Learn animation in the PNW

Many institutions in the PNW offer short courses to learn the basics of animation, and though there is no established experimental animation BA or MA like at CalArts (yet?) many established colleges or universities (and one high school) do offer courses wherein experimental animation is possible or encouraged:



Nova is an alternative high school in Seattle, where students choose their classes and are directly involved in creating their schedules. Seattle animator Stefan Gruber founded the animation department in 2001, and its students routinely produce innovative and inspiring work.

Photo from http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/evergreen-state-college-8155/photos

Evergreen campus

The Evergreen State College is a public liberal arts college in Olympia, with a non-traditional approach to education. Full-time students enroll in interdisciplinary academic ‘programs’ instead of classes. Programs typically offer students the opportunity to study several disciplines in a coordinated manner. Some programs offered in the past that might be interest:


– Nonfiction Media: Animation, Documentary and Experimental Approaches to the Moving Image, taught by Ruth Hayes and Anne Fischel.

– Visualizing Microbial Seascapes: An Introduction to Animation and Marine Biology, taught by Ruth Hayes and Gerardo Chin-Leo.

– CultureLab: Advanced Projects in Visual and Media Arts, taught by Ruth Hayes and Evan Blackwell.


Though not specializing in animation, Cornish offers both Design and Film + Media degrees, within which animation is possible. Animator Tony White is an adjunct professor on the Design course.


Though also not concentrating on animation specifically, the University of Washington’s DXARTS center offers experimental courses, usually with a focus on technology.


Bellevue College offers an associate degree in Digital Media Arts where experimental animation is possible, though not the focus.


Though not focusing on animation, Shoreline Community College offers a History of Animation class taught by veteran Seattle animator Bob Hutchinson. Bob has also taught a Drawing for Animation class at the SCC Visual Art Center since 2008. See the video below for a sample of student work and check the school website for updates on the class.

DRAWING FOR ANIMATION SAMPLER 2008-2015 Visual Arts Center Shoreline Community from Hutch’s Animations on Vimeo.


DigiPen is an institution generally aimed at training students for the technology industry (including professional animation studios). Though experimental animation is not emphasized, they do offer a BA in Digital Art and Animation.



The Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland offers an Animated Arts undergraduate concentration where an experimental approach to the moving image is encouraged. Faculty includes animation artists Rose Bond, Laura Heit and Lori Damiano.

The school also hosts a biennial two-week intensive program called Boundary Crossings, open to “working professionals as well as to graduate and upper-level undergraduate students with an interest in time-based arts and a desire for an immersive studio experience on the cutting edge of animation and fine art.” The program is led by Rose Bond, and hosts interesting visiting tutors from all over the world.



For short animation courses aimed at kids (and sometimes adults), check out these organizations, which offer them regularly:

Coyote Central, Seattle

Northwest Film Forum, Seattle

Reel Grrls, Seattle

Northwest Film Center, Portland