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Art and design schools in the United States

In the U.S. Art and Design schools that offer BFA and/or MFA degrees break down into basic types with some overlap and variations. At the most fundamental is a small, private art or design school. Art Academy of Cincinnati, School of Advertising Art, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, O'More College of Design, Maine College of Art, Montserrat College of Art, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, etc. would all be representative of that model. Add to that the larger private art schools, like the Rhode Island School of Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, Art Center College of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Pratt Institute, New York Academy of Art, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, School Of the Art Insititute of Chicago, Otis College of Art and Design and The School of Visual Arts which is the largest private art school in the U.S. Some of these schools belong to a consortium called AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design). These schools differ from career schools in that they require a strong component of liberal arts courses in addition to art and design courses, providing a well-rounded college degree. Others belong to the ACCSCT, or the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology.







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Academy of Art University
79 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
ACICS Accredited - NASAD Accredited
415 274-2200  800 544-ARTS

Art Abloom
735 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, CA 415 256-1112

Arora Productions Studio
2096 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Fairfax, CA 415 453-6627

Art League-Northern California
500 Palm Dr, Novato, CA 415 506-0137

The Art Institutes  of California San Francisco - Art School Info  
Learn valuable culinary, art or design skills at The Art Institute nearest you. Review hands-on training options and request official school info.

Art Studio
609 Glenwood Ave, Mill Valley, CA 415 388-2845

Art Works Downtown 

1337 4th St, San Rafael, CA 415 451-8119

California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-2247
NASAD Accredited -  AICAD Member
415 703-9500   800 447-1ART

Messy Art Net
San Rafael, CA 415 460-9801

North Bay Artworks
7049 Redwood Blvd, Novato, CA 415 892-8188

Susan Sternau Studios
403 Napa St, Sausalito, CA 415 331-1668

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There are also partnerships between art schools and universities such as the The New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University, Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, the Rhode Island School of Design with Brown University, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in conjunction with Tufts University, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, or Herron School of Art at Indiana University. There is one state supported independent art school in the U.S., Massachusetts College of Art.

Cooper Union in New York City is the most prestigious of art schools, admitting 4%, with every student on full scholarship. In 2007 there were 1656 applicants, 65 of whom were accepted. The Yale School of Art at Yale University offers only graduate instruction in its two-year MFA programs. The Yale Daily News reported on Thursday, February 1, 2007 that the School had 1215 applications for its class of 2009, and would offer admission to fifty-five students.

Next up the scale in size would be a large art or design department, school, or college at a university. If it is a college, such as the College of Design[1] at Iowa State University, it would typically contain programs that teach studio art, graphic design, photography, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design or interior architecture, and art, design, and architectural history areas. Sometimes these are simply the schools of Art, Architecture, and Design like at the College of Fine & Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Yale School of Art. Some variations on that theme can be found. The essential element to know is that programs at universities tend to include more liberal arts courses and slightly less studio work compared to dedicated but independent schools of art.

The final and most common state supported or private program would be at a university or college. It is typically a BA program but might also be a BFA, MA, or MFA. These programs tend to emphasis a more general degree in art and do not require a major in a specific field but might offer concentrations. A concentration is not accepted by some accrediting or professional organizations as enough study in some fields for success as a professional. This is the case for graphic design, where typically the minimal degree is a BFA major in graphic design.

Many of the degree offering institutions do not offer intense training in classical realism and academic painting and drawing, although the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is considered a collegiate version of this educational model. This gap is filled by Atelier art schools (schools located inside an artist's studio) or in separate locations, such as the Art Students League of New York, established in 1875, and Mims Studios School of Fine Art, Studio Incamminati, and The New School of Classical Art.
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