Art Schools The Empire State has no shortage of fantastic art schools thanks to New York City. However, it doesn’t follow that students must remain in New York City to pursue a top-notch education. There are also some excellent art schools in the greater New York state.
Many of these colleges provide associate’s through doctoral-level art programs, and some even provide high school students the opportunity to study on campus and experience what it’s like to be an art student.
Interdisciplinary programs and opportunities to study abroad, spending a semester immersed in a culturally diverse foreign setting, are available to students at a select few universities.
Students who are interested in attending art school should consider whether they want to pursue a career as a working artist or designer rather than simply studying art, its history, and its place in society.
Since some colleges only offer particular programs, where people ultimately attend school may depend on their long-term professional objectives.
Students may also wish to think about the kind of environment they want to learn in. Students that attend schools in New York City, for instance, are situated near important museums and galleries that they can visit during free time or even while in class.
Best Art Schools in New York
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School of Visual Arts (New York, NY)
Every type of student can find a fit at the School of Visual Arts, which is situated in the center of New York City. High school students can hone their artistic abilities and work toward compiling a portfolio in the Pre-College program.
This can help them become ready to enroll in the university’s undergraduate program, where they can receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in one of 11 specializations, ranging from advertising and interior design to animation and film.
The university also provides non-major undergraduate programs.
The alternatives are considerably more varied for graduate students. Either curatorial practice or design research, writing, and criticism are available as master’s degree options for students. Or students can decide to pursue a Master of Fine Arts, which can be obtained in a dozen different fields.
Students who desire to use art in a different way can pursue a Master of Professional Studies in fields like fashion photography, directing, and art therapy.
New York Academy of Art (New York, NY)
The Master of Fine Arts program is the flagship offering of the New York Academy of Art. There are 60 credits in the two-year curriculum, the majority of which are earned through studio art.
Students can concentrate on sculpting, painting, or drawing, and they can also choose to take courses in printmaking or anatomy. They get knowledge of both classic and modern art through courses.
The Summer Undergraduate Residency Program at NYAA is open to undergraduates interested in studying there. They gain further studio experience during this one-month residential program, where they can hone their technical abilities in order to eventually enroll in an MFA program.
A rigorous program oriented for those interested in learning about drawing, painting, or sculpture in a studio setting is also available via NYAA as a Certificate of Fine Art. The 36-credit curriculum can be finished in one calendar year.
The NYAA’s continuing education seminars are open to beginning artists who are interested in learning the fundamentals of various media. Faculty members have provided these programs live on Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic.
New York University (New York, NY)
Another New York Best Art School, the East Village of Manhattan is an artistically rich location where New York University (NYU) has its Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions. Here, students can earn both Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees through a combination of hands-on work and theoretical courses. Renowned artists, critics, and scholars also come to NYU to expand the students’ understanding of art and its place in the world. NYU also offers Master of Art degrees in subjects such as Visual Arts Administration and Costume Studies, as well as a doctorate in Art Therapy. Students can observe artists at work by visiting the numerous museums, theaters, and artistic spaces throughout New York City.
SUNY Purchase School of Art + Design (Purchase, NY)
SUNY Purchase School of Art + Design is located within an hour of New York City, giving students various opportunities to study. The Bachelor of Fine Arts program offers five majors, including Graphic Design, Sculpture, and Photography. Or, the interdisciplinary option, Visual Arts BFA, where students can study two visual arts mediums. Students interested in interdisciplinary studies can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Visual Arts, which involves studying one or more other subjects offered outside the School of Art + Design. Purchase also offers a Minor in Visual Arts for students majoring in other subjects. At the graduate level, students can earn an MFA in Visual Arts or a dual MFA in Visual Arts/MA in Art History, consisting of history through Purchase’s School of Humanities.
Syracuse University School of Art (Syracuse, NY)
Over the past 146 years, Syracuse University has graduated countless students from its School of Art. Here, students can choose from seven different undergraduate and graduate programs of study. Syracuse offers three Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Arts Education, Illustration, and Studio Arts, as well as one Bachelor of Science program in Studio Arts. For students majoring in other subjects but still interested in an arts education, they can opt to take either the Visual Culture minor or the Studio Arts minor, both featuring intensive subjects such as Ceramics, Jewelry and Metalsmithing, and Painting. Graduate students can earn a Master of Fine Arts in Illustration or Studio Arts, or a Master of Science in Arts Education. Syracuse’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series invites more than 30 guest artists throughout the year to further students’ learning from faculty members still exhibiting and working in their fields of practice.
Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (Ithaca, NY)
Cornell University’s undergraduate art program provides students with a comprehensive education in various artistic mediums. The Bachelor of Fine Arts program, updated in 2018, comprises two parts: an art section, including seminars and studio courses in areas such as photography and painting, followed by electives from across the university. Students have the opportunity to study for a semester in Cornell’s satellite campuses in New York City and Rome. Those seeking a Master of Fine Arts degree undergo two years of intensive study with guidance from distinguished artistic mentors alongside faculty members in Ithaca.
Pratt Institute School of Design (Brooklyn, NY)
The Pratt Institute School of Design in Brooklyn, NY, is renowned for its School of Art faculty, made up of world-class and award-winning professionals. The institute has two associate degree programs: the AOS program involves four semesters focused on Graphic Design, Illustration, or Game Design and Interactive Media, while the AAS degree offers students the chance to study Graphic Design/Illustration or Painting/Drawing, preparing them for transfer to Pratt’s BFA program. Students on the Bachelor’s degree program can choose from six departments covering traditional Fine Arts and modern mediums such as Game Arts. The Art and Design Education path readies students for teaching careers in schools or organizations like museums. Graduate students can pursue an array of courses similar to the undergraduate program, including Arts and Cultural Management and Creative Arts Therapy.
The New School Parsons School of Design (New York, NY)
At the New School Parsons School of Design in New York, NY, three degree levels are on offer. The Associate Degrees are geared towards mature students without a design background, offering the knowledge needed for a career in Communication Design, Interior Design, or Fashion. Parsons has twelve majors on its undergraduate program, with 11 resulting in a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Subjects range from traditional areas such as Fashion and Architecture to Photography and Illustration. Alternatively, students can undertake a Bachelor of Business Administration, focusing on Strategic Design & Management, available in both New York and Paris. The graduate program boasts 20 courses, including a Master of Architecture and a combined MArch/MFA specializing in Architecture and Lighting Design.