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Career and Education Opportunities for Fine Artists in Thornton, Colorado

Fine artists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Thornton, Colorado area. There are currently 560 jobs for fine artists in Colorado and this is projected to grow by 12% to about 630 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for fine artists, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.0% over the next eight years. Fine artists generally create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.

A person working as a fine artist can expect to earn about $18 hourly or $39,310 annually on average in Colorado and about $20 per hour or $42,650 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Fine artists earn less than people working in the category of Art and Design generally in Colorado and less than people in the Art and Design category nationally. Fine artists work in a variety of jobs, including: paintings conservator, police sketch artist, and craft artist.

There are fifty-nine schools of higher education in the Thornton area, including three within twenty-five miles of Thornton where you can get a degree to start your career as a fine artist. The most common level of education for fine artists is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be a fine artist if you already have a high school diploma.


Fine Artist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, fine artists create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.

Fine artists talk with clients and other interested parties regarding the nature and content of artwork to be produced. They also study different techniques to learn how to apply them to artistic endeavors. Equally important, fine artists have to maintain portfolios of artistic work to exhibit styles and abilities. They are often called upon to submit preliminary or finished artwork or project plans to clients for approval, incorporating changes as needed. Finally, fine artists monitor events and other circumstances, research specific subject areas, attend art exhibitions, and read art publications in order to optimize concepts and keep current on art world efforts.

Every day, fine artists are expected to be able to distinguish between colors. They need to be creative and generate new ideas. It is also important that they visualize how things come together and can be organized.

It is important for fine artists to integrate and design visual elements, such as line and perspective, so as to produce desired effects such as the illustration of concepts or moods. They are often called upon to use materials such as pens and ink or computer software to generate artwork. They also cut and fasten individual or mixed raw and manufactured materials and products to fashion works of art. They are sometimes expected to develop finished art work as decoration, or to elucidate or substitute for spoken or written messages. Somewhat less frequently, fine artists are also expected to develop sketches or likenesses of posed subjects or photographs, using any combination of freehand drawing, mechanical assembly kits, and computer imaging.

Fine artists sometimes are asked to furnish entertainment at special events by performing efforts such as drawing cartoons. They also have to be able to model substances such as clay or wax, using fingers and small hand tools to fashion objects and shade and fill in sketch outlines and backgrounds, using a variety of media such as water colors and transparent washes, labeling designated colors when needed. And finally, they sometimes have to furnish entertainment at special events by performing efforts such as drawing cartoons.

Like many other jobs, fine artists must be thorough and dependable and be able to work independently and make decisions on their own.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Thornton include:

  • Actor. Play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Film or Videotape Editor. Edit motion picture soundtracks, film, and video.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Industrial Designer. Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
  • Writer. Create original written works.


Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design - Denver, CO

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, 1600 Pierce St, Denver, CO 80214. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is a small college located in Denver, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 573 students and an admission rate of 99%. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design has 3 areas of study related to Fine Artist. They are:

  • Fine/Studio Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Painting, bachelor's degree which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Sculpture, bachelor's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.

Naropa University - Boulder, CO

Naropa University, 2130 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302-6697. Naropa University is a small university located in Boulder, Colorado. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,075 students and an admission rate of 57%. Naropa University has 2 areas of study related to Fine Artist. They are:

  • Visual and Performing Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Fine/Studio Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

University of Colorado at Boulder - Boulder, CO

University of Colorado at Boulder, Regent Drive at Broadway, Boulder, CO 80309-0017. University of Colorado at Boulder is a large university located in Boulder, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 32,191 students and an admission rate of 78%. University of Colorado at Boulder has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Fine/Studio Arts which graduated 163 and eleven students respectively in 2008.


Certification of Medical Illustrators: The Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators administers a certification program for illustrators who seek a recognizable means of credentialing.

For more information, see the Association of Medical Illustrators website.


Thornton, Colorado
Thornton, Colorado photo by bonjourpeewee

Thornton is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 113,429, which has grown by 37.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Thornton, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Thornton are priced at $176,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-five new homes were constructed in Thornton, down from four hundred eighty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Thornton are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 29 minutes. More than 19.9% of Thornton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Thornton is 6.3%, which is less than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Thornton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.