Painting & Drawing Department

The Department of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is home to a diverse range of conceptual and material approaches. It is an open, pluralistic community with a primary emphasis on experimental consideration for painting and drawing in the 21st century.

Sheryl Lee, Palette Painting
Freedom to Explore

#2 Best Painting & Drawing Program

U.S. News & World Report
Best Fine Arts Grad School Rankings

A person sitting at an easel painting in a studio.

Experimental Approach to Learning

An experimental, multi-disciplinary approach to learning, challenging students to explore their ideas across a myriad of disciplinary forms and procedures. 

A professor cleaning a paintbrush with a student watching carefully.

Dedicated Faculty

Diverse and dedicated faculty, consisting of more than 70 working artists whose work appears in galleries and museums across the globe. Collectively their various practices embody a wide array of conceptual and material models for painting and drawing.

An impressionist painting of Vincent van Gogh's bedroom.

Vincent van Gogh, The Bedroom, 1889, Oil on canvas, 73.6 × 92.3 cm

Expansive Body of Work

Access to the internationally recognized collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, which presents an encyclopedic body of work that spans 5,000 years of creative expression from cultures around the world.

An image of Angel Otero.

Renowned Alums

A long record of alums who have attained a high level of achievement in their careers, earning exhibitions in world-renowned galleries and museums, teaching positions at leading Institutions, and grants, awards, and prizes reflecting excellence in their field. Recent alums of note include Tony Lewis, Allison Zuckerman, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Angel Otero, Amanda Ross-Ho, Jeni Spota, and Zak Prekop.

A professor instructing in an open studio.

Fully Equipped Classrooms

Large, well-lit classrooms, critique spaces, and studios where students develop their practices, hold open discussions, and engage in rigorous dialogue with faculty and students which tests strategies of production and presentation.

Contact Us

MacLean Center and Department Chair Office

112 S. Michigan Ave., Room 1506

The 280 Building Office

280 S. Columbus Dr., Room 322

Phone: 312.443.3785

Senior Chair and Crown Family Professor in Painting and Drawing

Michele Grabner

Materials & Techniques StudioLab Technician

Wenslo Garcia