child will earn a living and make money with a fine arts degree.

While there’s some humor to the joke, the fact of the matter is that stereotypes about starving artists and maniacal loners wearing paint-smeared smocks are a thing of the past.

Today, artists make a healthy living doing everything from illustrations for magazines to fashion designs to creating video games.

But while much has changed about the art industry, one thing remains the same: you still need a good education.

For some, a great art school experience brings to mind the cosmopolitan hustle of New York City or the outrageous lifestyles in Los Angeles, California. But actually, one can find excellent art schools in any part of the world, especially in Chicago.

Whether you want to perfect your craft in the frozen reaches of the Yukon or the bustling urban space of Vancouver, Chicago has a wide range of excellent schools.

These schools run the gamut from traditional arts, such as illustration and painting, to new media and performance art.

Lists of The Best Art Schools in Chicago

  • Lewis University
  • North Park University
  • Dominican University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art & Art History
  • Northwestern University
  • Wheaton College
  • University of Chicago Department of Visual Arts
  • American Academy of Art College
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago

1. Lewis University

Lewis University offers a number of unique, pragmatic programs for aspiring artists.

The Interactive Design concentration provides impactful interactive user experiences via smartphone or online technology. Students in these courses will design, prototype, present, test, and refine innovations.

One of the assets of Lewis’ art curriculum is that it prioritizes project-based course offerings that focus on community needs.

On campus, there are many opportunities for art students to get involved, including the Graphic Design Club and Art Club.

Lewis offers an exciting curriculum at an exceptional value – 98% of students receive a financial aid package.

2. North Park University

 At North Park, students choose from two focus areas within the BA degree track: Fine Arts or Graphic Design.

The Fine Arts concentration combines the analysis of art history with experimentation in drawing, painting, photography, and other media forms.

Professor Nnenna Okore teaches a class in three-dimensional design and is a recipient of the 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar Award – her artwork has been displayed in some of the nation’s award-winning galleries and museums around the world.

The Graphic Design concentration, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of good visual and verbal communication skills, as well as creative problem-solving strategies.

Students can alternatively work to obtain an Arts Management Certificate, which could prepare them to excel in positions where they oversee community arts institutions, lead creative programs, host events, etc.

3. Dominican University

Dominican University ranked as the 1st Best Value School in Illinois and 3rd in Social Mobility, Dominican is one of only two schools in the nation ranked in the Top 10 Overall schools for Social Mobility.

Within the Department of Art and Design, students can major in Graphic Design, Painting, or Photo-Cinema.

Students majoring in Photo-Cinema often receive grants to complete creative projects in national parks, publish their first novel, or work alongside independent film producers.

If there is a conference or event that students in any art focus wish to attend, they can apply for funding through URSCI – the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Investigations Program.

Many Dominican students participate in the Rome winter break program or the Florence summer study abroad program.

Furthermore, the university offers study abroad opportunities in London, South Africa, Cuba, and other countries.

The Florence excursion is enriching for art students, who study either photography or drawing in a historic landscape defined by its art.

4. Loyola University Chicago

 Loyola University makes good on its attempts to find and create opportunities for students in the Chicago community.

All students are invited to submit their artwork to the Annual Student Art Competition, which is displayed at the Ralph Arnold Gallery.

All art students are encouraged to participate in either a Visual Communication Internship or a Gallery Internship.

The first internship prepares students for applying to graduate school or building an entry-level career, while the second internship gives students the chance to examine artworks within local galleries and museums.

Loyola offers five art majors, with its Sculpture and Ceramics major being one of the rare concentrations found in programs of study across the nation.

5. The University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art & Art History

Students at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art & Art History can earn a BFA in either Art or Art Education.

For the Art BFA, students complete a first-year program where they experiment with a wide range of media forms.

They must take part in an all-school portfolio review to move forward into the major-related curriculum.

From there, students opt for one of four categories to specialize: New Media Arts, Moving Image, Photography, and Studio Arts.

New Media Arts offers an interdisciplinary curriculum where students work with creative experts to research, create, and test artistic solutions to emergent technology needs.

A recent new class within the program of studies – ART 151 Creative Coding – teaches students how to use code-based tools to present data in interactive forms.

Students who opt to pursue a BFA in Art Education gain valuable experience in student teaching internships where they work with certified art educators in the Chicago Public Schools System.


Everything in this article laid emphasis on the best art schools in Chicago. Was it useful to you? Let us know in the comment box.

Last Updated on November 29, 2022 by Admin

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