Langara and Academy of Art University launch new curriculum for digital artists in Vancouver

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      A career in art has traditionally been one of the hardest to make a living. True to the stereotype of the “starving artist”, the pursuit has been perceived more as a vocation or hobby than a job, and for most, it’s been a precarious and low-paid form of employment.

      As technology continues to infiltrate every aspect of life, though, the numbers—and salary—of artists have risen dramatically. Graphic designers, visual effects professional, 3D modelers, game-design artists, and more are in high demand as digital entertainment continues to explode.

      Vancouver has always been a centre of digital art and design. The Vancouver Economic Commission reports that the film industry—particularly those with projects that required animation and VFX—spent $3.8 billion on TV and movies created in B.C. between 2016 and 2017, with a significantly higher economic impact for the region. The gaming industry, too, is one of the region’s strengths, boasting more than 170 game development studios in Metro Vancouver alone. 

      In an effort to meet local industry demand for skilled artists, post-secondary institutions are stepping up to train students for careers in gaming and film.

      The most recent of those initiatives is the partnership between between Langara College and the Academy of Art University, San Francisco (ArtU). The program will teach students the ArtU techniques for VFX, 3D modeling, gaming, and other tech-related creative arts, and instruction will take place at the Vancouver institution’s state-of-the-art facility at 565 Great Northern Way.

      The organization suggests that its pupils will graduate with the skills they need to immediately enter the job market, and that international students will be eligible to apply for a two- or three-year post-graduation work permit to take advantage of the thriving digital art ecosystem in Vancouver.

      “This is an exciting project for Langara,” says Ajay Patel, Langara’s vice president of external development. “Langara’s mandate as a public college is to provide and build a strong, sustainable, innovative economy that works for everyone in the province. The ArtU partnership accomplishes exactly this. These programs will train a workforce needed to fill high demand jobs in this important sector. We are really excited to work with the Academy to deliver high level programming in the creative arts for games and film.”

      “We are excited to be the knowledge provider as Langara expands their educational offerings,” adds Bill Tsatsoulis, the chief operating officer at ArtU. “Our practice-based curriculum gives students the tools and real-world experience that today’s creative industries are demanding. This partnership directly supports our vision to be the first choice for students seeking a world-class education in the arts, and the first choice for those seeking to employ talented artists and designers.”

      More information is available at the Langara College website.

      Kate Wilson is the Technology Editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSays