City Studio

Youth. Art. Activate.

SFAI’s award-winning City Studio program offers underserved youth a high-quality arts education in their own neighborhood, enlists youth in a long-term program to gain passion for and skills in the fine arts, and assists them in developing a portfolio for a professional career in the arts and/or to apply for higher education.

Classes, taught by SFAI alumni, are located at community centers and schools year-round. Current SFAI students serve as TAs (and lead instructors) for many of the classes. 

Current community partners include SOMArts, Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club, BGCSF Tenderloin Clubhouse, Mission Boys and Girls Club, Excelsior Boys and Girls Club, and Root Division. Other community partners include Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club at Hunters Point, African American Arts and Culture Center, Cleveland Elementary, and George Washington Carver Elementary School. City Studio is excited to be collaborating on innovative programming with Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and MindCatcher.

City Studio works closely with SFAI’s Young Artist Program and PreCollege program, offering scholarships to deserving City Studio students to these intensive and enriching environments.

City Studio is made possible in part by grants from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the Mary A. Crocker Trust and the Mental Insight Foundation. For more information, visit:


City Studio artists can waive the fee if appropriate. 

Contact City Studio Program Director Amy Berk at to discuss. 

Summer 2020 Classes

Two virtual classes will be offered instead of the in person PreCollege program in drawing and painting:

Expressive Figure Drawing (Non-Credit) 
Felicita Norris 
8 Sessions >> Monday + Wednesday, June 29- July 29
10:00am-1:00pm, Online, $385

No Prerequisite

Learn to tell stories, communicate visually, and imagine new worlds through large- and small-scale drawings working from models and beyond, using a range of 2D media including charcoal, ink, graphite, gouache, and collage. By paying close attention to composition, line, value, and scale as related to the figure you will enhance your technical abilities in drawing observationally. The second half of the class you will dive into completing a personal final project which may incorporate drawing from imagination, photographic references, collage, and more. Models in this class are nude.

Painting + Permutations (Non-credit)
Katie Curry
8 Sessions >> Tuesday + Thursday, June 30- July 30
10:00am-1:00pm, Online, $385

No Prerequisite

Emphasize originality and craftsmanship in your painting as you bring your ideas to light. Hands-on painting demonstrations focused on technique dovetail with critical discussions that cultivate a common art vocabulary. We will examine modern, postmodern, and contemporary art movements to contextualize studio work, pushing you to embrace experimentation and explore the conceptual possibilities of paint as you complete a series of personally driven paintings.

In addition, in July a virtual photography class is available:

Contemporary Photographic Practices (Non-credit)
8 Sessions >> Tuesday + Thursday, July 14- August 6
10:00am-1:00pm, Online, $385

No Prerequisite

Dive into the world of digital photography through hands-on practice in the digital lab, lighting studio, and in the field. Learn to compose images and produce digital prints while learning advanced Adobe Photoshop features like selections, layers, masks, and channels. Group discussions on contemporary photography offer insight—and room for debate—on photographers, their artistic practice, strategies, and concepts. By the end of the course, you will have produced a cohesive body of photographs and broadened your expertise in digital photography and printing.  

Requirements: Students must provide their own digital SLR camera with manual camera operations. Additional photography equipment is available on loan.

YAP is HAPPENING!   July 27- August 14, 2020

SFAI's Young Artist Program (YAP) is moving forward for this summer. We are working through logistics on exactly how the program will unfold, but are confident that some teaching will take place remotely, with the opportunity to meet on campus (to use studio spaces and meet with faculty), at a limited capacity, and with restrictions set in place (i.e. wearing gloves and face masks).


YAP courses run for the entire three-weeks. Students choose one morning and/or one afternoon course to take for the whole program.

Course Information Can be Found Here