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Art Institute in San Francisco

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Image of SFAI - San Francisco Art Institute SFAI - San Francisco Art Institute:
Located on Russian Hill overlooking beautiful San Francisco Bay, the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is an accredited art school that offers a wide-range of Certificate, Diploma, and Degree programs in art & design fields that include Fine Arts, Photography, Animation, Art History, and more.

Founded in 1871, the San Francisco Art Institute is one of the U.S.’s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art. We boast an illustrious list of alumni in all of its areas of focus. But most important, we have consistently held fast to the core philosophy of creating programs where creativity and critical thinking are fostered in one of the most open, innovative, and interdisciplinary environments in higher education. At SFAI, we focus on educating artists who will become the creative leaders of their generation.

Location and Facilities:


Photo of Art Institute in San Francisco We appreciate that students need more than a quality education. They need support for their everyday lives and needs while they're enrolled at a college, as well as the equipment, facilities, housing, and opportunities for work/study that will make their college experience an integrated and successful one. San Francisco Art Institute ensures that students' experiences outside the studio and classroom complement, enrich, and extend their learning. To this end, we offer a wide range of resources--designed specifically for artists--to facilitate personal development, support your creative pracitices, and encourage you to get engaged with local and international art communities.


Offering students a quiet setting for research and study, the Anne Bremer Memorial Library is a unique and valuable resource for arts information. With collections that emphasize modern and contemporary art, art history, theory, and criticism, the general collection provides support material for curricula, recreational reading, and visual documentation unavailable elsewhere. Special collections include artists books, rare books and historic archives, subscriptions to over 200 periodicals, as well as collections of slides, audio and video tapes, and films. More

Diego Rivera Gallery
In 1931, banker and philanthropist William Gerstle invited noted Mexican muralist Diego Rivera to paint a large mural at the California School of Fine Arts, an earlier name for the San Francisco Art Institute. 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. More

Walter and McBean Galleries
Each year the Walter and McBean Galleries organize an active schedule of exhibitions and public programs which include: presenting and commissioning new experimental work through artists' projects and residencies; international visiting artists in residence who create new work, give lectures, and participate in critiques and workshops with students; and guest-curated group exhibitions often featuring a new premise by visiting international curators or other prominent local museum colleague.

With a panoramic view of San Francisco Bay, the Art Institute Café provides students with good food and a place to meet with fellow students and faculty. The menu is exceptional and features weekly specials and a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Visitors from surrounding neighborhoods and tourists are all welcome to come and sample the cuisine.

Digital Media
Instructional Resources and Media Services supports several interdisciplinary digital media facilities. The Digital Media Studio (DMS) is a Macintosh computer lab with 11 workstations, available to students and faculty for digital media projects. The Digital Imaging Studio (DIS) provides large-format archival inkjet printing services. Instructional Resources and Media Services also supports several Macintosh-based digital classrooms which are used for a wide variety of classes including Design+Technology, Photography, Filmmaking, and New Genres.

The Filmmaking Department is equipped to support students' work in 16mm and Super 8 filmmaking, including the on-site processing of film stock. Equipment includes Super 8mm and 16mm cameras, sound recording equipment, a multi-mix room, animation stands, optical printers, editing rooms, and flatbed editors.

New Genres
The New Genres Department supports two studio/classroom with Internet connection, video and slide projectors, and VHS, miniDV, ¾" U-matic video formats; four enclosed editing rooms; two AVID video editing stations, two dedicated Final Cut Pro stations, an audio editing room, and a dub room; as well as a computer lab with the latest digital technologies. DVD authoring is also available.

The Painting Department provides four large, sun-filled painting studios, two drawing studios, and a variety of storage options for artwork and a critique/slide viewing room. There are also 15 semi-private Senior Studios.

The Art Institute's Photo Lab provides temperature-controlled water and an electric film-drying cabinet for processing black and white and color film; private and group darkrooms with Saunders, Durst, and Omega enlargers; UV light exposure for alternative processes; mural printing; a fully equipped lighting studio; matte-cutting facilities; a copy work room; a digital darkroom; and exhibition space for the display of student work.

The Printmaking Department offers facilities for lithography, intaglio, monoprint, relief, book arts, and screenprinting. The Ascending Gallery features prints by undergraduate and graduate students in exhibitions.

The Sculpture Department includes complete wood and metal shops, a machine shop, spray booth, sand blaster, vac-u-form machine, and sewing machines; a tool room for hand tools for check-out; ceramic sculpture, plaster casting, and mold-making areas; and two spaces on campus for sculpture installation and critique.

School / Office Address: 800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco
Email: Contact Us


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