My two daughters and I spent five days in New York City over February break to visit art schools for my oldest.
Jenny Brown. Homesickness 2. Pen & collage on antique photo. 2016
We brought our friend along, the artist Jenny Brown, who attended School of Visual Arts for her M.F.A. for help navigating the streets of NYC. Our trip was jam packed and included 4 art museums, 1 art gallery, two art schools, two colleges, and a lot of foodie stops.
Here’s a video of our Monday when we visited School of Visual Arts, Museum of Modern Art, Neue Gallery, Columbia University, and ABC Carpet and Home. Foodie stops included a bagel-off between Pick-A-Bagel vs. Absolute Bagel. Absolute Bagel won.
Our first art school visit was to School of Visual Arts (SVA). My daughter, Grasshopper and Sensei, had spent last summer at Rhode Island School of Design Pre-College Program for six weeks. She also has taken a lot of classes at Mass College of Art, including two Xtreme Weeks, so this gave her some perspective to compare other art schools to.
Our first impression of SVA started off positively. It’s in a nice part of NYC. The school visit session was well attended. An admissions person talked to the group before we split up by major for a school tour by an SVA student.
I thought the SVA admissions person gave very good advice on how to apply to art schools and I am posting it below in four parts:
- General advice on apply to any art school including requirements and what they are looking.
- The art portfolio: how many pieces, what they are looking for, how to submit.
- Admissions for Fine Art (School of Visual Arts is particularly strong in Fine Art!).
- Admissions for Film. This is good general advice for anyone interested in applying to film school.
This first video contains advice for applying to any art school including the requirements. It also includes applying for photography (10-20 slides submitted via SlideRoom).
What should you include in your art portfolio and how many pieces should you include?
Applying for Fine Art? Here’s what to expect from the School of Visual Arts.
Applying to film school? What exactly is Admissions looking for? This is School of Visual Arts advice but it applies to any film portfolio.
After our tour of School of Visual Arts, it’s important to write down your impressions of the school. Some college counselors suggest keeping a small notebook just for college visits. PickyKidPix is only a freshman in high school but I wanted her to see Columbia. We did the briefest of visits but it was enough to form an impression.
A notebook will be helpful as the college/art school application process is a lengthy one. Looking back on first impressions can be helpful when admissions letters come in and you have to decide which college/art school to accept or revisit.
This is our first impressions of School of Visual Art (SVA):
- It’s strong for Fine Art (if you want to be an artist hanging in a museum).
- It’s located walking distance from Chelsea which has over 900 art galleries. Visiting art shows is part of SVA curriculum and takes full advantage of this.
- SVA has over 800 faculty members who work full time in the creative arts and teach part time.
- SVA’s illustration exhibit during the tour was of faculty.
- The photography student work that we saw displayed was really unimpressive.
- Because the school is urban, the buildings are spread out over many streets. The school feels cramped for space.
- There were no student work displayed for Industrial Design which my daughter is interested in.
- After the tour, we all agreed that SVA was not a good fit for my daughter.
p.s. More about Art Colleges from our college tours:
Visiting School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
Visiting Emily Carr Art + Design University in Canada
Visiting California College of the Arts
Visiting California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts)
Visiting West Coast Art Schools & Foodie Stops Nearby
Applying to RISD: Advice from Antonio Peters in Admissions
Tips for National Portfolio Day
Xtreme Week at Mass College of Art
and some fun stuff …
If you are visiting New York City, here are our cheap foodie finds.
45 Art Gifts for Seriously Arty Kids (by my arty daughter)
Art Competitions for Kids and Teens
Our Art Gift Kits for Arty Kids
10 Inspirational Art Books for Arty Kids
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
10 thoughts on “Applying to Art School: Visiting School of Visual Arts”
It sounds like a worthwhile visit even though the school is not a good fit!
Yes, that was the best part of visiting schools; finding out the personality and then really appreciating the schools that fit. Like trying on wedding dresses! 🙂
What a fun bonding time with your daughter. It’s so good to check out all of the schools in person so she finds the school that meets her expectations and a school where she will feel comfortable.
We have a slew of other schools to visit. We might wait to do some after the admissions letters come back. I’m not sure how we can fit them all in.
It’s good you visited. You need the ‘click’ with the right school.
It’s amazing how fast you can tell if you like a school when you are actually there visiting. We have quite a few more schools to visit but I am hoping my daughter will attend the school she’s been doing her pre-college summer program at.
Thanks for sharing all of this info, Mia!!
I hope it helps other parents looking at art schools who can’t get to NYC. I’ll be posting on all our college visits. Pratt next. And this summer, Cal Arts Valencia, Emily Carr School of Art in Canada. And one in SF but I forget what it’s called.
Hello!! My daughter is a junior at HS in VA and we are planning to visit RISD in Feb.
Does you daughter went to RISD?
She did RISD precollege twice: https://www.pragmaticmom.com/2016/08/risd-precollege-program/
She will attend in two years. She is taking a gap year next year but was accepted to RISD.