There are lots of reasons to go to Pennsylvania: historic sites, horseracing and casinos, scenic country hikes and snow sports, a romantic getaway in the Poconos, or to watch Punxsutawney Phil make his annual spring prediction. However, those seeking a serious art education do not often think of art schools in PA as major headliners.
Pennsylvania may have its share of museums and cultural centers – it can boast The Andy Warhol Museum after all – but it may surprise some that Pennsylvania lands a spot in the top 8 states for art schools.
The Art Institute has three locations in PA, but then AI is in just about every state. They have one of the largest, if not the largest, art school franchise in North America, so it's not surprising that Pennsylvania would rate three locations, if only for its typically east coast population density. The AI location in Philadelphia occupations an Art Deco style historical landmark building, so there's a nice tie-in with elements of architectural training.
Art Institute is not the only kid on the block, though. There are a couple of well-known art schools that can offer an education that even the snootiest curator would consider reliable ..
The Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, located in Lancaster, sports a trendy looking downtown storefront close to Gallery Row. The student pursuing a career in fine arts who has a propensity for New England's ambiance can get a 4-year bachelor's degree in fine arts, graphic design, illustration, or photography. Both the cultural and natural environments that Pennsylvania offers can be quite inspirational for both the urban and rural minded.
There is one stand out that earns Pennsylvania a spot on the top 8 list, and that's Antonelli Institute located in Erdenheim. As art schools in PA go, Antonelli (I'll spare you the confusion of abbreviating it as its initials are identical to those of Art Institute,) was founded in 1938 by internationally renowned photographer and artist, Servero Antonelli. Consequently, its focus (pardon the pun), was geared toward professional and military photographers. It has been a favorite of military veterans looking for solid photographic training.
Antonelli Institute earned accreditation in 1975 when it added study programs in Commercial Art. While the range of degree programs is limited to photography and graphic design / commercial art, those narrow courses of study do offer the sort of concentrated exposure (again, no pun intended,) that a person with serious goals in either could greatly benefit from.
Oakbridge Academy of Arts boasts an externship program, (what we might have called an apprenticeship not too far in the distant past,) that all enables students to gain hands-on real-life experience in their chosen field of art, being it specialized technology , visual design and photography or digital communications and web design. They offer both diploma and degree programs.
While this popular New England state may draw residents, visitors, and nomadic globe trekkers for it other more obvious features, art schools in PA should not be overlooked by someone wanting to make a career in the art field.