San Francisco Art Schools

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Attending Art School in San Francisco

Among the many attractions bringing 17 million visitors to San Francisco each year, cable cars, Alcatraz, Lombard Street, Ghirardelli chocolate, and Fisherman’s Wharf seem among the favorites. San Francisco’s true legacy, however, has very little to do with the mainstream tourist destinations; rather, its history as a city of social progression, conscientious activism, and alternative lifestyles is the true essence of the city. This is evidenced throughout history as San Francisco bore witness to the Beat Generation, the counter-culture movement of the 60s, the Women’s Movement, and, most recently, the Gay Civil Rights Movement.  Given these qualities, San Francisco is an obvious choice for many artists who, much like the city itself, see the world through different eyes. The endless resources available for students is even more evidence of this city’s artcentric appeal. For example, SoMa (South of Market) is a neighborhood in transition and home to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Ansel Adams Museum, and the SoMArts Cultural Center. SoMa is also replete with galleries, especially those that have mastered the art of presenting exhibitions in a club-like setting such as 111 Minna Street Gallery, Studio Z, Varnish, and the most popular On Six Gallery. Other popular spaces include the Cell Space, Luggage Store, and the politically active Fifty Crows Gallery. SoMa is also where you’ll find a number of art organizations, independent bookstores, and throngs of art students taking advantage of all the local amenities. The Haight-Ashbury section of the city, famed for the Summer of Love, hippies, and radicalism, still maintains its bohemian identity, despite significant changes in commerce and real estate. In addition to the expected boutiques and “lifestyle” stores, there remains an artistic undercurrent that draws many local art students seeking to conjure artists of old (or patronize one of the dozen or so tattoo parlors).  Other attractions not to be missed in and around the city include the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Asian Art Museum, and the Palace of Fine Arts. Ultimately, art students choosing to attend school in San Francisco will find a large population of open-minded, eccentric peers who share a desire to challenge norms, test boundaries, and hone their own artistic abilities.

79 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 274-2200
www.academyart.edu
Enrollment:  
5324
Faculty:  
84
Programs:  
Advertising (Account Planning, Art Direction, Copywriting, and Television Commercials), Animation (Background Painting & Layout Design, Visual Development, Character Animation, Games, Visual Effects/Compositing, and 3D Modeling), Computer Arts (3D Modeling, Animation, Gaming, New Media, Publishing, Visual Effects, and Web Design), Fashion (Fashion Design, Fashion Illustration, Knitwear, Merchandising, and Textiles), Fine Art (Ceramics, Metal Arts, Neon, Painting/Drawing, Sculpture, and Printmaking), Graphic Design (Branding, Corporate Identity, Packaging, and Print), Illustration (Cartooning, Children's Books, Editorial, Feature Film Animation, and 2D Animation), Industrial Design Studios (Automotive Design, Product Design, Toy Design, and Furniture Design), Interior Architecture & Design (Commercial & Residential Interior Architecture), Motion Pictures & Television (Acting, Advertising, Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design, Screenwriting, and Special Effects), Photography (Advertising, Documentary, Digital Photography, Fashion, Fine Art, Photo Illustration, Photojournalism, and Portraiture)
Degrees:  
Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Architecture, or Certificate programs
Features:  
The largest private school of art and design in the United States; an institutional member of the Career College Association (CCA), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and a member of the International Council of Design Schools (ICDS) and the College Art Association (CAA); 625 Sutter Street Gallery, 688 Sutter Street Gallery, 79 New Montgomery Street Gallery; The Academy operates a fleet of buses to safely and efficiently transport students between dorms and classrooms; Online classes; Advisory program; Scholarship opportunities; Academy Resource Center
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133-2299
(415) 771-7020
www.sfai.edu
Enrollment:  
412
Faculty:  
39
Programs:  
History and Theory of Contemporary Art, Urban Studies, Design & Technology, Film, Liberal Arts, New Genres, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Photography, Museum and Exhibition Studies
Degrees:  
Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Art, Master of Fine Arts
Features:  
Diego Rivera Gallery (The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City is one of only three San Francisco murals by the acclaimed artist. It's the only Rivera mural open to the public. Located off of the main courtyard at 800 Chestnut St. at SFAI's main campus in San Francisco, the Diego Rivera Gallery also houses student-run exhibition spaces that features year-round exhibitions of student artwork); Walter and McBean Galleries; The Ascending Gallery features prints by undergraduate and graduate students in exhibitions; the Painting Department provides 15 semi-private Senior Studios; Artists Resource Center; one of the U.S.'s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art;
Noted Alumni:  
Lance Acord, Michael Arcega, Devendra Banhart, Gutzon Borglum (creator of Mt. Rushmore), Kathryn Bigelow, Enrique Chagoya, Michael Cotton, Reichard Diebenkorn, Karen Finley, Mike Henderson, David Ireland, Henry Kiyama, Annie Liebovitz, Mads Lynnerup, Paul McCarthy, Barry McGee, Wing Na, Catherine Opie, William Wiley, Katherine Sherwood, Jonathan Yegge
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-2411
www.sfsu.edu
Enrollment:  
28950
Faculty:  
23
Programs:  
Art Education, Art History, Ceramics, Conceptual & Information Arts, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Textiles
Degrees:  
Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts
Features:  
The Fine Arts Gallery (two of the four annual exhibitions include the annual Stillwell Student Show, which is a juried exhibition for undergraduate art students, and the annual MFA Graduate Thesis Exhibition); The ARTery (student run gallery); The Cesar Chaves Student Center Art Gallery; The Romberg Tiburon Center MFA Graduate Studio Space; accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges; Offers academic advisement, summer courses, internships
Noted Alumni:  
Annette Bening, Po Bronson, David Carradine, Dana Carvey, Margaret Cho, Peter Coyote, Michael Curtis, Jennifer Finch, Ben Fong-Torres, Ernest J. Gaines, Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Johnny Mathis, Frances Mayes, Dan 'The Automator' Nakamura, Greg Proops, Anne Rice, Terry Riley, Richard Goodman, Ronnie Schnell, Jeffrey Tambor, Cal Tjader, B.D. Wong
1170 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 865-0198
www.artinstitutes.edu/sanfrancisco/
Faculty:  
NULL
Programs:  
Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interactive Media Design, Advertising, Fashion Marketing & Management, Game Art & Design, Media Arts & Animation, Simulation & Virtual Environments, Visual & Game Programming, Computer Animation
Degrees:  
Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy in Art History,
Features:  
Light, spacious classrooms and equipped studios and computer labs offer a productive working atmosphere to explore and render your creativity. The school also includes library resources, a student gallery, a student lounge, staff offices, an art supply store, and other amenities.
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
(415) 422-6563
www.usfca.edu/
Enrollment:  
5248
Faculty:  
12
Programs:  
Visual Arts, Architecture and Community Design, Arts Education, Performing Arts and Social Justice
Degrees:  
Bachelor of Arts
Features:  
Established as the City of San Francisco's first institution of higher education by the Jesuit Fathers in October 1855; Thacher Gallery (Along with its exhibition calendar, the Thacher Gallery presents free public programs, such as artist lectures and panels, craft seminars, gallery publications, and guided tours to increase art appreciation and cross-disciplinary discussions on campus and in the community.) Student exchange program, known for its service learning and public service efforts through its McCarthy Center; Freshman Resource Center, Career Services, Learning Center / Writing Center, Special Needs Accommodations,
Noted Alumni:  
Joe Rosenthal, Alejandro Toledo, Paul and Gordon Getty