November 9, 2020

Graduate applications open for fall 2021

San Francisco Art Institute

View of Alumni Rigo 23, Leonard Peltier—a Native American activist incarcerated since 1977—gazing across the Bay to Alcatraz, a pivotal place for the American Indian Movement, at San Francisco Art Institute, 2020. Photos: Alex Peterson. Gif: Christopher Paddock.

View of Rigo 23, The Leonard Peltier Statue at the San Francisco Art Institute, 2020. Photo: Alex Peterson.

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Info session: November 20, 3pm PST
Join our Zoom Informational Session to kick off your creative future at SFAI. Learn about the programs and meet the department Directors and Chairs. Register here.

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is pleased to announce the launch of a new Low-Residency MA beginning in summer 2021 and a new MFA Studio Art / MA Art, Place, and Public Studies Dual Degree, commencing in fall 2021.

For every crucial point in history, art has provided us with a record of the times, an essential expression which shed light on significant events. Live this extraordinary moment, and start a new beginning with us. SFAI’s graduate programs challenge convention, embrace risk, and push students to discover uncharted artistic and critical terrain. Our programs provide the tools you need: one-on-one mentorship, grounding in art history and community, critical and conceptual skills, and collaborative exhibition opportunities.

Graduate programs
MFA in Studio Art (optional emphasis in: Art & Technology, Film, New Genres, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture & Ceramics) / MA in Art, Place + Public Studies (new) / MA in Exhibition and Museum Studies / MA in History and Theory of Contemporary Art / Dual Degree MA/MFA in Art, Place + Public Studies (new) / Dual Degree MA/MFA in Exhibitions and Museum Studies/Studio Art / Dual Degree MA/MFA in History and Theory of Contemporary Art/Studio Art / Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art / Low-Residency MA in History and Theory of Contemporary Art (new) / Post-Baccalaureate PB

MFA program
SFAI’s two-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program provides a dynamic interdisciplinary context for students to advance their work, while being exposed to the current theoretical, and sociopolitical context for contemporary art. Concept is emphasized alongside technical proficiency and skill, and artists are encouraged to experiment widely across media. Students may choose an area of emphasis, or maintain breadth in their studies.

MA programs
Art, Place, and Public Studies (APPS): This program blends scholarship, activism, and art making in a hyper-relevant mix for our times. APPS takes a broad and inclusive approach to the arts that challenges the art historical canon, by addressing community and street art, urban art interventions, socially-engaged art, contested meanings of monuments , and forms of public performance and assembly. We aim for nothing less than to wrench back the term “creative” for meaningful artistic expression in the world.

Exhibition and Museum Studies (EMS): Exploring both established and experimental delivery systems and multiple sites for art experiences, students in the EMS Program investigate how socioeconomic, political and cultural contexts affect creative production and display. The program builds opportunities for students to develop practices in exhibition-making, publishing, and performance.

History and Theory of Contemporary Art (HTCA): Emphasizing rigorous critical and creative scholarship, the HTCA Program challenges and supports students to develop historically situated analyses of art and culture through the lens of shifting present. Students are supported in their engagement with a wide variety of research models and pressing topics while they, as writers, are ideally situated in the lively context of contemporary art production.

Dual degree programs
SFAI’s Dual Degree MFA/MA program is a three-year program designed for students whose practices cross the boundaries of artmaking and research to arrive at individual forms of creative and critical production. The Dual Degree combines an MFA in Studio Art with one of three MA degrees: Arts, Place and Public Space (new); Exhibition and Museum Studies; or History and Theory of Contemporary Art. The program provides in-depth support for students with hybrid practices so that they are uniquely well-equipped to enter the contemporary art world.

Low-Residency programs
SFAI’s three-year Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts (LMFA) program is designed with dynamic interdisciplinary rigor in a concentrated and flexible format. It’s ideal for individuals who wish to advance their creative work while maintaining a professional career or other major commitment. The program focuses on developing personal vision, concepts and craft as a way of establishing a strong art-making practice within a diverse artistic community.

LMA (new): Like the LMFA program, the Low-Residency Master of Arts Program in History and Theory of Contemporary Art provides flexible access for students to pursue coursework and mentored research toward their degree. In combination with an academic-year Studio MFA, the LMA program also affords another option for students to pursue the Dual Degree.

Post-Baccalaureate program
The Post-Baccalaureate (PB) Certificate in Studio Art is a one-year, full-time course of study that offers an intensive studio and critique-driven environment for practicing artists preparing to apply for an MFA program or for mid-career professionals looking to sharpen their focus and expand their studio work. The program provides a rigorous yet supportive context that combines independent work, critique-driven classes, and technical study. Post-Baccalaureate students are part of the larger graduate community at SFAI.

Learn more about our graduate programs and apply here.

About San Francisco Art Institute
Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the country's oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in the practice and study of contemporary art. As a diverse community of working artists and scholars, SFAI provides students with a rigorous education in the arts and preparation for a life in the arts through an immersive studio environment, an integrated liberal arts and art history curriculum, and critical engagement with the world. Committed to educating artists who will shape the future of art, culture, and society, SFAI fosters creativity and original thinking in an open, experimental, and interdisciplinary context. SFAI is accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC) and the National Association of Art and Design (NASAD) and is a member of the Association of Independent Arts and Design Colleges (AICAD).

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