BFA Fine Arts students working on ceramics studio, displaying sculpture artwork (metal facemask) and attending a school painting exhibition reception
We’re located in the heart of the art world—our students experience firsthand what it’s like to be a practicing artist.
Suzanne Anker
Chair

From live figure studies to cutting-edge con­ceptual approaches, as a Bachelor of Fine Arts student at SVA, you’ll gain the creative foundation and analytical skills you need to enter a myriad of professions and graduate programs. The BFA Fine Arts department focuses on nurturing contemporary artists who can apply their aesthetic, cultural and intellectual merits to their communities and the global world at large.   


You’ll have access to a diverse faculty of renowned and accomplished artists who will provide you with professional mentorship while fostering novel expression and independent thinking.


Most of your studio classes will be held at the BFA Fine Arts building on West 16th Street, which houses a plethora of resources from digital sculpture, wood and metal shops, to bio art, ceramics, as well as video, photo, sound and fibers facilities. Our extensive studio classes in painting, drawing, and anatomy take place at both of our West 16th Street and West 21st Street facilities. You will enjoy being able to make oversized artworks in our bright, large-scale workspaces, as well as exploring traditional and innovative printmaking processes at the Fine Arts Printmaking lab.


We invite you to get to know us better and learn how you can flourish as a fine artist at SVA. Ready to get started with your application? Complete our online application form and submit your portfolio today!

Student Work
A Day at SVA

The Fine Arts Experience at SVA

As a Fine Arts student at SVA you’ll get to choose an individualized course of study that will offer you a window into the international art world and a practical perspective on what it means to be an artist in the 21st century.

You’ll choose from concentrations in all art forms, from Painting and Drawing to Sculpture, Performance & Media Arts, Installation and Printmaking among others. You will have direct access to our state-of-the-art facilities including our cutting-edge Fine Arts Bio Art Lab, where students experiment with the tools and methods of science to make art. Our Woodshop, Metalshop, Plaster and Ceramics spaces are extended with our unique 3D Digital Sculpture program, which includes computer-driven cutting machines for fabricat­ing in various materials as well as 3D printers, scanners, and the latest dedicated software.


SVA Painting classes range from direct observation, photo-based imagery, as well as abstract, figurative, narrative and representational approaches. Our large drawing and painting studios are also equipped with projectors, props and skeletons. BFA Fine Arts’ highly specialized Printmaking facility is located in SVA’s West 21st Street building. Processes include etching, woodcut, lithography, relief printing, silkscreen and letterpress. 


You’ll learn and be mentored by faculty members that are a vital part of the New York creative scene, consisting of practicing artists, critics, and curators whose work has earned both national and international recognition. The volume and access to our instructors is unmatched, allowing you to directly connect with an art professional who inspires you and supports your creative efforts. These experts will lead you through an engaging, interactive educational experience that includes events and class visits to museums, galleries and artists’ studios, preparing you for professional-level experience in the fine arts. With Chelsea’s rich art scene of galleries and museums at our doorstep, it is an inspiring neighborhood for you to develop as a contemporary artist.

The Fine Arts Edge at SVA

We offer you opportunities to focus on all avenues of creative production, from hands-on fabrication and 3D digital design to video editing and illustration. By being immersed in a lively studio environment full of international and culturally diverse peers, you will be developing long lasting relationships in the Arts.


Visiting artists, curators, and critics are frequent senior studio visitors playing an integral part of our program. Twice a semester we hold open forums with invited special guests to talk about their experience as international artists, their role as curators, or the ways in which art criticism intersects with professional art practice. During your senior year, we invite dealers and curators to Open Studios, which showcase your artwork. It is a twice-yearly chance for you to make important networking connections. We also offer off-site workshops in metal casting, neon, glass-making, and large-scale ceramics. A variety of study abroad destinations and digital exchanges offer you an opportunity to explore new ideas, materials and creative processes in a global framework.


Professional opportunities inside and outside SVA will prepare you for job placements and career development. For example, you might land a studio job assisting an instructor or a visiting artist, which could open doors to a gallery, leading to your first show. Also departmental work study positions can help expand your everyday experiences at SVA, while developing additional practical and technical skills.


The distinctive vision of fine artists generates unique problem-solving solutions, highly appreciated in commercial and creative industries.


Our alumni have worked at major art museums, animation and film studios, educational venues, art therapy programs, public art commissions, advertising agencies, architectural offices, design companies, and illustration careers. Some of our alumni have started their own businesses in allied art professions–such as fabrication, art curating and dealing, fine arts services, photography and web development–using the foundation and expertise they learned in the SVA Fine Arts department. 


Our multidisciplinary Honors Program and a full array of humanities and science electives, form a dynamic database of images, ideas, and perspectives to be integrated into studio practices. Furthermore, our art history courses inform the Fine Art student with historical and contemporary visual examples of what artists were thinking about, the materials they were working with, and the philosophies of other times. In our changing-world, every generation reconfigures the present in terms of their own perception of the world, the advent of new technologies, and the yet-unknown innovative future.