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Abstract painting.
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This program encourages young artists to make work that engages more than just the eye; to make work that engages us as thinkers.
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Tom Huhn

Visual & Critical Studies at SVA is an extraordinary opportunity to unite your interests in art and design with a cross-disciplinary, individualized and academic experience exploring critically important societal questions. Highly respected artists, designers and scholars from fields such as art, visual studies, film and philosophy serve as the teachers and mentors to students who choose to embark in this critical inquiry.

New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood is the ideal location from which you will access freelance artists, museums, nonprofit and corporate organizations. These vital connections will serve as the primary resources to support your exploration of the historical and contemporary societal and cultural perspectives that inform and motivate artists and designers to create.

The program places significant focus on helping you explore, deepen and enhance your making, application and methodological skills so you are able to both pursue your artistic and intellectual passions resulting in a portfolio of experiences and work that will allow you to succeed in a career or advanced degree.

Student Work
A Day at SVA

More About the Department


Tom Huhn


  • Chair’s Statement

As a student in the VCS program you’ll have the opportunity to . . .

  • gain an in-depth understanding of visual studies, including art and design theory, as well as historical and contemporary discussions about art and criticism
  • explore the intersection between an artist or designers vision and the resulting output, and the historical or contemporary interpretative constructs that informed the work and those who interact with it
  • express your ideas through your artistic practices as well as with high-impact writing and discussion

You’ll hone your making skills with studio courses while enhancing that development by taking courses from an internationally renowned group of artist-scholars in history, art history, literature, music and philosophy. You’ll get the chance to explore a diversity of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, animation, film, graphic design, digital arts and fibers, preparing you for future pursuits in the exciting and always evolving art and design industry. Apply today and begin your journey to becoming a practicing artist, designer, educator or leader.

Or learn more about this exciting program that will set you on the path to success in the art world.