Art Classes in Seattle, WA with School Options

The Seattle, WA, area has roughly 8 schools that offer art programs. Learn about degree programs and courses offered at 3 schools within 10 miles of downtown Seattle and get info on admission and program requirements to make an informed education decision.

Art Schools in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington and its surrounding areas have several public and private schools with art programs. This article discusses 3 of these schools, which are all less than 15 minutes from the downtown area. Use the table near the end of the article to compare valuable school information, such as school type, tuition rates and graduation rates. Also included is a short section highlighting 5 other viable school options.

  • The University of Washington (UW) - Seattle is located 5 miles from downtown Seattle and offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts, BA in Painting and Drawing, Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Painting and Drawing, BFA in Photomedia, BFA in 3-Dimensional Forum, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Painting and Drawing, MFA in Photomedia and an MFA in 3-Dimensional Forum.
  • Seattle University, which is 1 mile from downtown, offers a Minor in Studio Art, BA in Interdisciplinary Arts, BA in Visual Arts and a BFA in Photography.
  • Located 8 miles from downtown, North Seattle Community College (NSCC) gives students the chance to earn a certificate in art or jewelry design. The school also offers 2 associate degrees in art and continuing education art courses.

Comparison of Schools

The table below, which compares school specifics, can make it easier to choose the right school.

University of Washington - Seattle Seattle University North Seattle Community College
School Type Public, 4-year university Private, non-profit, 4-year university Public, 2-year community college
Total Enrollment (2014) 44,784* 7,273* 6,493*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Annual Tuition and Fees (2015-2016) Undergraduate:
$11,839 in-state,
$34,143 out-of-state;
$16,278 in-state,
$28,326 out-of-state*
Undergraduate: $39,690;
Graduate: $19,793*
$4,458 in-state,
$9,693 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Undergraduate Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2013-2014) 56%* 94%* 58%*
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2014) 55%* 73%* N/A - open admissions
Undergraduate Retention Rate (2013-2014) 94%* 87%* N/A*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate within 150% of Normal Completion Time (2014) 84%* 78%* 29% (27% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

University of Washington - Seattle

The UW has campuses in Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell and is divided into 16 colleges and schools, including the College of Arts and Sciences. Within this college is the School of Art, where students can study art, design and art history.

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts

Students in this 180-credit program can take art classes in 1 or more types of art media, such as painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture. They can also take classes in related disciplines like architecture or computer science. During the course of the program, students can expect to participate in group and individual exhibitions, including a senior exhibition.

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing

Both of these programs lay a foundation in drawing so students can progress to more advanced drawing and painting techniques. Admission to the BFA major requires a 3.0 GPA; students need a 2.5 GPA for the BA major. In both programs, students learn proportion, composition, oil painting, figure modeling and motion drawing, but the BA program requires 60 credits of coursework in the major while the BFA requires 95.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photomedia

This program aims to teach students about photography's evolution, how to use photography equipment and how to edit photos. At the end of fall quarter in the second year, 20 students are chosen by portfolio and coursework to continue in the program. Senior projects include a thesis and exhibition.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3-D Forum

This program allows students to choose from 3 tracks: glass, sculpture or ceramics. Students in all tracks must complete 180 credits. There is crossover among the courses, including art history and 3-D design theories. Senior studio courses, such as projects, seminars, field trips and a thesis exhibition, are required.

Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing

Only 4-6 students are accepted annually into this 2-year program. Students take drawing and painting studio courses, graduate seminars and elective classes in art history and studio art. A master's thesis is required.

Master of Fine Arts in Photomedia

This program accepts a maximum of 6 students each year and takes 2 years to complete. Students receive studio space for various forms of photography and video and to work on their thesis exhibition projects. They must complete 45 credits each year, which may include studio art, art history and seminars.

Master of Fine Arts in 3-D Forum

Students in this program have the same track options as the 3-D Forum BFA program: glass, sculpture and ceramics, but the MFA accepts a maximum of only 10 students per year. A master's thesis must be completed during the final 2 quarters.

Seattle University

The College of Arts and Sciences is Seattle University's largest college. It houses several departments, including the Department of Fine Arts.

Minor in Studio Art

The studio art minor requires students to earn 30 credits. All students in the minor program must complete basic design and drawing classes as well as 1 art survey course. The remaining courses are visual art electives chosen with the help of an art advisor.

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts

Students can choose from concentrations in music, photography, theatre or visual arts. However, they're also allowed to choose courses from various art media. Those in the visual arts track may take elective courses focusing on drawing, printmaking, painting or sculpture.

Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art

This program covers the basics of design, color concepts and art history. Students complete 60 credits of major-related coursework. Classes may include drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. At the end of sophomore year, students complete a portfolio review to determine continuance in the program. A senior capstone course covers business aspects of the art profession.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography

Seattle University partners with the Photographic Center Northwest to offer students this 180-credit degree program. Participants learn about photographic processes and photo criticism, with some major courses focusing on drawing fundamentals, digital photography, lighting, black and white photography and photography history.

North Seattle Community College

The Continuing Education program at NSCC offers several individual non-credit classes in a broad range of fields, including art. Classes are offered each quarter and costs vary per class. The Art Department also offers associate's and certificate programs in various art forms.

Continuing Education Art Courses

The arts-related classes can fall into 1 of several categories, including visual arts, 3-D arts, photography, music, drama and writing. Classes in visual arts may include introductory drawing, calligraphy, printmaking, watercolor painting, book illustration and collage. Classes in jewelry making, glass, metals and ceramics can be found in the 3-D category.

Certificate in Fine Arts in Art

This 85-credit program can be finished in 2 years, but it's recommended that students take longer to allow for more thorough comprehension and practice time. They complete 45 credits of required art classes, while the remainder of their courses can focus on art media such as photography, painting, sculpture, ceramics and jewelry. This is not a transfer program.

Certificate in Fine Arts in Jewelry Design

This program includes 60 credits of classes like metal working, metal mixing, jewelry design and business practices. Students conclude the program with a public exhibition of their work.

Associate of Arts

This 90-credit degree program is designed to transfer to a bachelor's program. Students must fulfill course requirements, but can choose among several classes related to art.

Associate of Fine Arts in Art

This 100-credit program requires students to complete courses related to drawing, art history and design. They can also select classes focusing on sculpture, ceramics, jewelry making, metals, printmaking, photography and painting. During senior year, student portfolios must be approved in order to graduate. Transferability of the AFA differs from the AA program, and students who plan to move to a 4-year program are encouraged to check equivalency requirements.

Other Schools

There are a few other schools that offer art classes within about 20 miles of Seattle. The private, nonprofit Cornish College of the Arts is in Seattle and has a BFA program that allows students to choose from 5 art media concentrations. Seattle Pacific University, another private school in the city, also has several undergraduate programs in art. In Shoreline, WA, about 9 miles from Seattle, students can earn an Associate of Fine Arts at Shoreline Community College.

Farther from Seattle, the University of Washington's Bothell campus (19 miles) offers an interdisciplinary arts bachelor's program, while students in the Des Moines area can find an associate's program in art at Highline Community College (18 miles).

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