School of Visual Arts
TypeProprietary art and design school
PresidentDavid Rhodes
Academic staff
Undergraduates3,871 (Fall 2019)[1]
Postgraduates690 (Fall 2019)[1]
The 209 East 23rd Street building
The 209 East 23rd Street building
Close-up of 209 East 23rd Street
Close-up of 209 East 23rd Street
The 214 East 21st Street building
The 214 East 21st Street building
West 21st Street buildings
West 21st Street buildings

The School of Visual Arts New York City (SVA NYC) is a for-profit art and design college in Manhattan, New York.[2] It was founded in 1947, and is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.[3]


This school was started by Silas H. Rhodes and Burne Hogarth in 1947 as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School;[4] it had three teachers and 35 students,[5] most of whom were World War II veterans who had a large part of their tuition underwritten by the U.S. government's G.I. Bill.[6] It was renamed the School of Visual Arts in 1956[4] and offered its first degrees in 1972.[7] In 1983, it introduced a Master of Fine Arts in painting, drawing and sculpture.[8]

The school has a faculty of more than 1,100[9] and a student body of over 3,000.[1][5] It offers 11 undergraduate and 22 graduate degree programs, and is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[5][10] and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.[11]

The interior design BFA is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation,[12] the art therapy MPS is approved by the American Art Therapy Association,[13] and the art education MA is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.[14]

The current school logo was created in 1997 by George Tscherny for its 50th anniversary,[15] and redesigned in 2013.[5]

In 2019 the school began the process of converting to nonprofit, with the SVA alumni organization (which is already an IRS tax-exempt entity) planning to purchase the school from its owners, who are retiring.[16]

Undergraduate departments

The school has three non-degree granting undergraduate departments: Art History, Honors Program and Humanities and Sciences.[17]

Graduate departments

The MFA Art Writing program (referred to as Art Criticism & Writing from 2006–2015) was discontinued in 2021.[19][20]

Continuing education

The continuing education division offers noncredit courses from most departments; ¿Hablas Diseño?, a selection of advertising, branding, cartooning, copywriting, illustration and marketing courses taught in Spanish; professional development and corporate training courses; and summer residency programs.[21]

The school offers short-term study abroad programs in various creative fields.[22]


PayScale included the college in its "Top 10 Art & Design Schools by Salary Potential" list for 2013–2014.[23] It is ranked the 18th among the art graduate schools in U.S. News & World Report,[24] with its MFA Photography, Video and Related Media program ranked the fifth best MFA photography program in the country.[25]

Location and campus

The school has several buildings in the Gramercy Park neighborhood, on Manhattan's east side, and in the Chelsea neighborhood, on the west side. There is a residence hall on Ludlow Street, in the Lower East Side.[26] From 1994 to 1997, it had a branch campus in Savannah, Georgia; this was closed following a lawsuit from the Savannah College of Art and Design.[27][28]


The library holds books, periodicals, audio recordings, films and other media;[29] the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, which comprises the collections of Chermayeff & Geismar, Seymour Chwast, Heinz Edelmann, Milton Glaser, Steven Heller, Ed McCabe, James McMullan, Tony Palladino, George Tscherny and Henry Wolf; and the SVA Archives, a repository for materials pertaining to the college's history.[30][31]

West 21st Street buildings

The building at 133 to 141 West 21st Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue in Chelsea,[32][33] has studios for drawing and painting classes.

The buildings at 132 and 136 West 21st Street have offices, classrooms and studios for art criticism, art education, art therapy, cartooning, computer art, design, illustration and writing. The building at 132 West 21st Street houses the Visible Futures Lab,[34] a workshop featuring traditional and emerging fabrication technology, which regularly hosts artists in residence.[35]


The Theatre is at 333 West 23rd Street, between Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue, in Chelsea. It was formerly the Clearview Chelsea West Cinema. It was purchased in 2008, renovated, and reopened in January 2009. Milton Glaser designed the theater's interior and exterior, including the sculpture situated atop its marquee. The 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) facility houses two separate auditoriums, one with 265 seats and one with 480, and hosts class meetings, lectures, screenings and other public events. It has also hosted the red-carpet New York première of Ethan Hawke's The Daybreakers and a diverse list of world premières, ranging from Lucy Liu's 2010 feature documentary Redlight, to the 2011 Fox animated comedy Allen Gregory; and the 2012 film The Hunger Games. Community partners that have used the theatre include the Tribeca and GenArt film festivals, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC environmental initiative, and the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting.[36] The theater is also home to the Dusty Film & Animation Festival, held annually since 1990, which showcases the work of emerging filmmakers and animators from the college's BFA Film and Video and BFA Animation programs.[37]

Residence halls

The Ludlow Residence
The Ludlow Residence

There are several residence halls available for students at SVA.

Former residence halls


Notable alumni and instructors

Main article: List of School of Visual Arts people


  1. ^ a b c "SVA Student Data" School of Visual Arts. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  2. ^ [1] About SVA
  3. ^ "About". Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Kennedy, Randy (June 30, 2007). "Silas H. Rhodes Dies at 91; Built School of Visual Arts". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c d "New Logo for SVA done In-house". Under Consideration. August 28, 2013.
  6. ^ Dalal, Alia (Spring 2010). "Military Maneuvers". Visual Arts Journal, Vol 18, No. 1. pp. 4–7.
  7. ^ Appel, Jacob M. (May 2003). "Presidents Series: President David Rhodes: School of Visual Arts". Education Update Online.
  8. ^ "About SVA: History". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved November 13, 2021
  9. ^ "SVA Faculty". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  10. ^ "Institution Directory". Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "School of Visual Arts". National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  12. ^ "Accredited Programs". Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  13. ^ "Art Therapy Educational Standards & American ArtTherapy Association Approved Art Therapy Master's Programs". American Art Therapy Association. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  14. ^ "About SVA: Accreditation". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  15. ^ “George Tscherny Collection: SVA Archives” School of Visual Arts. December 12, 2021.
  16. ^ Shireman, Robert (2019-10-03). "There's a Right Way to Convert to a Nonprofit. Ashford University Isn't Following It". The Century Foundation. Archived from the original on 2020-09-28. Retrieved 2020-12-22.
  17. ^ "Undergraduate". School of Visual Arts.
  18. ^ "Graduate". School of Visual Arts.
  19. ^ "A Tribute to SVA's Art Writing MFA". The Brooklyn Rail. 2021-09-01. Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  20. ^ Common Ground | A Tribute to SVA’s Art Writing MFA, retrieved 2021-11-16
  21. ^ "Continuing Education". School of Visual Arts.
  22. ^ "Destinations". School of Visual Arts.
  23. ^ "Best Art and Design Schools - 2013–2014 College Salary Report". PayScale.
  24. ^ "Best Fine Arts Programs - Top Fine Arts Schools - US News Best Graduate Schools". U.S. News & World Report.
  25. ^ "Best Photography Programs - Top Fine Arts Schools - US News Best Graduate Schools". U.S. News & World Report.
  26. ^ "School of Visual Arts - SVA - New York City".
  27. ^ "The SCAD vs. School of Visual Arts lawsuit".
  28. ^ [2] BEST ART COLLEGES Powered by Art College Admissions
  29. ^ "SVA Library". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved 2021-11-13.
  30. ^ "Milton Glaser Design Study Center And Archives".
  31. ^ "School of Visual Arts Archives".
  32. ^ "Working Space". School of Visual Arts. 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  33. ^ "SVA - 136 West 21st Street: 4th Floor". U.S. Green Building Council. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  34. ^ "Visible Futures Lab".
  35. ^ "Artist in Residence". Visible Futures Lab.
  36. ^ "A Conversation Piece". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  37. ^ "Dusty Film & Animation Festival". Retrieved September 13, 2013.
  38. ^ a b c Maurer, Mark (December 31, 2013). "Ben Shaoul developing School of Visual Arts dorm". The Real Deal.