As locations for universities go, West Virginia University in the United States has a plum spot. Surrounded by the renowned natural beauty of the West Virgina region, the university’s hometown of Morgantown was recently named the Number 1 Small City in America by BizJournals.com for its exceptional quality of life.

West Virginia University College of Creative Arts

Pic: West Virginia University College of Creative Arts

Add to that its proximity to major American cities including Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and you have a rather advantageous location.

Creative arts students will find that West Virginia is a place to nurture and explore their talents, and that the surrounding area will provide them with great artistic inspiration.

West Virginia supports a number of artistic mediums. The campus’ Creative Arts Center is home to the WVU College of Creative Arts. It is a modern, well-equipped facility devoted to creative development through instruction, performance and exhibition in Art, Music, and Theatre and Dance. The center features a 1,400 seat concert theatre, which accommodates many College and University productions, in addition to providing premiere performance space for touring productions.

The Center also supports the visual arts. There are large ceramics, printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture, photographic and computer studios for instruction in the fine arts. The Mesaros Art Galleries provide exhibition space for faculty and student art as well as works from the WVU Art Collection and visiting artists.

The Creative Arts Center becomes a home-away-from home for faculty and students, as it holds 50 classrooms and studios as instructional spaces, in addition to private offices and individual studios.

This nurturing and high-quality environment breeds excellence and success. College of Creative Arts alumni have successful careers as professional artists, teachers, or arts administrators, working in studios, theater companies, film, television, publishing and graphic arts companies, design studios, colleges and universities, and more.

West Virginia also shares a unique link with the international community in China as the only university in the United States to offer a study and travel program in partnership with the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute.

West Virginia student Sarah Olsen has high praise for her time spent in the China program.

“The exchange program with the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute is a wonderful way to understand the history behind the medium I’ve chosen,” she said. “I wanted to go to a town that had 1,700 years of history in porcelain, and I wanted to be there long enough to experience everthing the town had to offer.”

There is also a summer painting course in China in which students work with professor Naijun Zhang to study landscape painting in Chinese Ink style.

The musical program at West Virginia is also of a high international caliber.

Mario Santoso, a Doctor of Musical Arts degree candidate, was attracted to the school because of the reputable professors and administration.

“I believe the faculty members here have high standards and they professionally have a reputation in the worldwide music field,” he said.

West Virginia University College of Creative Arts

Pic: West Virginia University College of Creative Arts

Students who express themselves through music rather than visual fine arts also have opportunities to explore their talents and areas of interest abroad. Through the “Music Alive!” partnership, WVU students study at universities in Recife and Rio de Janiero, Brazil. They also apprentice with local musicians and have the opportunity to participate in Carnaval and other community events.

There are excellent offerings for postgraduate degree programs as well. The university’s School of Art &Design’s Master of Fine Arts program is ranked among the best fine arts programs in U.S News & World Report’s America’s Best Graduate Schools 2012 and its MFA program in Ceramics is ranked 18th in the country.

Of course, the school also fosters great opportunities and programs outside of one’s stated major. There are numerous on-campus activities in which students can participate.

West Virginia boasts a highly international community, with more than 100 nations represented among the student body. There is a wealth of information the school provides to prospective students from abroad, including their Guide for International Students.

The West Virginia University College of Creative Arts is constantly looking forward. In 2013, the College of Creative Arts will open an Art Museum, which will feature an outdoor sculpture garden and two exhibition galleries totaling approximately 5,500 square feet. The museum will present touring exhibitions and works from the University Art Collection.

Like WVU Creative Arts on Facebook for general school updates, and the School of Music, School of Theatre & Dance and School of Art & Design pages for specific school updates. Follow the College of Creative Arts on Twitter for program updates and to stay in the know about school happenings. Want to see photos of the theatrics at WVU? Visit the Theatre School’s Flickr page for all the action. Need more information on what life on campus is like? Hear it straight from those who live and work there on youtube.