Art, we are told again and again, is a business, but teaching art is also a business. For a growing number of artists, professional training is taking place at for-profit art schools, rather than at the traditional nonprofit college, and the number of these schools has been increasing to meet the very clear demand. Some of these degree-granting schools you may have heard of without knowing that they are “proprietary,” or for-profit, for instance, New York City’s School of Visual Arts, which has approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
There are some other, smaller ones around the country, such as Art Center Design College in Tucson, Arizona, Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut and the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver. However, the largest art school in the country, the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, is a for-profit with more than 17,000 students, far more than the largest nonprofit art college (Savannah College of Art and Design, around 8,200 total students) and dwarfing some of the most prestigious (Rhode Island School of Design, 2,400 students; CalArts, 1,460; School of the Art Institute of Chicago, around 3,100; Maryland Institute College of Art, around 1,930).
For prospective students (and, perhaps, their parents), the question may be, ‘Are the for-profits as good as the nonprofits in terms of what they offer and the quality of instruction?’ Continue reading