public education programs

Public Education programs of the San Francisco Art Institute provide unique opportunities for artists and creative individuals of all ages to engage in unparalleled programs that establish technical skill, introduce advanced concepts, and reveal the expansive horizons of contemporary art.

Combining 140 years of tradition in art education with 21st-century technology and theory, Public Education programs serve a broad range of ages, interests, and skill levels. Courses are taught by accomplished professional artists, and emphasize both hands-on making and critical thinking. Whether you want to grow a current artistic practice, learn a new discipline, prepare for college-level art studies, or simply have fun learning at a world-class art school, you can find educational, personal, and professional enrichment at SFAI.

Public Education offers non-credit evening and weekend classes ranging from skill-based courses to artist-driven experiences. Public Education invites artists of all skill levels to study with professional artists in the legendary studio environment of the San Francisco Art Institute. Areas of study span the breadth of contemporary art from traditional techniques in drawing, painting, photography, film, printmaking, and sculpture through adventurous pedagogical ideas — radical experiences, off-kilter journeys, collaborative public projects, and educational experiments that upend traditional relationships between teacher and student. Ages 17+.

The Young Artist Program offers a three-week immersive summer session filled with fun and experimental artistic explorations. Ages 13-15. Register beginning January 15, 2014.

The PreCollege Program is a five-week, six-college-credit course of study offered in the summer and designed for artists who have completed the tenth grade, but who have yet to begin college. The program uniquely prepares young artists who intend to pursue fine arts as a major. Apply beginning January 2, 2014.

The award-winning City Studio program offers free after-school courses at local community and arts centers throughout the Bay Area. City Studio directly supports underserved youth through a long-term, high-quality arts education program that cultivates passion for and skills in the fine arts. Taught by professional, practicing artists, the program leads to development of a portfolio for application to higher education or a professional career in the arts. City Studio is currently hosted at seven locations in San Francisco and Oakland. Apply at

Meet the Public Education Team

Barbara Garber
Director of Public Education

Barbara Garber joined SFAI in 2002, and oversees the PreCollege, Public Education, and Young Artist programs. She has worked in a leadership capacity with artists, designers, foundations, and non-profit organizations for the past 15 years. Barbara is a Doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at Mills College where her research focuses on democratizing art education through the Open Education and pedagogical aesthetics movements. She holds a BA in Studio Art and Women’s Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her sculptural installations have been exhibited throughout the Bay Area and internationally.


Emily Shallman
Public Education Coordinator

Emily Shallman has a BA in Elementary Art Education with a Washington State Teaching Certificate and Reading Endorsement from Western Washington University, and an MA in Urban Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute. Emily has experience as an Art Specialist, teaching visual art to grades K-5. Her MA thesis researched the history of arts education in public schools, and she is committed to providing quality arts education to youth and adults. Currently, she serves as a Board Fellow for the California Alliance for Arts Education. 


Phone: 415.749.4554
Fax: 415.351.3516
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 am–5 pm