For the first time, the annual "Best Colleges Guide" from U.S. News and World Report
magazine is featuring an art school, Ringling College of Art and Design
Ringling, which has expanded sharply in recent years, is widely known as a demanding place for creative types and for business people who want to expand their creativity, and as a pathway to employment.
The article is accompanied by four photographs taken on campus by a reportorial team from the magazine.
"Ringling isn't a traditional liberal arts college, but most of its students, from illustrators to graphic designers, thrive on its quirkiness," says the magazine.
A plus factor, according to the article, is that "it's a digital world, so every student gets a free MacBook upon enrollment."
The issue points out that "Ringling's campus, a few miles north of downtown Sarasota, houses about 70% of the small school's more than 1200 undergraduates. The area's white-sand beaches are a big draw for students, but so are the many local art galleries and theaters as well as the symphony, opera, and ballet."
As for jobs, U.S. News quotes President Dr. Larry R. Thompson as having a mission to dispel the idea of the starving artist, and pointing out that more than 1.25 million Americans work in the visual arts today. Dr. Thompson expects more than 10 percent growth in the industry in the next five years. "Ringling," says the article, "invites an impressive list of recruiters to campus each year, including Hallmark, Pixmar, and Reebok. Pixar and DreamWorks have hired about 40 Ringling graduates since the early 90s.
"Many students say the industry connections are why they chose the school in the first place," the magazine adds.
Ringling distributed the article to alumni and one commented that "I never felt I was on 'vacation' even in the beautiful scenery of Sarasota. I did, however, experience four years of sleep deprivation...I received a world class education."
To produce the article, reporters from U.S. News and World Report spent several days on campus and got a glimpse into senior Fine Arts studios and the Bookmaking class, a peek into the Design Center, and lunch with student leaders. They interviewed the president, longtime faculty members, and alums. Their final story is on page 32 of the guide, with photographs on pages 73 and 124. There are also five 2009 senior thesis animations, which are included as part of the magazine's "College Student Spotlight."