General About SACI FAQ

What makes SACI special?

Founded by artist Jules Maidoff in 1975, and incorporated in 1976 as a not-for-profit US institution, SACI is the oldest and most prestigious American art school in Florence. SACI's courses are fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). SACI is distinguished not only by its remarkable breadth of course offerings — in areas ranging from studio art, design, crafts, art history, art conservation, and Italian culture and language — but by its commitment to ensuring that students gain maximum exposure to Italian art and culture. SACI students enroll in a wide array of courses. Students attend lectures by established and emerging international artists, film nights that feature classic and contemporary Italian films (with English subtitles), and cooking classes in which students learn how to prepare Tuscan dishes and to understand the connection between Italy’s culture and cuisine. Students participate in weekly open drawing sessions and field trips to sites throughout Italy, including day trips to Fiesole, Pisa, Siena, and Lucca, and weekend trips to Rome, Venice, and Naples. SACI remains true to its original goal of offering the finest and most challenging training to the next generation of artists, art historians, and art conservators.

Who Is the "Typical" SACI Student?

The “typical” SACI student is an individual seeking a serious and rewarding foreign study experience. Many different cultures, ages and racial backgrounds are represented in the SACI student body, comprised of both male and female students. The “average” SACI student is a US college-enrolled student spending a semester or year abroad. SACI students have received credit and recognition for their work at SACI from over 200 university-level institutions such as Duke University, Northeastern University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. An advantage for all SACI students is the teacher-student ratio, which remains at about 10 students per professor for studio classes, and 10-25 students per professor for academic classes.

Do I have to be an Art Major to Attend SACI?

No. SACI offers beginning courses in all studio areas that assume no prior knowledge of art. Many academic courses are also offered at SACI. See the Courses section of the website for a complete list of all studio and academic courses.

How Is SACI Accredited?

Studio Arts College International is a directly accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

SACI is affiliated with Bowling Green State University in Ohio, which is accredited by NASAD and by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. BGSU is also a member of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools, the Council of Graduate Schools, and the Central States Universities, Inc.

SACI is authorized by the Delaware Department of Education and NASAD to confer a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art degree with an emphasis in Painting or Drawing, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Photography, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Communication Design, a Summer Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art, and a Master of Arts (MA) in Art History.

Students may obtain a copy of SACI’s accreditation approval by submitting a written request for this material to SACI’s Dean.

Can Credits Earned at SACI Be Transferred to Another School?

A transcript is maintained for each student who attends SACI. The transcript lists all classes in which a student was enrolled while at SACI, the grades earned in these classes, and the number of credits received for completing each class. Each institution to which a student applies to undertake course work elsewhere will review the student's SACI transcript--and transcripts from any other university-level programs in which the student earned credit--and determine how many credits the student can transfer to that institution. The amount will vary per school--some schools may accept all course work completed at SACI and/or elsewhere, others may accept some, and others may accept no transfer credit. SACI’s affiliate institution, Bowling Green State University (BGSU), normally accepts all SACI course work in which a student received a grade of “C” or above. The only way to be certain about how many credits will transfer--whether earned at SACI or elsewhere--is for the student to request a written response from each school he or she is interested in attending (including BGSU, if the student is interested in attending there). It is very important that the student get the response in writing in each instance since then the student will have proof that an official from that particular school indicated that the school will accept whatever number of credits was indicated.

What Additional Activities Does SACI Offer?

To complement our curricular offerings and the extra curriculum information available in the library, SACI hosts an evening lecture series featuring international artists, art historians, conservators, museum directors, curators, critics, and scholars specializing in art, art history, conservation and other aspects of Italian culture and life. Additional evening activities include exhibition openings in the gallery, life drawing classes, cooking classes centering on Tuscan and Italian cuisine and film nights which showcase the world of Italian cinema. In addition to these "in house" activities, field trips form an integral part of the SACI overseas study experience, and make SACI’s classes particularly rich and exciting. All of these activities help to provide an integrated appreciation of the Italian experience.

Where Are SACI's Facilities Located?

The Palazzo dei Cartelloni (Via Sant'Antonino, 11), SACI's main facility, is in the center of Florence, 50 yards from the central food market, 600 yards from the Duomo, and 80 yards from the church of San Lorenzo with Michelangelo's Medici Chapel. Within five minutes walking distance there are bookshops, internet cafes, coffee bars, restaurants, cinemas and a myriad of stores. The school is also near to the train station, the bus station, and the Fortezza da Basso, where all international design fairs are held in Florence.

The SACI Jules Maidoff Palazzo for the Visual Arts (Via Sant'Egidio, 14) is just a few blocks from—and with easy access to—Palazzo dei Cartelloni. It is a fully-renovated Renaissance palace in the center of Florence named after SACI's founder and director emeritus. This palazzo includes studios for students in SACI's MFA and Post-Bac programs as well as two darkrooms; photo drying, printing, and shooting labs; the Blackwell Design Magazine Library; computer and video classrooms; a fresco painting studio; a language and literature classroom; a gallery; an internal courtyard; and terraces that overlook a garden in which SACI students regularly meet with one another and with their instructors.

The Jules Maidoff Palazzo has four floors and is over 2,000 square meters. It is opposite the Fondazione Circolo Rosselli Library, near the city archives which contain the Andrei Tarkovsky film and theater holdings, and a very short distance from Florence’s Oblate Library, a public library with a cafè hosting cultural events which has late evening hours that are ideal for SACI students. Also nearby is the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, founded in 1288, with its notable collection of historic paintings; Florence’s Archaeological Museum; Italy's first opera house, the Pergola Theater; and the Conservatorio of Santa Maria degli Angiolini, a Baroque chapel restored, over a period of eleven years, by SACI Conservation students.

What Kind of Studio Space Does SACI Offer Its Students?

In addition to the three drawing/painting classrooms, individual studio space is provided for advanced painting students. MFA and Post-Baccalaureate students in studio art have individual studio space provided in the Jules Maidoff Palazzo for the Visual Arts. All areas have natural ventilation, and most areas of the communal studio space have natural lighting. Storage space for art supplies is available as well as a work area for canvas stretching, sizing and the preparation of painting surfaces. Fresco courses are taught at the Jules Maidoff Palazzo for the Visual Arts.

Is There Exhibition Space at SACI?

SACI has Visiting Artist and Artist-in-Residence programs that include internationally famous artists from the SACI Artists Council. Often exhibitions of these artists' work are featured in the SACI Gallery in the Palazzo dei Cartelloni or at the Jules Maidoff Gallery in the Jules Maidoff Palazzo for the Visual Arts. For students, there are opportunities to exhibit at SACI throughout the year. MFA and Post-Baccalaureate students have a group exhibition at the end of their year of study in a professional local gallery. Selected academic semester/year students exhibit work during their terms. There is also an annual end-of-year show of selected student work. Sometimes SACI students take the initiative to organize student shows in nearby restaurants, bars and cafes.

What Are SACI's Library Resources?

SACI's Worthington Library holdings include approximately 13,500 books, monographs and exhibition catalogs in the areas of art and art history, literature and criticism. There are extensive sections devoted to art history, conservation, museology, Italian history, language, film, literature and music. There are numerous books on drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, computer art, video, design, architecture, and other arts. Extensive art history bibliographies are maintained to assist SACI students with the preparation of research papers. The library subscribes to 53 periodicals, making its collection of English-language art magazines and journals one of the largest in Florence. It also contains CDs, DVDs, and over 32,000 slides and digital images which range from classical to contemporary art. SACI subscribes to the QUESTIA online library, JSTOR (database of scholarly journals) and ARTstor (database of art images), making thousands of additional resources available for extended research.

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