Previously, the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) was ready to close shop. They were going to shut down all degree programs and lay off the staff due to being in financial distress. The school was going to stop the enrolment of new students after the present semester came to an end.

But in addition to the decision, the 149 years old school is now offering public education courses instead. The board of trustees agree to this addition only if it is done on a small capacity.

The public education courses are meant to reinvent the business model of the prestigious school. Apart from these courses, the institute will also offer on-site and online studio art classes, conservation projects and grant-funded exhibitions.

History of SFAI

The close to 150 years old school was built in 1871. It is the oldest institution of arts in the country of the United States. The school is well-known for producing prodigies as well as hosting talented artists.

Photo Courtesy: SFAI

Annie Leibovitz, Kathryn Bigelow, Kehinde Wiley, and Richard Diebenkorn are some of the well-known figures to have refined their skills at SFAI. Over the years, the institute has seen genius teachers such as Angela Davis, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Mark Rothko.

About the decision

Pam Rorke Levy, a board chair speaks on their goal to find financial footing in the year ahead. They aim to work on strategic partnerships to raise funds to keep the historic institute running.

On 23 March the authorities of SFAI issued a school-wide letter. Among other things, the letter urged students to move to other institutions.

The school saw a roar of protest from students, alumni and faculty. On 2 April, there was the circulation of a statement with signatures from almost sixty scholars, curators, and museum trustees.


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