The front entrance to SFAI's historic 800 Chestnut Street campus

about sfai

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.

Mission Statement

The San Francisco Art Institute is dedicated to the intrinsic value of art and its vital role in shaping and enriching society and the individual. As a diverse community of working artists and scholars, the Institute provides its students with a rigorous education in the fine arts and preparation for a life in the arts through an immersive studio environment, an integrated liberal arts curriculum, and critical engagement with the world.

Adopted by the San Francisco Art Institute Board of Trustees, March 2013.

Accreditation Information

SFAI is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

SFAI was first accredited on April 30, 1954. The first BFA degrees were awarded in 1955; the first MFA degrees were awarded in 1958.