Photo: Jesse Morrow

Three reasons why San Francisco is the best city for art students

一道本不卡免费高清Ready to take your art school experience to the next level? Pay attention to location and look out for a dynamic arts scene.

一道本不卡免费高清When you choose an art school, you’re selecting more than just a school, you’re choosing an environment and an arts scene. To really take advantage of all the possible opportunities, you need to immerse yourself in art and surround yourself with other people making art both in school and throughout the broader community.

一道本不卡免费高清To do that, nothing beats exploring a big city, especially one as dynamic, diverse, and innovative as San Francisco.

San Francisco has been called, among other things, , one of the top cities for , and one of the . Now add this superlative to the list: America’s best city for art students.

Here are three reasons why.

Visual and Critical studies students on Marin headlands field trip

MFA in Visual and Critical Studies students on a trip to the Headlands Center for the Arts

1. Artists are everywhere

一道本不卡免费高清The region has as a national art capital. Artists young and old have flocked to San Francisco for decades to share their ideas and work with each other.

一道本不卡免费高清San Francisco comes in right after Los Angeles in this review of for its concentration of working artists. And San Francisco is named a vibrant in this SMU DataArts white paper.

Artists are spreading throughout the Bay Area, drawn in part by the availability of workspaces. Oakland gets a shout-out for its . Absolutely worth going to is Oakland’s free Friday night . And nearby are increasingly filled with art activity too. (It’s not just about the wineries there.) The makes for a great day trip to interact with contemporary art in a spectacular setting. Even closer by in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, is the , an interdisciplinary international arts center zeroed in on innovative artists, ideas, and artwork.

And to really see artists in the nitty gritty of their workspaces, check out , one of the largest open studios program in the U.S. Every year, on weekends from mid-October to mid-November, more than 800 emerging and established artists throughout the city fling open their doors to anyone who wants to come in to their workspaces. You’ll see all forms of art: painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, glasswork, sculpture, and more. And it’s all free, plus the artists usually have snacks and drinks.

“The air is crackling with opportunities”

— Frish Brandt, president of the Fraenkel Gallery

Exteriors of SFMOMA and YBCA

View of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

2. Art is everywhere

The San Francisco arts scene—always innovative and forward-thinking—has undergone a dynamic in recent years, spurred in part by the $305 million of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the arrival at the museum of the .

一道本不卡免费高清But SFMOMA is far from the only arts institution in town. Museums abound throughout the city for interests ranging from to to . And here’s a bonus for cash-strapped art students: Many of them offer and discounted admission. The De Young kicks up the energy after hours during the fall. Enjoy with free admission to the main level galleries along with music, specialty drinks, mocktails, activities, and more.

Minnesota Project at the MFA Studios in the DogPatch neighborhood

一道本不卡免费高清Minnesota Street Project

To see incredible photography for free, schedule a visit to on the . itself is fascinating.

一道本不卡免费高清If you want more galleries, head over to the DoReMi area—the Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, and Mission neighborhoods—to check out work from up-and-coming artists at the , , , CCA’s , and the . For a fun photo safari, consider strolling down the vertiginously .

'Kinship', installation view, Jessica Silverman Gallery

Kinship一道本不卡免费高清 (installation view), 2018; image courtesy Jessica Silverman Gallery

一道本不卡免费高清While you’re out and about, why not go visit the art spaces of CCA alums? Go see the , , , and From there, go check out this of hot galleries. Arts and commerce on Nob Hill have expanded south into the Tenderloin, where you’ll find galleries, bookstores, skate shops, and vintage stores.

Murals in San Francisco Mission neighborhood

一道本不卡免费高清To see art outside gallery walls, check out the and the vibrant . The ambitious and adventurous can also add to their bucket list. For art in green spaces, head to the (talk about ) to see the and while you’re in the northwest corner of the city, check out .

一道本不卡免费高清To see the works of leading contributors in the design and visual arts worlds, along with evidence of a healthy local arts economy, check out the in scenic . It draws dozens of international galleries and design dealers.

3. Creativity drives industry

San Francisco is known worldwide as a center for innovation in business, technology, and digital culture, and as a place where art intersects with all three. Companies like Pixar, Adobe, and Lucasfilm Animation are always on the lookout for creative talent to bring their visions to life.

For art students looking at their post-graduation career prospects, the Bay Area offers a wealth of opportunities for internships and networking. It’s also one of the .

一道本不卡免费高清Where might you find yourself interning in and around San Francisco? You’ve got options. Recent students have interned at leading tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Airbnb, Google, Intel, VISA, Disney/Pixar, Sony, and Levi Strauss & Co. There are lots of opportunities to work in partnership with industry players working on breakthrough projects.

For Saniya Yadav, an Interaction Design student who collaborated with VISA, the chance to stretch was a huge boon. “We get to work really closely with professionals and get really close mentorship wherein we’re continuously challenged to push ourselves in terms of our skills. That’s been a really great learning experience for us.”

一道本不卡免费高清These collaborations are mutually beneficial arrangements, the best kind. with Ford to envision the future of mobility in San Francisco. Here’s what Ford senior designer Anthony Prozzi had to say about the experience: “I believe for a designer to be successful, you have to be a sociologist, an anthropologist, a great artist, and a dreamer, someone that can visualize...the students of CCA have demonstrated that.” Now that’s a win-win.

一道本不卡免费高清CCA is also set right within the Design Center of San Francisco, home to a wide array of interior design agencies and boutiques, including the cutting-edge design firm and the tech powerhouse Adobe. You’re right in the middle of the action.

What makes the best city for art students?

We think San Francisco is the best city in the world for art students, but what do you think? What are you looking for in the city where you’ll attend art school? What cities would you recommend?

To help you narrow down your choices for art school, we’ve put together a helpful step-by-step guide. Get your free copy of 29 Tips for Choosing the Right Art School for Your Career.

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