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Painting Classes in NYC with School Overviews

Research painting classes in the New York City area, several of which can be found within nine miles of the downtown. Read an overview of classes, admission info and program requirements for three New York City schools and decide which program is right for you.

New York City Schools with Painting Classes

The following resource includes information about the fine art and painting programs at three leading New York City schools. Additional features include a handy table that allows you to compare key financial figures and institutional statistics, as well as a paragraph summarizing other schools in the area that offer painting classes.

  • At nine miles, the City College of New York is located within a half hour's drive of downtown New York City. The college offers both undergraduate and master's degree programs in studio art.
  • Pratt Institute, located four miles from New York City's downtown, offers associate, bachelor's and graduate degree programs through its School of Art and Design. Faculty in the program include professional artists, many of whom have won prestigious fellowships.
  • Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in art are also offered at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which is part of the largest university system in the country, the State University of New York (SUNY). The school's urban campus is based in the heart of the city's Garment District, three miles from the downtown.

Comparison of Schools

The following table is designed to provide you with a snapshot of our three profiled schools. Find out how hard it is to get into the schools, how much it will cost to attend and other valuable information.

CUNY City College of New York Fashion Institute of Technology Pratt Institute
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017)* 16,001 8,846 5,035
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $6,940 per year in-state; $14,330 out-of-state $5,483 per year in-state; $14,863 out-of-state $50,038 per year
% of Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 86% 73% 84%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 46% 47% 57%
Retention Rate (2017)* 86% for full-time students; 73% for part-time students 89% for full-time students; 44% for part-time students 88% for full-time students
Graduation Rate (began 2011)* 50% (25% transfer-out rate) 77% (12% transfer-out rate) 66% (4% transfer-out rate)

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

City College of New York

The Art Department at City College of New York aims to offer students a strong background in studio art while also providing a liberal arts education. Students in studio art programs such as painting are able to study both the practice and theory of visual art.

Bachelor of Arts in Art, Studio Option

This 42-credit major supplies aspiring painters with foundations in various areas of studio art and art history. Students then pursue advanced classes in their chosen area of specialization, such as painting and drawing. Painting classes include up to 21 credit hours of advanced projects in studio art, where learners experiment with varieties of techniques and materials, and an upper-level watercolor class.

Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art

This 60-credit program provides a background in the practice, theory and teaching of visual art, in addition to detailed training in chosen areas of specialization, including painting. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree in an art-related major and submit a digital portfolio to be considered for full admittance to the program. Painting elective classes include up to 15 credit hours of intensive work in individual painting projects. Students must successfully complete a thesis paper and take part in a thesis show in their final semester.

Fashion Institute of Technology

In addition to providing students with a direct connection to New York City's art world, the Fashion Institute of Technology provides hands-on studio art training and a background in liberal arts. It's accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Associate in Applied Science in Fine Arts

Students in this program prepare to work as painters through introductory and mid-level painting classes, in addition to abstract painting classes. They also gain a background in printmaking and sculpture throughout this 2-year program. Graduates can apply for admission to the fine arts bachelor's program.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts

Within this 62- to 62.5-credit major, art students experience more advanced painting classes concerned with contemporary concepts, painting imagery and personal aesthetics. In addition, aspiring painters choose the painting option for their senior capstone project thesis, in which they produce a consistent body of work, write a paper about the development of that work and present the paper.

Master of Fine Arts in Illustration

Candidates for this program should have a bachelor's degree in an appropriate major, along with related work experience. Students explore painting, as well as drawing, writing, research and use of digital media. Classes include history of American illustration, media exploration, narrative art, directed illustration projects and character creation. Students must also complete a visual thesis creation seminar and defend their visual thesis project on exhibit at the Museum at FIT.

Pratt Institute

The art and design school at the Pratt Institute has two major objectives: to provide students with a background in art history, theory and liberal arts and to allow them to develop their professional and technical skills.

Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design/ Illustration (Painting/Drawing)

While attending this 2-year program, students in the painting classes use models and still-life subjects and work with oil and other media. They also learn about composition, space, value, color and canvas preparation. Graduates of this program can head directly into the junior year of Pratt's bachelor's degree program or enter professions in the arts.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting

For admissions consideration, freshman applicants submit a digital portfolio and an essay. This program teaches the fundamentals of painting, along with the use of varied materials. Seminar courses teach art history, as well as current trends in painting. Seniors have individual studios available to them to prepare for their public final thesis exhibits.

Master of Fine Arts in Painting/Drawing

Candidates must have a bachelor's degree and submit two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and a digital portfolio. This program is comprised of painting/drawing classes, courses in art criticism/analysis/history, liberal arts classes and additional electives. Students complete a thesis and take part in an exhibit of their work.

Other School Options

Painting classes and programs are also available at College of New Rochelle, located about 25 miles from downtown New York City; New York Academy of Art, positioned right in the city; and Purchase College, located approximately 35 miles from the city.


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