About SACI – Italy | Study Abroad Programs, MFA Programs


Experience for a Lifetime

Pursue your passion in a U.S.-accredited arts program at the oldest and most prestigious American art school in Florence.

Studio Arts College International (SACI) is more than an opportunity to study abroad in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance: it’s an experience you will carry with you, in your career and throughout your life. Our alumni have been nominated for Academy Awards, exhibited in the London National Portrait Gallery, and designed jewelry for major Hollywood productions—there is no limit to what you can achieve. Yet for many it’s the opportunities to embrace and adapt to new challenges, to collaborate with people from all different backgrounds and cultures in one of the most vital artistic centers of Europe, and fully engage with art and design in a transformative way that defines the SACI experience.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and featured in The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair Italia as a premier institution at which to study art in a global setting, SACI offers a wide range of innovative, hands-on graduate and undergraduate programs in traditional and contemporary studio arts, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Programs integrate diverse disciplines, and emphasize the essential role of art and design in how we shape and sustain our planet both socially and environmentally.

In recent years, SACI has hosted international symposiums on art and design, developed interdisciplinary collaborations with renowned museums and institutions in Florence and throughout Tuscany, and participated in the Florence Biennale. SACI students have had opportunities to collaborate with the U.S. Consulate General in Florence, restore treasured Italian artworks and artifacts, collaborate with BHMF - Black History Month Florence, and much more.

At SACI, you’ll work side-by-side with passionate, engaged faculty members who will help you challenge artistic boundaries and push yourself in new creative directions. You’ll learn even more beyond the classroom, exploring the studios, museums, and galleries of Italy and Europe, living and working in the heart of Florence, and being enriched through a close connection to the local community—a connection that for many of our alumni endures long after graduation.


Studio Arts College International: A Brief History

SACI was founded in 1975 by renowned painter Jules Maidoff, a Fulbright scholar who had come to Florence two decades earlier to paint. Finding a city thriving with art and abundant with life, he determined to use his experience to offer the finest and most challenging training to the next generation of artists, art historians, and art conservators, along with the opportunity to live out a full, first-hand immersion within Florentine culture and customs. In 1976, the art school was incorporated as a U.S. non-profit 501(c)(3) university program so that all earnings would be re-invested in the education of young artists.

After nearly 20 years as SACI’s Director, Jules was succeeded in this position by SACI Dean of Students Dr. Mary Beckinsale, who was later named SACI’s first President. Mary continued to bring the founding vision of the school to full fruition, expanding SACI’s course offerings and building strong relationships with the best art schools, liberal arts colleges, and research universities in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Today, SACI owns two beautiful historical palazzi in the heart of Florence and is known internationally as one of the world’s most distinguished art schools. SACI also has a gallery space and admissions office in the Chelsea Arts District of New York City, which promotes work by SACI alumni and emerging international artists and designers by highlighting cutting edge, interdisciplinary work. With the 2016 appointment of Steven J. Brittan as SACI’s President, the school continues to advance its offerings as one of the preeminent U.S. colleges of art and design in Europe.


"Located in the historical center of Florence, jewel of the Renaissance, SACI activates the Renaissance spirit through innovation and excellence in studio arts, scholarship in art history, scientific dedication in conservation, fostering creative interdisciplinary collaboration. Design and art students gain valuable career experience through working with SACI’s institutional partners in Florence, including the Galleria dell’Accademia, Bargello Museum, and Ferragamo Foundation." – Steven J. Brittan, SACI President 

Get Involved

SACI offers rare opportunities to engage with the Florentine community and directly access centuries of Italian culture as part of the study abroad experience.

Our students take part in a variety of community involvement activities such as restoration interventions in important historical spaces, opportunities to teach English to Italian children, decoration of local hospital wards, and public gardening. Learn more about community activities at SACI.


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