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D E G R E E P R O G R A M S AT A G L A N C E UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES SCHOOL OF STUDIO PRACTICE Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) ► Design and Technology ► Film ► New Genres ► Painting ► Photography ► Printmaking ► Sculpture

SCHOOL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES Bachelor of Arts (BA) ► History and Theory of Contemporary Art ► Urban Studies Students can pursue a minor in any of SFAI’s major programs.


SFAI Courtyard Photographed by Shane O'Neill

AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR MOTIVATED THINKERS AND MAKERS. FOR MORE THAN 140 YEARS, THIS INSTITUTION HAS WELCOMED THE AVANT-GARDE AND THE RADICAL, CULTIVATING DIVERSE AND UNIQUE A P P R O A C H E S T O A R T - M A K I N G . SFAI seeks students who actively engage with and question the world around them—who are receptive to new ideas and energized by creative dialogue. Though students here spend countless hours in the studio and conducting research, an education at SFAI is about much more than making or looking at objects. Art is embedded in culture in myriad ways, and students work closely with faculty and peers—in studio and liberal arts courses, and across disciplines—to strengthen modes of creative, visual, and analytical thinking that are essential for success in a rapidly changing world. A fair warning: The SFAI experience is rigorous and demands an intense commitment of thought and practice. Professors challenge artists toward new modes of creative production, and, in turn, student artists have the courage and grit to experiment—stumble and hit roadblocks— and keep striving. Through this shared endeavor, art becomes a life-long dedication to an imaginative and meaningful way of seeing, learning in, and contributing to the world. LET’S GET STARTED ►

SFAI has been a magnet and incubator for visionary artists for more than 140 years—and we’re just getting started. Our alumni and former faculty have spearheaded several of the most significant art movements of the last century, including the Beat movement, avant-garde filmmaking, Abstract Expressionism, Bay Area Figuration, Funk art, and Conceptualism. MARK ROTHKO ► RICHARD DIEBENKORN ► KEHINDE WILEY ► ANSEL ADAMS ► ANNIE LEIBOVITZ ► CATHERINE OPIE ► SHARON LOCKHART ► KATHRYN BIGELOW ► GEORGE KUCHAR ► BRUCE NAUMAN ► PAUL McCARTHY ► NAO BUSTAMANTE ► AZIZ + CUCHER ► BARRY McGEE ► STAN BRAKHAGE

ALUMNI ART SPACES Everywhere you look in the Bay Area, you’ll see how SFAI alumni have shaped the art community and the region. When you come to study at SFAI, you become a part of this community—it’s like walking into a vast professional network from the moment you step through the doors. Aggregate Space Artists’ Television Access City Limits Gallery Edicola (a COLPA Press Newsstand)

Eli Ridgway Gallery Ever Gold Gallery Gallery 16 OFF Space

(a nomadic exhibition platform)

Queen’s Nails Projects Romer Young Gallery Root Division Royal NoneSuch Gallery Savernack Street (an art gallery that can only be viewed through a peephole) 4

Kehinde Wiley (BFA Painting, 1999) Morthyn Brito IV, 2012 Oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches

Lily Van Ingen (BFA Photography, 2013) Bay Bridge, 2012 Digital photograph 17 x 22 inches

Jet Martinez (BFA, 2001) Amate Mission, 2011 Site-specific mural

MORE REASONS TO LOVE SAN FRANCISCO ► miles of coastline, hiking, and bike trails ► dozens of concert venues and outdoor music festivals ► movie nights in public parks ► taquerías and food trucks everywhere you turn ► local produce all year round

San Francisco is a thriving center of art, design, and technology that has attracted entrepreneurs, activists, and innovators for decades. Culturally and socially progressive and diverse, with a DIY ethos and a strong entrepreneurial bent, this is the perfect city in which to connect your individual creative practice to the world at large.

► more green space than any other city in the U.S. ► tattooed hipsters on every corner ► an escaped (now native) fleet of green parrots

circling Russian Hill

► foghorns in the Bay

The Bay Area is a paradoxical combination of world-class cultural center and accessible, grassroots art world. With an outstanding roster of alternative art spaces—in galleries, back rooms, basements, bathrooms, bookstores, parks, and more—this vibrant urban center is uncommonly receptive to emerging artists and scholars. The region is also host to major museums that draw thousands of visitors from around the globe daily—San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and the Asian Art Museum, to name a few.

DID YOU KNOW? The American Institute for Economic Research has ranked San Francisco as the best major metropolitan area in the U.S. to attend college. The rankings were based on criteria including number of cultural and entertainment venues, entrepreneurial activity, earning potential, and percentage of residents working in the arts, education, and knowledge industries.

SFAI’s historic 800 Chestnut Street campus in Russian Hill is the center of student life, home to a diverse yet close-knit artistic community. A striking combination of Mediterranean-style architecture and Corbusian concrete, with stunning, panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, the building is riddled with stories: Here is where DIEGO RIVERA SPENT A MONTH ON A SCAFFOLD painting a mural; where MARK ROTHKO AND CLAY SPOHN ORGANIZED A “COSTUME AFFAIR” called The Unknown; where NASCENT PUNK BANDS The Mutants, The Avengers, and Romeo Void PLAYED EARLY SHOWS.

THE STUDENT BODY 478 undergraduates 202 graduates including post-baccalaureate students 30+ countries 13% international 80% traditional college age (17–24) 43% male 57% female 93% full-time

Now, it’s where students install exhibitions, play live music, stage performances, attend film screenings and artist lectures, share food and ideas, and otherwise intertwine their school and social lives. SFAI HAS:

►► Spacious studios and classrooms, with individual studios for honors students

►► The student-run Diego Rivera Gallery, which provides opportunities to curate or exhibit work in a public setting that welcomes 15,000 visitors each year

►► The student-run Prentice and Paul Sack Still Lights Galleries for photo-based work

►► The acclaimed professional Walter and McBean Galleries, featuring work from national and international contemporary artists

►► The Anne Bremer Memorial Library, housing 32,500 books and exhibition catalogues, a collection of rare artists’ books, videos and DVDs, and subscriptions to more than 200 periodicals

►► State-of-the-art digital labs supporting sound, photography, film, video, design, 3D modeling and animation, web programming, and print work ►► A lecture hall and rooftop amphitheater ►► A courtyard café with seasonal, organic food prepared fresh daily


GET INVOLVED! SFAI’s clubs and organizations reflect the diverse interests of students, ranging from artistic and intellectual endeavors to recreational and social activities. Don’t find the club you’re looking for? It’s easy to start your own. ► Rock ’n Roll Art School: SFAI Student Band and Music Space ► Indigenous Arts Coalition ► Zeitgeist: Art Journal Critique ► The Tower 102.5 FM Radio Station ► The Consciousness of Death Lecture Series

Most incoming undergraduate students live in one of SFAI’s two residence halls, Abby Hall and Sutter Hall, in the Lower Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. All new undergraduates who are 19 years old or younger are required to live in campus housing during their first academic year. The residence halls are managed by professional staff as well as Resident Advisors who help to create a safe, secure, inclusive, and engaging environment. IN THE RESIDENCE HALLS STUDENTS ENJOY:

►► Boundless creative rewards of living in a community of artists ►► Special programs and events ►► Private tutoring sessions ►► Walk-in and group counseling sessions ►► An on-site kitchen ►► Easy access to public transportation ►► The comfort of security at the front desk


SARAH-DAWN ALBANI BA History and Theory of Contemporary Art, Minor in Sculpture

TRANSFER STUDENTS Thinking of making a move? Over 50% of SFAI’s incoming undergraduates are transfer students from community colleges or other four-year universities. SFAI values the varied backgrounds and experiences that transfer students bring to the school, and many transfers are active in student life and student leadership. Transfer students also have the option of living in the SFAI residence halls their first year at SFAI, making for an easy transition to San Francisco. For more information about transfer requirements, see page 22.

Students in SFAI's Zellerbach Quad Photographed by Anthony Molinar

SFAI Tower Photographed by Trevor Hacker

SFAI Residence Hall reception area Photographed by SFAI staff

“I think about art school as being this incredible moment where you’re in this space, and you have people focused on your work, and you have a community whose main goal and interest is the creation of an exciting and catalyzing community. And that’s not happening out in the world for most people. That’s something that I wish I could impart to people when they’re coming here—that they could really take advantage of every aspect of what it means to be in this particular space, and in this type of experience overall.”

SFAI embraces students as artists and scholars from the moment they step on campus. The Core Curriculum—encompassing studio courses, art history, and liberal arts—invites students into the creative and intellectual community of the school, and provides a strong foundation for a multifaceted creative practice based on rigorous and thoughtful experimentation across media. At SFAI, you don’t have to wait until you’ve fulfilled requirements to embark on an interdisciplinary path—SFAI’s curricular structure is INTERDISCIPLINARY FROM DAY ONE.

CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE Anchored by the course Contemporary Practice, SFAI’s First Year Program enhances incoming students’ skills in research, critical thinking, and written/visual expression. The program challenges students to move beyond assumptions about what art is and can be, with questions such as:

How do artists translate raw experience into expressive form? How does imagination connect with analysis to deepen meaning? What historical narratives support creative work? How can an artist engage with society beyond the boundaries of art’s conventional spaces of studio, gallery, and museum?

THE FIRST YEAR PROGRAM Fall Sample Schedule Global Art History (3 units) English Composition A: Investigation and Writing (3 units) Contemporary Practice (3 units) 100-level elective course (3 units) 100-level elective course (3 units)

What are the many ways to address audience and what does the audience bring to art? Recent First Year Program activities include meeting with curators at SFMOMA, a talent “gong” show, and a trip to the Headlands Center for the Arts.


Spring Sample Schedule Modernity and Modernism (3 units) English Composition B: Nonfiction Writing (3 units) 100-level elective course (3 units) 100-level elective course (3 units) 100-level elective course (3 units)

A student enjoying the sun on SFAI's historic rooftop Photographed by Yu Sheng



BFA students at SFAI take 72 units in studio courses over the course of their degree (120 units are required to graduate). Of these studio units, 36 are taken in studio electives across any of the major disciplines— DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY, FILM, NEW GENRES, PAINTING, PHOTOGRAPHY, PRINTMAKING, AND SCULPTURE—and the remaining 36 units are taken in the student’s major discipline. This structure provides nearly boundless opportunity for interdisciplinary experimentation across media, and equips student artists for the demands of art-making in the 21st century.

(3 units in each area of study) *Courses listed below are examples of past classes from 2012–2013

Turn to pages 10–16 for examples of the dynamic studio courses that make up the SFAI curriculum.



►► Antiquity to the Crusades: Violence and Eros from the Mediterranean to Baghdad

►► Ordering the Cosmos: Prophecy, Pilgrimage, and Sacred Landscapes

Art history is continually re-examined through new research, methodologies, and interpretations. SFAI’s required art history courses equip students to think rigorously and critically about cultural production across times, places, and societies:

ENGLISH COMPOSITION A: INVESTIGATION AND WRITING ENGLISH COMPOSITION B: NONFICTION WRITING ►► Food, Culture, and Society ►► Animal(s) and Human(s) ►► Pop Culture and American Identity Formation

►► Divine Madness: On the Ecstasies of the Good

SCIENCE ► ► Global Art History ►► Regenerative Design (prehistory to the Middle Ages) ►► City Creatures ► ► Modernity and Modernism ►► Meat: Predator Economies (the Renaissance to the mid-20th century)

► ► Contemporary Art Now MATHEMATICS (art in North America and Europe from 1950–present) ►► Numbers in Music

LIBERAL ARTS SFAI’s liberal arts courses offer students grounding in the humanities and the social/natural sciences, while exploring areas of intersection with the visual arts. With course topics ranging from the mathematics of interactive media to urban ecology to the politics of gender and sexuality, students arrive at a concept-driven engagement with literature, history, philosophy, theory, and criticism.

THE CRITIQUE The critique process is central to an SFAI education. In studio courses, each student will have the opportunity to present work for discussion. Though every critique session is different, most will include analysis of formal and conceptual qualities, artistic intention, the relationship of the work to art historical discourse and contemporary strategies, and connections between process, materials, and ideas. The give-and-take of critiques demands thoughtfulness and openness from each participant: THE GOAL IS TO MOVE BEYOND QUICK JUDGMENTS OF WORK INTO SUBSTANTIVE, IDEA-BASED DISCUSSIONS THAT PUSH EACH ARTIST TO NEW HEIGHTS.

►► Systems, Networks, and Strategies ►► Mathematics and Computer Practices SOCIAL SCIENCE ►► Mass Incarceration and Its Discontents ►► Introduction to Women’s Studies ►► Auditory Cultures: Music, Sound, and Space in Transnational Contexts STUDIES IN GLOBAL CULTURES This requirement may be fulfilled through a range of courses in studio fields, as well as art history, the social sciences, and humanities. CRITICAL THEORY A CRITICAL THEORY B ►► Radical and Revolutionary Theory ►► Trauma, Resilience, and Creative Practice ►► “Real Live Girl”: Theory and Politics of Gender and Sexuality

DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY Design and Technology (D + T) views technology as a tool for activating ideas and focuses on its potential to communicate meaning in innovative ways. By exploring how our designed and connected world reflects larger social transformations, students in D + T address vital questions such as:

What might the future look like, and how might we interface with the objects and people around us? How can artist/designers use technology for creative and critical interventions? Design and Technology is a fine arts program that challenges traditional interpretations and categories of design. Students pursue an interdisciplinary, conceptually driven art/design/media practice that unites two concepts: the ideas we live by and the things we live with. Design and Technology students move beyond the screen into expansive realms of installation, interactive sculpture, sound, electronics, mixed media, and social media. Critique, liberal arts study, and the many resources of the Bay Area further position student artists/designers to produce solutions at the nexus of creativity, economy, humanity, sustainability, and ethics. PAST COURSES

►► Structural Drawing/Design Visualization ►► Internet Tools and Concepts ►► Smarter Art Design for Smart Devices ►► Active Wearable Objects ►► Typography: Context and Practice ►► Sonic City Sound Lab: Sound, Bodies, and the City ►► Rethinking the “Artist”: The Case for Collaborative Practice


Jacqueline Buttice (MFA Design and Technology, 2014) What can I help you with today?, 2013 Interactive sculpture 6 x 11 inches

Errol Sabinano (BFA Film and Printmaking, 2012) Michael Wild (Film still), 2012 HD Panasonic AF 100/16mm Arri 16S 13 minutes

Kathryn Bigelow (BFA Painting, 1972) on the set of The Hurt Locker Courtesy of Summit Entertainment, LLC

A LEGACY IN FILM A pioneering presence in avant-garde cinema, SFAI has been home to: Sidney Peterson, Bruce Conner, Stan Brakhage, Laura Poitras, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and the infamous and beloved Kuchar Brothers, among many others.

FILM The Film program emphasizes the value of moving-image media in the practice of contemporary art, and students create projects ranging from abstract celluloid shorts to digital features. Through production and post-production courses, technical workshops, and advanced courses in topics like editing, cinematography, and 3D rendering, students position themselves within the existing film world. Filmmakers at SFAI push the boundaries of the medium by integrating new technologies, exploring alternative contexts of production and distribution, and rethinking relationships between film and installation, performance, text, and sound. The Bay Area has exceptional film resources, including the Pacific Film Archive, the San Francisco Cinematheque, Canyon Cinema, the San Francisco Film Society, Bay Area Video Coalition, Artists’ Television Access, Pixar Animation Studios, and dozens of film festivals. PAST COURSES

►► Cinematography and Narrative Light ►► Documentary Production ►► Expanded Cinemas and Optical Anomalies Explored ►► Techniques of the Observer ►► Radical Directing ►► Editing for Sound and Image

DID YOU KNOW? SFAI alumna and renowned filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow (BFA Painting, 1972) won an Academy Award for Best Director in 2009 for her film The Hurt Locker.


“I have a pact with my friends to make films for the rest of our lives. SFAI is a place to further my practice and reaffirm that commitment. I came here because I wanted to expand my creative consciousness, and meet new artists and work with creative people—it’s a great community. More than half of my tuition is covered by scholarships: I got some need-based, and some based on my portfolio and merit. It was really satisfying to know that the school saw potential in me, and earning these scholarships has made me want to work even harder—to take advantage of every opportunity. SFAI has definitely helped me become independent, resourceful, and driven.”

NEW GENRES New Genres at SFAI embodies a way of thinking and creating that makes the idea the material from which art is made. Students often work in video, performance, installation, and public intervention, but the practice of New Genres transcends specific media—for each project, the concept, intention, and meaning drive the form of expression. SFAI’s New Genres program has its roots in the major developments of the late 1960s and early 1970s movements of Fluxus and Conceptualism. The contemporary practice of New Genres is constantly evolving in response to sociopolitical, technological, and cultural changes—New Genres courses at SFAI become the laboratories that reflect these changes through cross-media experimentation and new forms of artistic production. PAST COURSES

►► Internet Killed the Video Star ►► Athletic Aesthetic ►► Photoworks: Conceptual Photography ►► Embodiment for Artists ►► We Want the Airwaves ►► Conceptual Drawing ►► The Temporary: Performance, Interventions, Installation ►► Advanced Video: The Moving Image ►► Issues in Contemporary Art: Conceptual Landscape

NOTABLE ALUMNI + FACULTY Jason Rhoades Karen Finley Paul McCarthy Howard Fried Paul Kos Tony Labat Bruce Nauman

FROM THE 1979 SFAI COURSE CATALOGUE Beginning Video/Performance with Howard Fried


class defies description ► teacher defies description ► teacher defies class description ► teacher defies convention ► students defy conventions ► students defy conventions teacher ► art defies authority ► revolution defies authority ► art defies revolutionary authority

Turn to page 21 to find out about the unrivaled SFAI fellowship that brings INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED PAINTERS into meaningful dialogue with students through colloquia and public lectures each year.

RECENT GUESTS Mickalene Thomas Chris Ofili Julie Mehretu Marilyn Minter Peter Saul Wangechi Mutu

SFAI has one of the most respected painting programs in the country, and its legacy demonstrates why: Diego Rivera’s Social Realism. Clyfford Still’s Abstract Expressionism. Richard Diebenkorn’s Figuration and Abstraction. The California Funk Movement. The graffiti-inspired Mission School. Contemporary painters Kehinde Wiley, Iona Rozeal Brown, and Toba Khedoori. Painting at SFAI is dynamically situated between this legacy and the wide range of conceptual and material possibilities available to contemporary painters. Guided by faculty working in diverse styles, students identify and articulate their formal, ideological, and conceptual concerns. Seminars and critiques foster direct interaction with accomplished artists and peers, and provide students with the historical and critical background to locate their work within the discourse of contemporary art. The program also supports painters working across disciplines such as installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking, or design, combining their diverse interests into one cohesive practice. PAST COURSES

►► Painting I + II / Painting II + III ►► Night Painting ►► Eye of the Beholder ►► Better Painting through Chemistry ►► Visual Culture in Contemporary Painting ►► Painting between Action and Idea ►► Knowing the Subject: Beyond Replication

NOTABLE ALUMNI + FACULTY Joan Brown Richard Diebenkorn Rex Ray Leslie Shows Rigo 23 Peter Saul Enrique Chagoya Carlos Villa

Emily Gorman (BFA New Genres, 2012) Untitled, 2012 Four-channel video 1:07 minutes

Tim Sullivan's New Genres class performing on SFAI's historic rooftop

Jessica Mei Flemming (BFA Printmaking, 2012) The Killing Fields, 2012 Gouache, ink, and colored pencil on paper 45 x 41 inches

Kehinde Wiley Mark Rothko Kim Anno Iona Rozeal Brown Alicia McCarthy Emily Carr Ruby Neri

NOTABLE ALUMNI PHOTOGRAPHY SFAI is home to the first-ever fine art photography program in the nation, and there is no other program so invested in the history, meaning, and making of photography in both traditional and contemporary terms. The artists involved in the creation of the SFAI Photography program—Ansel Adams, Minor White, Dorothea Lange—are among the most noted in photography’s history. SFAI’s program addresses photographs both as formal objects and as modes of communication, documentation, expression, and social critique. Students work in analog or digital formats and are encouraged to experiment with the potential of both traditional methods and emerging technologies. Questions of installation, scale, print media/ substrate, and audience interaction are incorporated as important parts of the contemporary dialogue influencing the medium.

Annie Leibovitz Aziz + Cucher Catherine Opie Jim Goldberg Larry Sultan

Lewis Baltz Pirkle Jones Ralph Gibson Ruth-Marion Baruch Sharon Lockhart

RECENT VISITING PHOTOGRAPHERS Richard Misrach Uta Barth Sage Sohier Dinh Q. Lê

Thomas Demand Annie Leibovitz Graciela Iturbide James Henkel

Along with guidance from SFAI’s distinguished faculty, students interact with current visionaries of photography through lectures presented by PhotoAlliance—an organizational affiliate of SFAI. PAST COURSES

►► Introduction to Photography and the Darkroom ►► Introduction to Photography as the Digital Medium ►► Documentary Photography: Art and Activism ►► Visual Translations ►► Conversations with Contemporary Photography ►► Sacred & Profane


►► Vernacular Landscape

ED DREW BFA Sculpture Candidate, Minor in Photography

►► Constructions of Space

California Air National Guard staff sergeant

►► Digital Printing for the Handmade Book

“SFAI has been a pivot-point in my life. How do you quantify something like that? Something that has changed your life? This school is not teaching a craft or a trade… SFAI IS TEACHING A WAY OF THINKING.” Drew’s provocative and moving series of tintype photographs of soldiers in Afghanistan—the first tintypes made in a combat zone since the Civil War—has earned international acclaim from The New Yorker, The Guardian, and CBS Evening News, among other outlets.


PRINTMAKING With resonance both in the art world and broader spheres such as music and social activism, printmaking integrates form and content in compelling ways. Printmaking at SFAI—the facilities of which are equipped for lithography, intaglio, screenprinting, letterpress, and relief, as well as digital printing and the making of artists’ books—challenges students to use processes creatively to translate ideas into print form. Artists may work with centuries-old techniques or new technologies, choosing between—or merging—the traditional and experimental applications of these media. From handmade books and fine art prints to street art, zines, and cross-disciplinary projects, printmaking offers a multitude of creative possibilities. PAST COURSES

►► Lithography I ►► Relief Printing I ►► Screenprinting I ►► The Painterly Print: Monotype and Monotype Printmaking Process ►► Art of the Street ►► Letterpress for Artists ►► Photo Intaglio Printmaking in the Digital Age ►► Conceptual Cartography in Print The Bay Area is home to exceptional printmaking resources, including renowned presses Crown Point Press and Magnolia Editions, the Kala Art Institute, and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Legion of Honor, which houses 80,000 prints from the 15th century to the present.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT BARRY McGEE BFA Printmaking “A really great artist and influential friend of mine, Ashley Boline, took my hand and walked me through the front doors of 800 Chestnut when I was a very young man. I think about all the weird kids and teachers, how we all came together in SF at 800 Chestnut. It’s one of the strongest art communities I have been involved with. SFAI is steeped in SF art history... the real deal. Its location and relaxed campus make it one of the last great art schools in America.”

Jason Sandoval (BFA Photography, 2014) Rec Room, 2008 Silver gelatin print

Ed Drew (BFA Sculpture, Minor in Photography, 2014) 1st Lieutenant/Co-Pilot, Afghanistan May 2013 Tintype, 4 x 5 inches Courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery

Barry McGee (BFA Printmaking, 1991) Untitled, 2012 Acrylic on panel 58.2 x 49.75 inches

Contemporary artists who use sculpture as their primary media work in a very different way than their art historical counterparts. While the functional value of ceramics and the tradition of creating a single sculptural object are still highly valued, other forms such as installation and performance have all significantly altered the discipline in a contemporary context. In SFAI’s Sculpture program, students have access to facilities for work in ceramics, wood, metal, plaster, fabric, electronics, found objects, and more. Sculpture at SFAI comprises three varied areas of emphasis, inviting individual or hybrid practice: 3D media/practice; kinetics; and systems and environments. Additionally, SFAI houses a vital ceramics program. Regardless of the material support, the curriculum fosters interdisciplinary experimentation, site-specific strategies, and environmentally and socially conscious investigations. PAST COURSES

►► Ceramics I: Fabrication ►► 3D Strategies I: Beginning Sculpture ►► Cross-Media Ceramics Projects ►► Electronics and Activating Objects ►► Nomadic Structures ►► Useful/Useless Objects ►► Active Wearable Objects ►► Kinetic Sculpture: Inflatable/Light Workshop ►► The Unexpected Site

NOTABLE ALUMNI Gutzon Borglum (creator of Mount Rushmore) Mark Pauline Sargent Claude Johnson Wally Hedrick Rachel Khedoori David Ireland Manuel Neri


Heather Engen (BFA Sculpture, 2009) Untitled, 2008 Site-specific installation Dimensions variable

Mark Rothko teaching at SFAI Photographed by Bill Heick, c. 1947

Studio of Joe Hengst (BFA Painting, 2013) Photographed by Joshua Band

Emphasizing research, critical thinking, and writing, the History and Theory of Contemporary Art (HTCA) program provides students with an in-depth understanding of the discourses surrounding global art and culture. With a strong focus on the contemporary moment, the curriculum investigates complex questions such as:

IN THE ARCHIVES As an epicenter for experiments in art-making and art education, SFAI has amassed an archive brimming with stories yet to be told. Alongside folders containing ANSEL ADAMS’ EARLY REQUESTS TO OPEN A DEPARTMENT of fine art photography and the notes leading up to the commission of DIEGO RIVERA’S 1931 MURAL, SFAI faculty and staff have helped students discover MARK ROTHKO’S OLD ROLL BOOKS, full of compelling doodles that look eerily similar to his important paintings; ephemera generated by on-campus parties and exhibitions connecting SFAI to the BEAT AND PUNK SCENES; artist books made by the likes of KATHY ACKER; artist talk recordings preserving the VOICES OF MARCEL DUCHAMP AND JOHN CAGE; and enigmatic scraps in unmarked envelopes (one containing a lock of hair and small gold ring).

What is the relationship between art and power? What is the role of the artist or art historian as interventionist or activist? How have new technologies and globalization changed art or its analysis? What connections can be made across times, places, and cultures? The program stresses primary research methods, requiring that students spend time in libraries and archives to unlock new perspectives on how the idea of art has changed over time, and to interview and engage with contemporary artists in their fields of interest. Students benefit from developing these theoretical and academic practices while being immersed in an environment of studio work, exhibitions, and visiting artists and scholars—living, documenting, and analyzing the work that will define the cultural landscape for years to come. PAST COURSES

►► Art Since 1945 ►► Dance History: 1960s to Present ►► Global Anxieties: Sculpture’s Disappearances, 1957–1980 ►► African Art, Myth, and Religion ►► Dialogues in Contemporary Art: Theory and Practice ►► Queer Visual Politics ►► Revolution in Our Lifetime: A Visual History of 1968 and Beyond ►► Shock Me (If You Can)

SFAI’s Urban Studies program addresses the contributions of art, artists, and researchers to the urban domain. The changing dynamics of cities—most notably the issue of rapid worldwide urbanization— have demanded new ways of thinking about geography, the built environment, citizenship, and community. The program proceeds from the conviction that artists impact how cities are made, experienced, and represented, and that, reciprocally, cities influence artists and artmaking in significant ways. Students in Urban Studies engage with social, political, civic, and environmental questions from a distinctly artistic point of view, in forms including public art, social activism, ethnography, and community-based workshops. Students chart an individual course of study, working with faculty who contribute expertise from the fields of visual studies, art history, anthropology, sociology, geography, philosophy, ethnic studies, and American studies. PAST COURSES

►► Media and Cultural Geography ►► City as Studio ►► Urbanism through the Local Lens: San Francisco and the Bay Area ►► Public Domain: Art of the City



“In going to college, I really wanted a self-driven, self-directed program, and in many ways that’s what I’ve found: THE FREEDOM TO ASK ANY QUESTION I WANTED. You should come here if you want to be challenged to make your own decisions and to think independently and critically, and also be concerned with your history and context and where you fit in. Art school can be scary, but I think that those places of fear are some of the most productive places as an artist. Those places of insecurity, and uncertainty, and ambiguity, and ambivalence—all those lead to original thought and ideas.”

All undergraduate students complete a six-unit off-campus study requirement as part of the BFA or BA degree. This requirement facilitates the pivotal link between the classroom, the studio, and the world at large in order to ensure that SFAI students gain important insight, experience, and skills necessary to succeed after graduation.

AICAD MOBILITY SFAI partners with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a consortium of 41 leading art schools in the US and Canada, to offer the opportunity to study for one semester at another participating AICAD school.



Study Abroad programs offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the world, gain new cultural and artistic perspectives, and meet artists from different countries while earning academic credit.

SFAI students are strongly encouraged to complete an internship to gain professional experience and build relationships with arts organizations in the Bay Area. SFAI students have recently interned at Crown Point Press, Bay Area Video Coalition, The Luggage Store Gallery, Intersection for the Arts, and Creativity Explored, among others.

SFAI HAS EXCHANGE PROGRAMS WITH THE FOLLOWING INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS: Academy of Fine Arts | Prague, Czech Republic Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design | Jerusalem, Israel Chelsea College of Arts | London, England École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts | Paris, France Glasgow School of Art | Glasgow, Scotland Gerrit Rietveld Academie | Amsterdam, The Netherlands Korea National University of Arts | Seoul, Korea Studio Art Centers International | Florence, Italy

FACULTY-LED PROGRAMS Want to attend PROSPECT NEW ORLEANS, the largest biennial of international contemporary art in the United States? Create art amid the rolling mountains, prehistoric burial mounds, and MEDIEVAL CASTLES OF IRELAND? Meet local artisans and CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS IN VIETNAM? Through a combination of travel and formal classes, Faculty-Led Programs—from 10 days to 3 weeks long—immerse students in the history and culture of a particular place, with the guidance of SFAI’s expert faculty.

Mural by students in the Contemporary Practice course SFAI's Zellerbach Quad Photographed by Bryan and Vita Hewitt

CITY AS STUDIO PRACTICUM SFAI’s award-winning City Studio program offers free arts education to underserved youth in their home neighborhoods. Through City as Studio Practicum, SFAI students collaborate with and educate youth ages 12–19, while learning about art education theory, teaching, and mentoring.

SFAI’s faculty members are central to the student experience, playing varied and integral roles—teacher, mentor, curator, colleague, collaborator—in each student’s artistic, personal, and professional development. SFAI has a student-to-faculty ratio of 9 to 1—a ratio that ensures that students have unparalleled access to accomplished creative practitioners. SFAI faculty have won MacArthur Genius Grants, Rome Prizes, Guggenheim Fellowships, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships; have been nominated for Academy Awards; have exhibited at Venice Biennales, Documentas, and in lauded museums around the world. They run nonprofits, cultural agencies, and design studios, curate major exhibitions, and launch publications, and have been awarded prizes for excellence in teaching. But for all their own pursuits and successes, SFAI’S FACULTY ARE HERE BECAUSE OF YOUR WORK. Meet the faculty:

The Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series (VAS) brings the international art community to SFAI’s doorstep. Through VAS, students engage with creative practitioners through public lectures and group discussions and discover innovative models for their own creative work.

RECENT GUESTS Allan Sekula Andrea Zittel Carolee Schneemann Lisa Yuskavage Lucy Orta Mierle Laderman Ukeles Nina Katchadourian Thomas Demand Shirin Neshat Isaac Julien Richard Misrach Annie Leibovitz


Trenton Doyle Hancock Takeshi Murata Anna Chave Johanna Drucker Paul Sietsema Carol Mavor Rashaad Newsome Kori Newkirk Jaimie Warren + Whoop Dee Doo Paul Laffoley Michelle Grabner

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT JD BELTRAN SFAI alumna and faculty member “I feel I’ve thrived as an artist, in large part, from what my mentors at SFAI gave me—the fundamental tools of thinking critically about my own work, how I want it to exist, what I want it to do. And now, as a teacher myself, I am delighted to pass on this legacy of rigor and process, and to continue the conversation with my own students. I consider it the best job in the world.” JD Beltran Evolution, 2012 Five-channel film in four movements screened with a live score in the SFAI Lecture Hall, 29:30 minutes Courtesy of JD Beltran, artist, and Marc Barrite (aka Dave Aju), composer

The Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation Distinguished Visiting Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Painting Practices offers students an unmatched level of engagement with internationally recognized painters. Each semester, three artists are invited to SFAI for a short-term residency, during which they present public lectures and meet with painting students in colloquia and critiques.


The Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship brings a distinguished artist to campus each fall to teach two courses, give a public lecture in the Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series (VAS), and to engage with the SFAI community through individual student critiques, academic programs, and extracurricular activities.

Mickalene Thomas Keltie Ferris Brad Kahlhamer

The fellowship is dedicated to the memory of distinguished painter and SFAI alumnus Richard Diebenkorn.


Liam Everett

Amy Sillman Chris Ofili Gottfried Helnwein Jim Isermann Julie Mehretu Kerry James Marshall Lisa Yuskavage Marilyn Minter Nalini Malani Nicole Eisenman Peter Saul R. H. Quaytman Wangechi Mutu Yun-Fei Ji


PAST FELLOWS Judie Bamber Taravat Talepasand Marlene McCarty Josephine Taylor Iona Rozeal Brown Shaun O’Dell Brett Cook Monica Majoli Brad Brown

The Distinguished Visiting Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Painting Practices is funded by the Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation. The Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship is supported by the generosity of the family of Richard Diebenkorn.

The admissions process at SFAI is highly personalized: Every applicant is assigned an Admissions Counselor who can offer guidance on portfolio preparation and answer any questions. SFAI accepts applications for both fall and spring entry. For complete application instructions, visit

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL APPLICANTS Completed and signed application for admission (access the online application at Non-refundable application fee of $75 Official sealed transcripts of all high school or other secondary school coursework, both completed and in-progress, or CHSPE Certificate of Proficiency, or GED certificate Official SAT or ACT examination results (optional but highly recommended) One letter of recommendation


For details on how to prepare your portfolio, visit SUPPLEMENT 2: ARTIST STATEMENT

Briefly explain the ideas and content of the work in your portfolio. What factors have influenced this body of work? What do you want to accomplish at SFAI in terms of your art-making? You may also include artists and outside sources that have influenced you.

TRANSFER APPLICANTS Transfer students are welcomed during both the fall and spring terms. SFAI encourages all transfer students to apply regardless of the amount of coursework completed at other institutions. Want to know how many of your college credits will transfer in? Call your Admissions Counselor and ask for an unofficial evaluation of your transcripts. Transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities may be accepted on a course-by-course basis for up to a maximum of 60 credits (a BFA or BA degree requires 120 credits). 24 credits may be transferable to meet SFAI liberal arts or elective requirements, and 36 credits may be transferable to meet SFAI studio course requirements. Transfer applicants must submit official transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities. For more information, visit

FINANCIAL AID An education at SFAI is a significant investment in your future. SFAI is committed to helping talented and motivated students finance their education by offering over $6 million in financial resources each year in the form of fellowships, scholarships, and grants. Partial-tuition meritbased scholarships may be awarded to applicants with exceptional application materials.


In order to be considered for any institutional aid, all domestic students must file their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA form can be filled out online at, and SFAI’s FAFSA code is 003948. A separate application is not required to be considered for applicable scholarships. California residents should complete their FAFSA and submit their GPA verification form by March 1 in order to be considered for the Cal Grant program.

For essay instructions and prompts, please visit

For more information, visit

BA APPLICANTS (History and Theory of Contemporary Art / Urban Studies)


INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS For additional requirements, please visit

SFAI is committed to providing transitional, academic, personal, and social support that helps students thrive at school and beyond: ACADEMIC RESOURCE CENTER (ARC) offers academic advising, tutoring, and student success workshops, ensuring the meaningful and timely completion of degree requirements. Not sure which course to take? Having trouble in a class? Want to declare a major or minor? ARC can help. THE CAREER RESOURCES CENTER supports the academic, artistic, and professional development of all SFAI students and alumni. At the Center, students can assess their skills, values, and interests; learn professional practices and industry standards; receive one-on-one career counseling; and make connections with professionals working in the field. THE ACCESIBILITY SERVICES OFFICE ensures that students with documented disabilities have equal opportunities and provides reasonable accommodations. SFAI recognizes disability and learning differences as important aspects of diversity, and has developed policies and procedures that facilitate self-awareness, self-determination, and self-advocacy. COUNSELING SERVICES provides personal, confidential counseling during the academic year for all registered students, free of charge.

SFAI DIVERSITY STATEMENT SFAI strongly believes that a rigorous artistic and intellectual community is enriched by diversity and inclusion. SFAI promotes artistic and intellectual freedom by fostering environments that value our diverse students, faculty, and staff, and provide all community members with a respectful and challenging space in which to address divergent opinions and ideas. Read the full statement at

A student at work in one of SFAI's painting studios Photographed by Yu Sheng

WE INVITE YOU TO DISCOVER SFAI IN PERSON—TAKE A TOUR AND MEET WITH ADMISSIONS COUNSELORS, FACULTY, AND STUDENTS To schedule a tour with an Admissions Counselor please call the Admissions Office at 800.345.SFAI / 415.749.4500 or email Students may also combine a campus tour with a portfolio review: an informal meeting with an Admissions Counselor to review your artwork, and receive feedback and guidance on how best to build and prepare your portfolio for acceptance.


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COVER Aliya Wachsstock (BFA Photography, 2015) Leichen, 2011 Photograph 13 x 19 inches

Matt Schoonmaker (BFA Photography, 2013) Framing Windows, 2011 Photographed by John Roloff in his Art Like Architecture class

SFAI’s summer PreCollege program for students ages 16–18 is a five-week, six-college-credit course of study that immerses participants in a world of making art. Learn more at

SFAI, a nonprofit institution, is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). SFAI is also a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

800 Chestnut Street San Francisco, CA 94133

San Francisco Art Institute @SFAIevents, #SFAI

SFAI Undergraduate Admission Viewbook  
SFAI Undergraduate Admission Viewbook  

Welcome to the San Francisco Art Institute - an educational experience for motivated thinkers and makers. For more than 140 years, this inst...