The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is a private, non-profit college of contemporary art with the main campus in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the oldest art schools in the United States and the oldest west of the Mississippi River. Additionally, the college operates two additional campuses, one in Fort Mason on San Francisco Bay and another in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.
SFAI’s undergraduate and graduate programs are primarily focused on the fine arts, offering BFA and MFA degrees in a variety of disciplines, including painting, sculpture, new media, photography, printmaking, and architecture. The college also offers an MA in art history, theory, and criticism and a number of certificate programs.
In addition to its educational programs, SFAI is also home to a number of galleries and art spaces, including the Walter and Elise Haas Gallery, which features rotating exhibitions of contemporary art; the Diego Rivera Gallery, which showcases the work of the Mexican muralist; and the Museum of Non-Visible Art, an experimental art space that is not bound by the traditional constraints of a physical gallery.
SFAI has a long history of producing influential artists and thinkers. Some of the school’s notable alumni include painter Diego Rivera, filmmaker George Lucas, and architect Frank Gehry.