Founded in 1871, the San Francisco Art Institute is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art.
We boast an illustrious list of faculty and alumni in all areas of focus. Most importantly, we have consistently held fast to a core philosophy of fostering creativity and critical thinking in an open, experimental, and interdisciplinary environment. At SFAI, we educate artists who will become the creative leaders of their generation.
San Francisco Art Institute provides its students with a rigorous education in the fine arts and preparation for a life in the arts through an innovative, intensive studio environment; a vital liberal arts experience; and engagement with the world at large. SFAI also strives to be a leader in promoting awareness of the relevance of the arts in contemporary culture.
To fulfill this mission, SFAI:
- Encourages art making that reflects a broad spectrum of forms and philosophical and aesthetic approaches
- Fosters critical thinking and creative development through ongoing intensive critiques
- Promotes artistic and intellectual freedom, imagination, creativity, experimentation, and risk taking in a diverse and heterogeneous environment
- Engages a broad cross-section of local, national, and international artists, scholars, and communities in mutual exploration of art, and of the roles, responsibilities, and integrity of art and the artist in society
- Emphasizes a combination of creative individual expression and technical skills in its academic programs: the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees; the Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts degrees; and certificate and non-degree programs
- Encourages public understanding of an involvement in the practices and issues of contemporary art and generates public dialogue concerning these topics
Adopted by the San Francisco Art Institute Board of Trustees, December 1995.
SFAI was first accredited on April 30, 1954. The first BFA degrees were awarded in 1955; the first MFA degrees were awarded in 1958.