School of Visual Arts
TypePrivate for-profit art school
PresidentDavid Rhodes
Academic staff
Undergraduates3,871 (fall 2019)[1]
Postgraduates690 (fall 2019)[1]

The School of Visual Arts New York City (SVA NYC) is a private for-profit art school in New York City.[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][5] it had three teachers and 35 students,[6] 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.[7] It was renamed the School of Visual Arts in 1956[5] and offered its first degrees in 1972.[8] In 1983, it introduced a Master of Fine Arts in painting, drawing and sculpture.[9]

The school has a faculty of more than 1,100[10] and a student body of over 3,000.[1][6] 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[6][11] and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.[12] Its second president, David Rhodes (appointed in 1978), is the son of founder Silas Rhodes.

The interior design BFA is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation,[13] the art therapy MPS is approved by the American Art Therapy Association,[14] and the art education MA is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.[15]

The current school logo was created in 1997 by George Tscherny for its 50th anniversary,[16] and redesigned in 2013.[6]

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.[17]

Commencement speakers have included Susan Sontag, Carrie Mae Weems, Gloria Steinem, Roxane Gay, and John Waters.[18][19][20][21][22][23]

In 2024, the school received an honorary “SVA Way” co-naming at the intersection of 23rd St. and 3rd Ave. in recognition of its institutional presence in the neighborhood since 1960.[24]

Continuing education

The continuing education division offers noncredit courses from most departments; a selection of advertising, branding, cartooning, copywriting, illustration and marketing courses taught in Spanish; professional development and corporate training courses; and summer residency programs.[25]

The school offers short-term study abroad programs in various creative fields.[26]

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.[27] There is a residence hall on Ludlow Street, in the Lower East Side.[28] 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.[29][30]


The library holds books, periodicals, audio recordings, films and other media;[31] 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.[32][33]

West 21st Street buildings

The 214 East 21st Street building
New York City street and building facade.
West 21st Street buildings

The building at 133 to 141 West 21st Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue in Chelsea,[34][35] has studios for drawing and painting classes, and a small library called Library West which houses books specifically on animation, comics, illustration and art therapy.

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,[36] a workshop featuring traditional and emerging fabrication technology, which regularly hosts artists in residence.[37]

Residence halls

The Ludlow Residence (2021)
New York City street and building facade.
The 209 East 23rd Street building
Close-up of 209 East 23rd Street

There are several residence halls available for students at SVA, including:

Former residence halls

SVA Galleries

SVA maintains three permanent gallery locations across its campus—SVA Gramercy Gallery, SVA Flatiron Gallery, and SVA Chelsea Gallery—which exhibit work from both students and established creative professionals. Every year, the SVA Chelsea Gallery stages an exhibition for its Masters Series recipient, who are honored with both an award and retrospective exhibition. The 2022 Masters Series Recipient was photographer, MacArthur Genius Grant-, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynsey Addario for her documentation of civilian life in conflict zones; the retrospective was covered by publications such as the New York Times, The Guardian, and Vanity Fair.[39][40][41][42][43][44]


SVA Theatre
The theater in 2022
Former names23rd Street Theatre
Address333 West 23rd Street
LocationNew York City, New York
Coordinates40°44′46″N 73°59′59″W / 40.7461922°N 73.9998454°W / 40.7461922; -73.9998454
OwnerSchool of Visual Arts
OpenedJanuary 2009 (2009-01)
ArchitectMilton Glaser

The Theatre, also known as the SVA Theatre, is at 333 West 23rd Street, between Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue, in Chelsea.

The site was formerly called the 23rd Street Theatre, and served as the home of the Roundabout Theatre Company, from 1972 until 1984; when their lease expired, the venue was converted into a movie theatre, the Clearview Chelsea West Cinema.[45][46]

It was purchased in 2008, renovated, and reopened in January 2009. Milton Glaser designed the theatre's renovated 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. In 2013, Beyoncé held a release party and screening for her record-setting, self-titled visual album at the theatre.[47] 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.[48] 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.[49]

Notable alumni and instructors

Main article: List of School of Visual Arts people

See also


  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. ^ Rothenberg, Randall (1988-10-24). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; School of Visual Arts' Chairman Is Honored". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  5. ^ a b Kennedy, Randy (June 30, 2007). "Silas H. Rhodes Dies at 91; Built School of Visual Arts". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b c d "New Logo for SVA done In-house". Under Consideration. August 28, 2013.
  7. ^ Dalal, Alia (Spring 2010). "Military Maneuvers". Visual Arts Journal, Vol 18, No. 1. pp. 4–7.
  8. ^ Appel, Jacob M. (May 2003). "Presidents Series: President David Rhodes: School of Visual Arts". Education Update Online.
  9. ^ "About SVA: History". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved November 13, 2021
  10. ^ "SVA Faculty". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  11. ^ "Institution Directory". Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  12. ^ "School of Visual Arts". National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  13. ^ "Accredited Programs". Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  14. ^ "Art Therapy Educational Standards & American ArtTherapy Association Approved Art Therapy Master's Programs". American Art Therapy Association. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  15. ^ "About SVA: Accreditation". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  16. ^ "George Tscherny Collection: SVA Archives" School of Visual Arts. December 12, 2021.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "COMMENCEMENTS; School of Visual Arts". The New York Times. 1990-06-02. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  19. ^ "Missing Graduation? Here Are 8 Inspiring Commencement Speeches From Carrie Mae Weems, Dana Schutz, and Artists Throughout History". Artnet News. 2020-05-18. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  20. ^ Fisher, Lauren Alexis (2017-05-10). "Gloria Steinem's Advice To Graduating Students: "Have Sex, Fun and Laughter"". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  21. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (2020-05-27). "John Waters Energizes School Of Visual Arts Grads With Virtual Commencement Speech For 'Coronavirus Class Of 2020'". Deadline. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  22. ^ Greenberg, Ilana (2022-03-20). "Roxane Gay Keynotes SVA Commencement". Graphic Design USA. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  23. ^ Gunts, Ed (2022-05-16). "Novelist John Waters greets Baltimore fans at signing for 'Liarmouth' book". Baltimore Fishbowl. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  24. ^ Pontone, Maya (2024-04-02). "NYC's School of Visual Arts Gets Its Very Own Street". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 2024-04-09.
  25. ^ "Continuing Education". School of Visual Arts.
  26. ^ "Destinations". School of Visual Arts.
  27. ^ Weiss, Lois (2018-05-23). "School of Visual Arts staying put in current location". New York Post. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  28. ^ "School of Visual Arts - SVA - New York City".
  29. ^ "The SCAD vs. School of Visual Arts lawsuit".
  30. ^ [2] BEST ART COLLEGES Powered by Art College Admissions
  31. ^ "SVA Library". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved 2021-11-13.
  32. ^ "Milton Glaser Design Study Center And Archives".
  33. ^ "School of Visual Arts Archives".
  34. ^ "Working Space". School of Visual Arts. 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  35. ^ "SVA - 136 West 21st Street: 4th Floor". U.S. Green Building Council. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  36. ^ "Visible Futures Lab". Visible Futures Lab.
  37. ^ "Artist in Residence". Visible Futures Lab.
  38. ^ a b c d Maurer, Mark (2013-12-31). "Ben Shaoul developing School of Visual Arts dorm". The Real Deal. Archived from the original on 2016-04-03.
  39. ^ Lubow, Arthur (2022-10-13). "Has War Changed, or Only War Photography?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  40. ^ ""Constantly in Motion": Photographer Lynsey Addario Reflects on Two Decades of Covering Wars and Global Crises". Vanity Fair. 2022-09-06. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  41. ^ Lang, Joel (2022-10-07). "New exhibit in NYC chronicles Westport photographer's life-risking career, from Libya to Ukraine". CT Insider. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  42. ^ Schofield, Daisy (2022-10-12). "On the frontlines of conflict and humanitarian crises with Lynsey Addario". Huck Magazine. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  43. ^ "School of Visual Arts to honour photojournalist Lynsey Addario with award and retrospective". The Art Newspaper - International art news and events. 2022-08-25. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  44. ^ Gilbert, Sarah (2022-08-12). "Photojournalist Lynsey Addario honoured for her work – in pictures". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2022-11-03.
  45. ^ 23rd Street Theater at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
  46. ^ Simonson, Robert (2014-03-19). "Gene Feist, Founder of Roundabout Theatre Company, Dies at 91". Playbill. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  47. ^ Feeney, Michael J. "Beyoncé reveals tricks for secret-keeping at music video showing in School of Visual Arts Theatre". Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  48. ^ "A Conversation Piece". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved September 6, 2009.
  49. ^ "Dusty Film & Animation Festival". Retrieved September 13, 2013.