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School of Visual Arts

The School of Visual Arts (SVA), is an art school in Manhattan, New York City and is one of the nation's leading independent colleges of art and design. It was established in 1947 by co-founders Silas H. Rhodes and Burne Hogarth as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School and was renamed in 1956. SVA is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a consortium of 35 leading art schools in the United States.


SVA is a fully accredited college that requires the completion of a four-year, 120 credit course for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. This includes 72 accumulated credits' worth of studio classes (where the curriculum requires the creation of some type of art), 30 accumulated credits of Humanities and Sciences courses, 12 accumulated credits of art history courses, and six discretionary credits.

The Master of Fine Arts and Master of Professional Studies degrees require completion of 60 credits and a thesis project.

The MAT degree requires the completion of 36 credits and a thesis project.

As of 2006, the undergraduate degrees offered at SVA are Advertising, Animation, Cartooning, Computer art, Film & Video, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, and Visual & Critical Studies.

In 1983, the school introduced its first graduate offering, a Master of Fine Arts program in painting, drawing and sculpture. Since then, SVA has added nine more graduate programs: Art Education; Art Criticism & Writing; Art Therapy; Computer art; Design; Design Criticism, Digital Photography; Illustration as Visual Essay; and Photography, Social Documentary Film, Video and Related Media.

There are also non-degree departments offering courses in Art History and Humanities & Sciences, and a Continuing Education Division that offers non-credit courses from most SVA departments.

Location and campus

The school has two Manhattan locations: in the Gramercy Park neighborhood, on the East Side; and in the Chelsea neighborhood, on the West Side, with a number of buildings catering to classes in different departments.

Main Building
The Main Building is located at 209 East 23rd Street, between Second Avenue and Third Avenue, and features classrooms, administrative offices, a cafeteria and an amphitheater. The upper floors are mostly designated for film and video courses, and the building features an amphitheater. The building’s lobby and an adjoining room also serve as a museum space for exhibits and public events.

Second Avenue Building
The school does not own this entire building, which is located at 380 Second Avenue, but only three of its floors, including the second, where the school’s library and some classrooms are located, the fifth floor, where undergraduate animation studios and the graduate design department are located, and the eighth floor, where administrative offices, the school's computer store and classrooms designated for Humanities and Sciences classes are located.

Photography Building
Located at 214 East 21st Street, this building is where classrooms and studios used for undergraduate and graduate Photography classes are located, as well as the school’s radio station, WSVA, and some administrative offices.

West Side Building
This building, located from 133-141 West 21st Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue, contains most of the studios serving drawing and painting classes, particularly for freshmen. It also features classrooms for courses in interior design, printmaking, BFA & MFA computer art, and art history. The lower level also features an art gallery and a cafeteria.

SVA also owns the building across the street, at 132 West 21st Street, which has offices, classrooms and studios for undergraduate Cartooning & Illustration, and graduate Illustration as Visual Essay, Computer Art, Art Education, Art Therapy, Art criticism and Writing.

Sculpture Building
Located at 30 West 17th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, this building is used for sculpture classes on the ground floor and lower level

SVA has three gallery spaces: the Visual Arts Gallery, at 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor; the Westside Gallery, at 141 West 21st Street; and the SVA Gallery/Visual Arts Museum, at 209 East 23rd Street. The galleries show a mix of student and professional art.

Residence halls
There are several dorms for students at SVA. The George Washington Residence (formerly the George Washington Hotel), the New Residence and the Gramercy Women's Residence all offer housing near the college's East Side Manhattan campus. A new dorm opened in Fall 2007 at 10th Street and 3rd Avenue, and a residence hall on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan is scheduled to open in the 2008-09 academic year.

Notable instructors


Art history


Fine arts

Graphic design


  • Ray DiPalma: poet and visual artist.
  • James McMullan: illustrator and designer.
  • Robert Weaver: pioneering American illustrator from the '50s.
  • George Woodbridge: American illustrator known for his exhaustive research and historical accuracy, with exacting expertise in drawing military uniforms.



  • Roy Frumkes: screenwriter and independent filmmaker.
  • Chris Newman: sound engineer, three-time Academy Award winner and five-time nominee, sound mixer/director. Film credits include The Godfather, Amadeus, The Exorcist, The Silence of the Lambs, and The English Patient.
  • Amy Taubin: curator, film critic and filmmaker (Film Comment, Millennium Film Journal, Artforum, Premiere, L.A. Weekly, Sight and Sound, The Village Voice)

Notable alumni



Computer Art

Film and video

Fine arts

Graphic design

  • Deborah Adler, designer (notable designer of Target's ClearRx pill bottle)
  • Peter Buchanan-Smith, contemporary designer based in NYC.
  • Todd Radom, designer of logos for professional sports teams and leagues.
  • Cojo, Art Juggernaut fine artist, commercial artist, cartoonist.



  • Noah Kalina, 2003 Graduate - Art and Editorial Photographer. Internet Meme.
  • Sean Siegel, (1984-) 2006 Graduate - NYC based Editorial Celebrity/Fashion Photographer


External links

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