Mississippi may not be the first place you think of when it comes to animation, but the state does have a lot to offer artists and designers of all kinds. First, the state is home to art museums of all sizes such as Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson (the state’s largest city), Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA) in Ocean Springs, and OHR-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi. Next, Besides the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson is home to the Mississippi Film Office, which offers incentives for filmmakers of all kinds. The office has attracted Hollywood productions such as Act of Valor (2012), The Help (2011), Walk the Line (2005), O, Brother Where Art Thou? (2000), A Time to Kill (1996), The Insider (1995), Mississippi Burning (1988) and The Client (1994).
Finally, Mississippi is home to hundreds of creative agencies, design firms, PR firms, production studios, technology companies, art centers, elementary and postsecondary schools, and colleges and universities that may offer employment opportunities for artists such as animators. Just a few possibilities include Mississippi Film Studios at Canton, Mabus Agency, Tellos Creative, Mississippi School of the Arts, Mississippi Creative Arts School, and the Department of Art and Design at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg.
Continue reading to learn more about employment and salary trends for Mississippi animators, and find out which schools offer the best program options.
Employment and Salary Trends for Mississippi Animators
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates on March 30, 2016. Unfortunately, the report did not include estimates for Mississippi animators. However, we do have figures from 2010, and the most resent BLS report did include estimates for Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations in Mississippi. Animators are members of this broad group.
In 2010, Mississippi was home to 40 salaried animators and multimedia artists. They earned a mean salary of $45,200 per year. Mississippi is home to 7,510 ADESM professionals, down from 8,030 in 2010. They average $40,260 annually, up from $37,410 in 2010. Nationwide, the median annual wage for animators and multimedia artists was $63,970 as of March 30, 2016. Overall employment for this group is expected to increase by six percent for the 2014-2024 decade. This is as fast as average for all occupations.
It is important to note that many animators and multimedia artists are self-employed. In fact, according to the Bureau, "Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” has the second highest concentration of employment (not highest employment level) in the nation for animators and multimedia artists.
This means it’s safe to assume that Mississippi has its fair share of animators and multimedia artists. Further, "Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” typically earn more than their salaried counterparts. According to the BLS, they average $70,080 per year.
The top five highest paying states for animators and multimedia artists are:
- California ($82,810)
- Washington ($80,460)
- Connecticut ($77,860)
- Massachusetts ($74,440)
- District of Columbia ($74,230)
The industries with the highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Motion Picture and Video industries
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
- Software Publishers
- Cable and Other Subscription Programming
- Specialized Design Services
The industries with the highest levels of employment are:
- Motion Picture and Video industries
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services
- Software Publishers
- Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
- Other Information Services
The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Travel Arrangement and Reservation Services ($85,750)
- Other Information Services ($82,940)
- Software Publishers ($76,920)
- Professional Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers ($75,540)
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers ($74,960)
The states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, Georgia, New York, Texas, and Washington.
Animation Career Opportunities in Mississippi
As mentioned, Mississippi is home to a variety of creative agencies, technology companies, production studios, schools, and other places that may hire animators. Besides Mabus Agency, Tellos Creative, Mississippi Film Studios at Canton, Mississippi School of the Arts, Mississippi Creative Arts School, and the Department of Art and Design at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, just a few options include:
- BICE Advertising, Hattiesburg
- Brainstorm Creative Group, Meridian
- Engineering Services & Software (ESS Interactive), Ocean Springs
- Eyevox Entertainment, Ridgeland
- Godwin Group, Jackson
- Liquid Creative, Jackson
- Loft 54, Ridgeland
- Mad Genius, Ridgeland
- Maris, West & Baker, Jackson
- Omega Group Advertising, Jackson
- The Cirlot Agency, Inc., Jackson
- The Focus Group, Gulfport
- The Ramey Agency, Jackson
While Jackson offers a large number of job opportunities, several other cities may be worth exploring as well. Consider Gulfport, Southaven, Hattiesburg, Biloxi, and Meridian.
Mississippi Animation Training Programs
Mississippi is home to 40 Title IV Degree-Granting colleges and universities. Most offer art and design programs and several may be a good fit for aspiring animators. Our top picks include:
- Belhaven University, Jackson
- University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg
- Hinds Community College, Raymond
- Northwest Mississippi Community College, Senatobia
Belhaven University offers a BFA in Graphic Design that features Digital Imaging/Animation coursework. The school lists animation as a career option for graduates. The University of Southern Mississippi offers a BA in Film with animation electives, while Hinds Community College offers a Career Certificate, Technical Certificate and an AAS degree in Entertainment Media Technology - Animation and Simulation Design Technology. Northwest Community College offers an AA in Art with drawing, computer art, and design coursework.
More Animation related programs to consider:
Awesome Animation Fact: In 1991 Wayne Allwine (February 7, 1947 – May 18, 2009), the voice of Mickey Mouse, married Russi Taylor (May 4, 1944 - ), the voice of Minnie!