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sophiab

CCA or SFAI?

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I thought I would start a separate topic for this since I saw other people were wondering about this too. It looks like I am choosing between CCA and SFAI. I got into CCA Interdisciplinary and SFAI Painting. My interest is in both painting and in writing computer code that generates dynamic paintings/installations.

I know that CCA ranks a lot higher on usnews overall (CCA is #11 and SFAI is #30) and also in most of the subareas, so I guess that means CCA generally has a better reputation? I don't know too many people who are personally familiar with the schools, and I could use more to go on. Does anyone have any input on choosing one school over the other?

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I thought I would start a separate topic for this since I saw other people were wondering about this too. It looks like I am choosing between CCA and SFAI. I got into CCA Interdisciplinary and SFAI Painting. My interest is in both painting and in writing computer code that generates dynamic paintings/installations.

I know that CCA ranks a lot higher on usnews overall (CCA is #11 and SFAI is #30) and also in most of the subareas, so I guess that means CCA generally has a better reputation? I don't know too many people who are personally familiar with the schools, and I could use more to go on. Does anyone have any input on choosing one school over the other?

I've wondered the same thing for a while too. About the ranking, I think CCA ranks higher in overall fine arts than SFAI because they have one of the best programs in fiber, glass, metal, ceramics, and design (SFAI ranks higher in photo). When I visited CCA, I saw they had a crazy archive of different kinds of materials. They have a small office/library where they keep their samples, and if something you want isn't there, they try to get it. But this strength does not necessarily translate in their painting department. If you look up the top 10 in painting, CCA is not there. I think for painting, I consider SFAI to be a better program because:

1. CCA has a much larger painting program consisted of around 50 painters (overall a hundred, including 1st & 2nd years). I view this as a negative because there are just so much people that you might lack the attention you want from the faculty. They have a nice building for their studios, but I noticed the studios are VERY tiny (I guess to accommodate the number of students they have). I was not impressed with their studio size, they're much smaller compared to SFAI's studios. I love CCA's facilities, but the location is in a bad area.

2. The work coming out from their MFA painting are not overwhelmingly impressive (based on their final MFA shows). On the other hand, SFAI's Vermissage (their MFA show at the end of the school year) shows much more impressive work.

3. Space to show your work: I was under the impression that there is only 1 gallery in CCA's grad campus where grad students can show their work. It was closed though when I visited. The student showing me around said it's not open all the time. So I don't know what to think of that. SFAI has 2 galleries where grad students can show their work. They have their own gallery in the grad building (I forget the name of it right now, I showed my work there in a group exhibition before with some of the grad students). They also show their work in the Diego Rivera gallery in the main campus, where there's also a historical Diego Rivera mural (I had work there at the BFA Spring Show last year). Among students, it's a pretty big deal if you have a show there.

4. SFAI has a smaller painting program. I think they have around 25 students per year (around 40-50 overall). Therefore, they get more attention with the faculty (can easily develop relationships with them) and one-one time with all the visiting artists at the school. They also have more opportunities to TA on their second year. Their studios are nice, even though it's located in a "weird" area, the industrial part of SF. It's easily accessed by the underground train though, but if you drive there's parking. And if you happen to TA your second year, the undergrad campus is really beautiful. The school even gets rented sometimes over the weekends for weddings, or to shoot ads for magazines.

5. Faculty: I looked up all of the grad painting faculty from CCA and from my opinion, I am more impressed by SFAI's faculty. In addition to art, SFAI has a strong academic background as well.

I hope this gave you some insight.

Edited by alizarin

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Yes, this is super helpful!

Apparently CCA and SFAI are tied for #14 in Painting/Drawing. I know these rankings don't mean much, but I guess it gives you a general sense of reputation. I don't know if CCA has quite that many students in painting. They told me they took 150 grad students in Fine Arts this year and 23% of Fine Arts is painting, which equals 34. But that is definitely still bigger than SFAI. I was debating whether it would be better for me to be in a bigger or smaller program. Smaller means more attention from faculty, but I also do not have an undergrad background in art. It might be better for me to be exposed to a larger number of artists during my MFA, since, so far in my life, I haven't been around many at all.

I am going to go visit both schools next week, which will definitely help me decide.

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there are not a 100 drawing and painting students in the MFA program at CCA. the average number for both the first and second year combine is a little over 100 for CCA's fine arts MFA. Even if they let in 150 people that doesn't mean that many will accept.

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Sophiab, would you take some pictures of CCA's studio spaces when you go to look around and share them with us. I have been trying to find good pictures of them online but haven't had to much luck.

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As a former MFA candidate in photo at SFAI (whose roommate was in the painting program) I have to warn you:

RUN FAR FAR FAR AWAY FROM SFAI.

Also, I HIGHLY recommend visiting both schools before making a decision. I can't speak to CCA's grad studios, but SFAI's grad studios are horrible: it's an old industrial building very far (45 min bus ride if you get the timing right, an hour+ during rush hour) no natural light, no heat (and it's freeeeeeeeezing inside), toilets that overflow all the time, and not a safe place to be late at night. As for the grad "gallery" at the grad building, if you consider an unmarked, windowless room with sloppily re-painted white walls in an unmarked industrial building in the industrial wasteland that is 3rd-St-San-Francisco a gallery, then you'll love it.

Sorry to be harsh, but I found SFAI to be a total scam. Also, when I attended I was no aware of the shady recent history of the school. The former president (about 7-10 years ago or so) had embezzled millions of dollars from the school, all of which was unrecoverable. When the school found out the president killed herself. By the time the administration realized they had been bleeding cash, it was way too late. They ended up selling the original grad studios (which used to reside down the street from the Chestnut undergrad campus, but is now owned by the Academy of Art), and stuck the grad students in the purgatory that is 3rd St. In addition to selling the grad studios to the (evil, parasite-like) Academy of Art, the school has just been cutting corners ever since. The faculty are disgruntled too, many of them weren't paid for last years Spring semester and several have been pink slipped.

I know times are tough, but SFAI started to fall apart well before the financial crisis. I would not consider it a safe bet at this point.

However I have heard rumors of a SFAI/CCA merger. So, who knows what kind of state CCA is in...

Just my $0.02.

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Sophiab, would you take some pictures of CCA's studio spaces when you go to look around and share them with us. I have been trying to find good pictures of them online but haven't had to much luck.

Sure!

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As a former MFA candidate in photo at SFAI (whose roommate was in the painting program) I have to warn you:

RUN FAR FAR FAR AWAY FROM SFAI.

Also, I HIGHLY recommend visiting both schools before making a decision. I can't speak to CCA's grad studios, but SFAI's grad studios are horrible: it's an old industrial building very far (45 min bus ride if you get the timing right, an hour+ during rush hour) no natural light, no heat (and it's freeeeeeeeezing inside), toilets that overflow all the time, and not a safe place to be late at night. As for the grad "gallery" at the grad building, if you consider an unmarked, windowless room with sloppily re-painted white walls in an unmarked industrial building in the industrial wasteland that is 3rd-St-San-Francisco a gallery, then you'll love it.

Sorry to be harsh, but I found SFAI to be a total scam. Also, when I attended I was no aware of the shady recent history of the school. The former president (about 7-10 years ago or so) had embezzled millions of dollars from the school, all of which was unrecoverable. When the school found out the president killed herself. By the time the administration realized they had been bleeding cash, it was way too late. They ended up selling the original grad studios (which used to reside down the street from the Chestnut undergrad campus, but is now owned by the Academy of Art), and stuck the grad students in the purgatory that is 3rd St. In addition to selling the grad studios to the (evil, parasite-like) Academy of Art, the school has just been cutting corners ever since. The faculty are disgruntled too, many of them weren't paid for last years Spring semester and several have been pink slipped.

I know times are tough, but SFAI started to fall apart well before the financial crisis. I would not consider it a safe bet at this point.

However I have heard rumors of a SFAI/CCA merger. So, who knows what kind of state CCA is in...

Just my $0.02.

Very interesting...I'll have to give this some thought. Thanks for the info!

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About the number of students for CCA, that was just an estimate that their grad coordinator told me. He said painting is their biggest department. That's why I said "around 50" per year. I did not say it was an accurate number.

@Sophia, I agree it's important to pick the place where you and your work fit. Hopefully when you visit these schools, you'll find out.

@Fauxtog, a professor told me that when SFAI sold the original grad studios, they didn't know the Academy of Art University was buying it. I don't know how it worked but the Academy of Art did something sneaky so SFAI didn't know.

Edited by alizarin

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Sophiab, would you take some pictures of CCA's studio spaces when you go to look around and share them with us. I have been trying to find good pictures of them online but haven't had to much luck.

I will be visiting the campus as well at the beginning of march and I would gladly take some photos of the studios and campus area.

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As a former MFA candidate in photo at SFAI (whose roommate was in the painting program) I have to warn you:

RUN FAR FAR FAR AWAY FROM SFAI.

Also, I HIGHLY recommend visiting both schools before making a decision. I can't speak to CCA's grad studios, but SFAI's grad studios are horrible: it's an old industrial building very far (45 min bus ride if you get the timing right, an hour+ during rush hour) no natural light, no heat (and it's freeeeeeeeezing inside), toilets that overflow all the time, and not a safe place to be late at night. As for the grad "gallery" at the grad building, if you consider an unmarked, windowless room with sloppily re-painted white walls in an unmarked industrial building in the industrial wasteland that is 3rd-St-San-Francisco a gallery, then you'll love it.

Sorry to be harsh, but I found SFAI to be a total scam. Also, when I attended I was no aware of the shady recent history of the school. The former president (about 7-10 years ago or so) had embezzled millions of dollars from the school, all of which was unrecoverable. When the school found out the president killed herself. By the time the administration realized they had been bleeding cash, it was way too late. They ended up selling the original grad studios (which used to reside down the street from the Chestnut undergrad campus, but is now owned by the Academy of Art), and stuck the grad students in the purgatory that is 3rd St. In addition to selling the grad studios to the (evil, parasite-like) Academy of Art, the school has just been cutting corners ever since. The faculty are disgruntled too, many of them weren't paid for last years Spring semester and several have been pink slipped.

I know times are tough, but SFAI started to fall apart well before the financial crisis. I would not consider it a safe bet at this point.

However I have heard rumors of a SFAI/CCA merger. So, who knows what kind of state CCA is in...

Just my $0.02.

Thanks for the insight. Can you suggest a good area to look for housing in SF?

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spaced out:

well, that all depends on a) how much you are prepared to spend and B) and how long you want to commute. SF is a very expensive town (i currently live there) and the housing market is just straight up bonkers.

unless you get an apartment within walking distance to SFAI, you will be commuting either by MUNI (public transit) or by bike (if you dare. ps. SFAI is in Russian hill. and when I say hill I mean it). a standard MUNI commute can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

just so you know, MUNI is in the slow and painful process of falling apart. services have been cut and fares have been hiked and now buses just don't seem to show up. i've been late for work more times than i can count because there are 40 and sometimes 60 minute gaps in service. and i'm lucky that i only have to take one bus to work! most people have to take two or three.

www.munidiaries.com

www.sfist.com

http://sf.streetsblog.org/

http://www.munimanners.com/

in short: MUNI is a bona fide freak show. John Waters, who is a resident of SF, enjoys riding MUNI for its entertainment value. that should give you a pretty good idea of what i mean by "freak show." now i'm not talking drag queens, i'm talking about foaming at the mouth junkies who smell like pee and whip their dick out in front of you, or crazy dudes who are off their meds and try to smash their head, or your head, or whoevers head is closest, through the nearest window.

moving on. if you want to live close to SFAI be prepared to shell out upwards of $2500 for a one bedroom in the surrounding neighborhoods. if you're like most normal folks, you can't afford that. in which case you'd want to find more reasonable housing in the following, neighborhoods:

tenderloin (look it up, it's only for the brave of heart)

SOMA (same as above)

lower nob hill (sometimes referred to as tender nob b/c it borders the loin, not a bad place, just gotta stay frosty)

mission (if you're a hipster)

lower haight (hipster, more reasonable rent than most places, but watch out for the projects and junkies)

if you're desperate for cheaper rent, you'll most likely be looking in the western addition (with many of it's micro neighborhoods, again, can be dicey due to not so pleasant race relations mostly having to due with the encroachment of young white kids on the neighborhoods directly abutting some of the SF's worst projects. often referred to as gentrification)

if you dont' mind a longer commute you can find much cheaper housing in the inner and outer richmond and/or sunset. but it's socially dead out there, foggy, and you'll be looking at an hour + commute to anywhere you'd want to be (school, hang out, etc)

if you're looking to share with roommates you can expect to pay anywhere from $700 (for a small divey room) to $1300 (yes, for a room in a shared apartment). of course, there are reasonably priced, safe and pleasant places to live, but it will take a while to find them and often times you need an insider to get you in (friend of a friend type thing). my suggestion is start your housing search early (like 2-3 months ahead) and don't panic and take the first thing that comes your way. trust me: moving in this city is a real drag, so hold out until you find something right. and by right i also mean the roommates.

what else. oh yeah, if you're going to CCA's campus in the city, potrero hill can have some great places, but it's also extremely pricey. if you know people in the area who will be renting it is possible to find a great place to live there. i currently live in potrero hill and i just adore it, but i got a hand me down apartment so i was very lucky on reasonable rent. dogpactch is on the other side of potrero hill (where the SFAI wasteland is) and you can find an odd mix of run down dives, reasonable cute victorians, and filthy stinking rich lofts, but very little ambiance. a great breakfast join (just for you! that's what it's clalled) a dive bar, a really bad BBQ place and that's about it. either way you can expect to pay about $900 to $1300+ for potrero/dogpatch.

hmmm, i hope this isn't overwhelming you. i highly recommend checking out sfist.com to get a sense of the daily happenings in this city. i love SF to pieces, but sometimes it's just too expensive to live! and then the junkies depress me. but on the whole, it's a wonderful and unique place. with the BEST street food! which reminds me: ALWAYS buy a tamale from the TAMALE LADY. she circulates several bars and her tamele's are THE BEST. she always goes to Zeitgeist, so you should too :)

good luck to all!

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spaced out:

well, that all depends on a) how much you are prepared to spend and B) and how long you want to commute. SF is a very expensive town (i currently live there) and the housing market is just straight up bonkers.

unless you get an apartment within walking distance to SFAI, you will be commuting either by MUNI (public transit) or by bike (if you dare. ps. SFAI is in Russian hill. and when I say hill I mean it). a standard MUNI commute can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

just so you know, MUNI is in the slow and painful process of falling apart. services have been cut and fares have been hiked and now buses just don't seem to show up. i've been late for work more times than i can count because there are 40 and sometimes 60 minute gaps in service. and i'm lucky that i only have to take one bus to work! most people have to take two or three.

www.munidiaries.com

www.sfist.com

http://sf.streetsblog.org/

http://www.munimanners.com/

in short: MUNI is a bona fide freak show. John Waters, who is a resident of SF, enjoys riding MUNI for its entertainment value. that should give you a pretty good idea of what i mean by "freak show." now i'm not talking drag queens, i'm talking about foaming at the mouth junkies who smell like pee and whip their dick out in front of you, or crazy dudes who are off their meds and try to smash their head, or your head, or whoevers head is closest, through the nearest window.

moving on. if you want to live close to SFAI be prepared to shell out upwards of $2500 for a one bedroom in the surrounding neighborhoods. if you're like most normal folks, you can't afford that. in which case you'd want to find more reasonable housing in the following, neighborhoods:

tenderloin (look it up, it's only for the brave of heart)

SOMA (same as above)

lower nob hill (sometimes referred to as tender nob b/c it borders the loin, not a bad place, just gotta stay frosty)

mission (if you're a hipster)

lower haight (hipster, more reasonable rent than most places, but watch out for the projects and junkies)

if you're desperate for cheaper rent, you'll most likely be looking in the western addition (with many of it's micro neighborhoods, again, can be dicey due to not so pleasant race relations mostly having to due with the encroachment of young white kids on the neighborhoods directly abutting some of the SF's worst projects. often referred to as gentrification)

if you dont' mind a longer commute you can find much cheaper housing in the inner and outer richmond and/or sunset. but it's socially dead out there, foggy, and you'll be looking at an hour + commute to anywhere you'd want to be (school, hang out, etc)

if you're looking to share with roommates you can expect to pay anywhere from $700 (for a small divey room) to $1300 (yes, for a room in a shared apartment). of course, there are reasonably priced, safe and pleasant places to live, but it will take a while to find them and often times you need an insider to get you in (friend of a friend type thing). my suggestion is start your housing search early (like 2-3 months ahead) and don't panic and take the first thing that comes your way. trust me: moving in this city is a real drag, so hold out until you find something right. and by right i also mean the roommates.

what else. oh yeah, if you're going to CCA's campus in the city, potrero hill can have some great places, but it's also extremely pricey. if you know people in the area who will be renting it is possible to find a great place to live there. i currently live in potrero hill and i just adore it, but i got a hand me down apartment so i was very lucky on reasonable rent. dogpactch is on the other side of potrero hill (where the SFAI wasteland is) and you can find an odd mix of run down dives, reasonable cute victorians, and filthy stinking rich lofts, but very little ambiance. a great breakfast join (just for you! that's what it's clalled) a dive bar, a really bad BBQ place and that's about it. either way you can expect to pay about $900 to $1300+ for potrero/dogpatch.

hmmm, i hope this isn't overwhelming you. i highly recommend checking out sfist.com to get a sense of the daily happenings in this city. i love SF to pieces, but sometimes it's just too expensive to live! and then the junkies depress me. but on the whole, it's a wonderful and unique place. with the BEST street food! which reminds me: ALWAYS buy a tamale from the TAMALE LADY. she circulates several bars and her tamele's are THE BEST. she always goes to Zeitgeist, so you should too :)

good luck to all!

Damn Thanks a lot! Yeah I have a few friends in the area, One friend suggested Petrero Hill as a good place to look. I got in at CCA some I would be looking for stuff reasonably close to there. Good to know about the BART, I didnt know it was slow and a freak show. I would be moving with my GF so prob not looking for roommates (ideally). I really want to move out there and the expense is the scariest part honestly. Thanks again, we are going to start looking for places online.

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Damn Thanks a lot! Yeah I have a few friends in the area, One friend suggested Petrero Hill as a good place to look. I got in at CCA some I would be looking for stuff reasonably close to there. Good to know about the BART, I didnt know it was slow and a freak show. I would be moving with my GF so prob not looking for roommates (ideally). I really want to move out there and the expense is the scariest part honestly. Thanks again, we are going to start looking for places online.

howdy

bart and muni are totally separate things. bart can be a freak show too, but not as much as muni.

potrero is nice and sunny, but is definitely pricier than the mission or lower haight. it's a relatively easy commute to cca from the mission or lower haight, and it's relatively flat so you can always bike it too.

also, here's a tip: when apartment hunting, be sure to check for signs of mold. SF is notorious for moldy apartments and it's no fun to find dark black mold growing on your walls or your stuff. potrero hill is fairly dry and sunny, but it does happen. it's more likely in the mission. basically, the farther west you are, the more likely you will be to have mold (north/west=fog, wind, damp, south/east=sun, sun, sun).

if you do end up in the mission/potrero area, here is my list of favorites

thee parkside. my local dive, beer garden, bike and dog friendly, super chill, punk shows, lots of cca students hang there.

chez maman. the most amazing burger of your life

farley's coffee. one size fits all.

just for you. mmmmm brunch.

universal cafe. mmmmmmmmm brunch.

st francis fountain or boogaloos. mmmmmmmmmmmm brunch.

coffee bar. it's where you go to get your telecommute on. delicious sandwiches and americanos.

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Those numbers up top are totally off. I am guessing someone made them up, since there are only around 100 grad students in ALL (painting, ceramics, new media, sculpture, textiles etc) departments at CCA.

Most of the SFAI faculty went to CCA after the financial collapse of the SFAI about five years ago. I believe it used to have stronger grad program-but CCA is well known to have a better grad program currently. I think the SFAI undergrad is slightly better than their grad-only from conversations I have had with former students.

CCA has a really strong grad program but San Francisco as a whole is not a great painting city, since it is not NY, London or Berlin and has very few galleries.

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C’mon guys – let’s try to be more balanced in our statements about SFAI and CCA.

SFAI did not experience a “financial collapse.” It is operating in the black. It awarded some $8.6 M in scholarships in 2008, according to its most recent IRS Form 990. SFAI owns publicly traded securities of nearly $10M. If SFAI had experienced a financial collapse five years ago it would not now be rated #7 for photo or #14 for painting, or even #30 overall. The difficulties caused by the financial meltdown in the Fall of 2008 affected most schools including for example, MICA, which at one point announced a freeze on salaries and RISD, which laid off staff. However, markets have recovered and schools are doing better now.

It is not the case that most or even many faculty ever transferred to CCA. There has always been some movement in both directions. However, adjunct faculty frequently teach at several schools. SFAI has fantastic, famous grad faculty including George Kuchar, the filmmaker, Renee Green, artist and author, Hou Hanru, who has curated many international biennials , and many others. SFAI would not he so highly rated if most faculty had left.

The SFAI graduate center is not all that distant from the undergraduate Chestnut St. campus. In addition to public transportation, it is about a 45 minute walk, or a very doable bike ride around the hills --- when you would need to go to Chestnut St. All the graduate tutorials and seminars are at the grad center. This criticism makes no sense as a comparison to CCA, if that was the point, since the CCA undergraduate campus is in Oakland. The Chestnut St. building is awesome with the rooftop café with an unbelievable view of SF Bay, among other features. The Russian Hill neighborhood is great, though most grads will be spending most of their time at the grad center.

The claim that the SFAI grad center is unsafe late at night, even if true, is not saying much. The grad center area is no more unsafe late at night than most areas of any major city. The grad building is relatively new, and the studios are fine. The neighborhood is clean. What struck me when I visited was only that there was an absence of street life and café’s etc. that you might find in other trendy parts of San Francisco.

SFAI is a leading art school, very highly rated among 220 schools. It has an impressive visiting artist program. CCA is also fine.

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C’mon guys – let’s try to be more balanced in our statements about SFAI and CCA.

SFAI did not experience a “financial collapse.” It is operating in the black. It awarded some $8.6 M in scholarships in 2008, according to its most recent IRS Form 990. SFAI owns publicly traded securities of nearly $10M. If SFAI had experienced a financial collapse five years ago it would not now be rated #7 for photo or #14 for painting, or even #30 overall. The difficulties caused by the financial meltdown in the Fall of 2008 affected most schools including for example, MICA, which at one point announced a freeze on salaries and RISD, which laid off staff. However, markets have recovered and schools are doing better now.

It is not the case that most or even many faculty ever transferred to CCA. There has always been some movement in both directions. However, adjunct faculty frequently teach at several schools. SFAI has fantastic, famous grad faculty including George Kuchar, the filmmaker, Renee Green, artist and author, Hou Hanru, who has curated many international biennials , and many others. SFAI would not he so highly rated if most faculty had left.

The SFAI graduate center is not all that distant from the undergraduate Chestnut St. campus. In addition to public transportation, it is about a 45 minute walk, or a very doable bike ride around the hills --- when you would need to go to Chestnut St. All the graduate tutorials and seminars are at the grad center. This criticism makes no sense as a comparison to CCA, if that was the point, since the CCA undergraduate campus is in Oakland. The Chestnut St. building is awesome with the rooftop café with an unbelievable view of SF Bay, among other features. The Russian Hill neighborhood is great, though most grads will be spending most of their time at the grad center.

The claim that the SFAI grad center is unsafe late at night, even if true, is not saying much. The grad center area is no more unsafe late at night than most areas of any major city. The grad building is relatively new, and the studios are fine. The neighborhood is clean. What struck me when I visited was only that there was an absence of street life and café’s etc. that you might find in other trendy parts of San Francisco.

SFAI is a leading art school, very highly rated among 220 schools. It has an impressive visiting artist program. CCA is also fine.

unless you're speed balling, walking from 3rd st to the main campus would NOT take 45 minutes. it would take at least twice that long. it's 4-5 solid miles from point a to point b.

also, i hate to break it to you but you're seriously wrong about the safety of the dogpatch neighborhood. there have been numerous shootings, knifings and muggings on and around 3rd street, including in potrero hill (where cca is). the point is that you really have to be aware of your surroundings. my old roommate was mugged at gunpoint in potrero hill and a second roommate was caught in the cross fire of a shooting when he was just out walking his dog one evening (this was where potrero hill and dogpatch meet).

i didn't comment on the caliber of the school (faculty, classes). but i i do have serious criticisms about the facilities and the administration. as for renee green, i'll just say she wasn't very popular while i was attending.

in my opinion SFAI is riding a wave of it's past glory days.

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AGAIN, about the numbers for CCA painters. I said "AROUND 50," it was an estimate the grad program coordinator (Noel Dahl) told me off the top of his head over the phone when I asked. It was an ESTIMATE. I NEVER CLAIMED IT WAS THE EXACT ACCURATE NUMBER. I multiplied it by 2 since there are first and second years and came up with the ESTIMATE of 100. By any means, I am not trying to "make anything up," nor do I see any point in doing so.

Also, SF has MANY art galleries, museums, and art organizations (both profit and non-profit). Therefore, SF is actually a pretty big art world (not as big as NY or London or Paris, considering SF is a small city). I've lived here for almost 10 years so I'm not just saying that.

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C’mon guys – let’s try to be more balanced in our statements about SFAI and CCA.

SFAI did not experience a “financial collapse.” It is operating in the black. It awarded some $8.6 M in scholarships in 2008, according to its most recent IRS Form 990. SFAI owns publicly traded securities of nearly $10M. If SFAI had experienced a financial collapse five years ago it would not now be rated #7 for photo or #14 for painting, or even #30 overall. The difficulties caused by the financial meltdown in the Fall of 2008 affected most schools including for example, MICA, which at one point announced a freeze on salaries and RISD, which laid off staff. However, markets have recovered and schools are doing better now.

It is not the case that most or even many faculty ever transferred to CCA. There has always been some movement in both directions. However, adjunct faculty frequently teach at several schools. SFAI has fantastic, famous grad faculty including George Kuchar, the filmmaker, Renee Green, artist and author, Hou Hanru, who has curated many international biennials , and many others. SFAI would not he so highly rated if most faculty had left.

The SFAI graduate center is not all that distant from the undergraduate Chestnut St. campus. In addition to public transportation, it is about a 45 minute walk, or a very doable bike ride around the hills --- when you would need to go to Chestnut St. All the graduate tutorials and seminars are at the grad center. This criticism makes no sense as a comparison to CCA, if that was the point, since the CCA undergraduate campus is in Oakland. The Chestnut St. building is awesome with the rooftop café with an unbelievable view of SF Bay, among other features. The Russian Hill neighborhood is great, though most grads will be spending most of their time at the grad center.

The claim that the SFAI grad center is unsafe late at night, even if true, is not saying much. The grad center area is no more unsafe late at night than most areas of any major city. The grad building is relatively new, and the studios are fine. The neighborhood is clean. What struck me when I visited was only that there was an absence of street life and café’s etc. that you might find in other trendy parts of San Francisco.

SFAI is a leading art school, very highly rated among 220 schools. It has an impressive visiting artist program. CCA is also fine.

Good point on the distance comparison. At least SFAI's undergrad and grad are in THE SAME CITY, whereas CCA's undergrad campus is in Oakland (a far more dangerous area with multiple shootings, robberies reported on the news every day). About safety, CCA's grad location is not in a safe area too, especially in the afternoons when the high school nearby lets out their students. There are plenty of thugs, fights, etc. I was scared waiting at the bus stop thinking I would get mugged at around 4pm. Usually, it shouldn't get scary until night time.

Though I felt like SFAI's grad center might not be safe as well when I went there at night (nothing happened to me). It just looks like it, dark, quiet, and scary. But I asked a lot of painting grad students what they thought about safety and all the ones I talked to said it was pretty safe. If you don't want to go out late at night, you can sleep in the studios (as many do). I don't know why they would have to lie to me about that so I believe them.

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howdy

bart and muni are totally separate things. bart can be a freak show too, but not as much as muni.

potrero is nice and sunny, but is definitely pricier than the mission or lower haight. it's a relatively easy commute to cca from the mission or lower haight, and it's relatively flat so you can always bike it too.

also, here's a tip: when apartment hunting, be sure to check for signs of mold. SF is notorious for moldy apartments and it's no fun to find dark black mold growing on your walls or your stuff. potrero hill is fairly dry and sunny, but it does happen. it's more likely in the mission. basically, the farther west you are, the more likely you will be to have mold (north/west=fog, wind, damp, south/east=sun, sun, sun).

if you do end up in the mission/potrero area, here is my list of favorites

thee parkside. my local dive, beer garden, bike and dog friendly, super chill, punk shows, lots of cca students hang there.

chez maman. the most amazing burger of your life

farley's coffee. one size fits all.

just for you. mmmmm brunch.

universal cafe. mmmmmmmmm brunch.

st francis fountain or boogaloos. mmmmmmmmmmmm brunch.

coffee bar. it's where you go to get your telecommute on. delicious sandwiches and americanos.

Once again thank you. Very helpful information. Right now I am deciding between CCA and UW Madison. I am really excited about the thought of moving to SF but it would be a big step in terms of distance and finances. All your info really does help to give me a bit clearer picture.

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wow, some vitriol about san francisco in this thread.

another opinion, from someone who's lived in SF for quite a while:

SFAI is on the easy side of russian hill, and nowhere near the top. it's less than 120 feet above sea level. not a big deal to bike or walk. the last half block is a little steep tho. also, what elevation it has means you get some nice views from campus.

Muni can be annoying, it's public transportation, but nextmuni.com makes it predictable and thus bearable.

you can find a decent one bedrooom/studio within 20 minutes of SFAI for a lot less than $2500. SF has rent control, and so you'll see vastly diverging rents in a neighborhood (or sometimes even in a building). you just need to do the legwork to find a decent place at an affordable rate. i pay a LOT less than $2500 for a nice studio on Cathedral Hill, up from Hayes Valley.

SOMA is far from sketchy (except for where the tenderloin spills into it at 6th street, but Tulan is worth it). SOMA is home to a huge portion of the hi tech in San Francisco during the day and has expensive condos galore.

also, there's a lot more to the mission than just hipsters, unless you never venture beyond valencia between 14th and 26th.

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The San Francisco Police Dept. has a cool site that lets you see all reported crimes within a specified radius of an address or intersection. In the last 90 days within a radius of ¼ mile of 3rd and 22d street (the SFAI grad center) there were a number of crimes against property – 7 thefts, 1 vehicle theft, and 4 acts of vandalism – but no assaults or robberies. Within ¼ mile of the fancy Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill, supposedly a better area, there were 7 assaults, 22 thefts, 7 vehicle thefts, and 10 acts of vandalism within the last 90 days. (Counting all the dots on the maps is not easy so these numbers may not be 100% accurate.) Perhaps this reflects more tourists in the hotel area, or that maybe the last 90 days is not representative. Everyone in a major city has experienced or has heard of crimes against those they know or know of, but I am not sure that the area around the SFAI grad center is unsafe or particularly or more unsafe than any other area of the city. I agree that you need to be careful, especially late at night, anywhere in any major city.

According to the Rand McNally driving distance calculator the distance between the SFAI grad center and the Chestnut street campus is 4 miles with 12 minutes driving time, but that is the long way around via the Embarcadero. I would imagine it would be something like 3-3.5 miles on a more direct route using Grant Ave., for example, which would also avoid the big hills. However, I will defer to others on how long this walk would take.

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has anyone received their CCA funding letter yet?

Just received my Funding package in the mail from CCA. They gave me 9K each year in scholarship. is that alot...considering these are expensive schools it seems like that is not very much. wasn't impressed. If they gave me more, I might give the SF schools a little more attention. any thoughts?

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