The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Painting and Drawing graduate program offers you a wide range of traditional and experimental approaches to developing an ongoing and committed art practice. You can investigate ideas through individual studio practice as well as through the critical and historical frameworks necessary to inform your aesthetic and conceptual choices. 

Faculty Are Working Artists

Painting and drawing faculty members include more than 30 graduate instructors—all practicing artists—who have been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright Program, and the Tiffany, Ford, Guggenheim, Warhol, and Newhouse Foundations, as well as other regional, national, and international honors. Faculty work appears in galleries and museums throughout the world. 

Interdisciplinary Focus

As a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio student, the Department of Painting and Drawing encourages you to explore a full range of creative avenues from focused study of the tradition of painting to interdisciplinary pursuits that draw on the many resources and disciplines available at the school.

Visiting Artists Program

Additionally, we welcome a variety of visiting artists, curators, and critics who combine lectures with individual and group critiques. Recent visitors include:

Graduate Projects

The cornerstone of SAIC’s graduate studio program is its focus on tutorially guided studio practice. Each semester in addition to selecting from graduate advisors in the department, you will select from more than 100 graduate faculty advisors  at SAIC, representing a myriad of disciplines, approaches, and intellectual positions. Ultimately, it is the student's work that drives the choice of advisor, and both disciplinary and interdisciplinary work is supported and advanced. Faculty from the academic programs in Art HistoryArts Administration and PolicyArt Education, and Visual and Critical Studies also serve as graduate advisors, providing yet more expertise in support of SAIC Graduate Projects.

Critique Week

Critique Week, one of the principle means of assessment each semester, is a week-long schedule of critiques during which classes are suspended and the entire faculty and invited visiting artists and designers assemble into panels that conduct intensive studio critiques with all studio and writing graduate students.

Fall semester critiques are organized by department, with panels representing the discipline. They provide you an opportunity to have your work evaluated by the department, look at your work from a disciplinary point of view, and reinforce the expectations for your graduate study.

Spring semester critiques are interdisciplinary, with panel members of faculty, visiting artists, and peers from across SAIC departments. Interdisciplinary critiques in the spring semesters allow for a broader range of responses to the work, and are intended to assess the success of your work for a more general, yet highly informed, audience.

Studio critiques are required of every full-time graduate student pursuing an MFA in Studio or Writing degree. Typically, SAIC graduate students have at least four critique panels throughout their studies at SAIC, augmenting biweekly tutorials with their graduate advisors.

Interested in learning more?

Continue to explore the Painting and Drawing department websiteto learn more about our curricular offerings, faculty, students, alumni, and more or visit the Master of Fine Arts in Studio degree program for detailed information or schedule a tour

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or