Painting and Drawing Facilities & Resources

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Painting and Drawing offers students the following equipment and facilities:

  • Large, well-lit and well-ventilated classrooms with natural and color-correcting lighting
  • Three critique spaces equipped with digital projectors
  • Storage rack space
  • Comics classroom equipped with drafting tables and digital scanner
  • Two well-ventilated spray booths (one in the 280 Building and one in MacLean)
  • Six display cases for exhibiting artwork
  • Advanced Painters have shared studio spaces and a large critique space
  • Weekly free figure model sessions
  • PTDW Materials and Techniques StudioLab
  • Painting and Drawing Visiting Artist Lecture Series
  • Access to a world-renowned, encyclopedic art museum that encompasses more than 5,000 years of creative expression from cultures around the world
  • Access to wood shop, metal shop, laser cutters, video and audio editing equipment, professional grade digital cameras, and light kits
  • Affordable digital printing


Additional resources for graduate students of the Painting and Drawing Department:

  • Individual studios, each with a large storage locker
  • Three large, naturally lit critique spaces in MacLean
  • Visits from PTDW Visiting Artists

Materials & Techniques StudioLab

StudioLab is the center for material study and exploration within SAIC’s Painting and Drawing department. This state-of-the-art facility provides students with the opportunity to safely navigate the breadth of material possibility under the tutelage of expert faculty members. The Materials & Techniques course curriculum bridges historical painting techniques with contemporary practices, empowering students to embrace materiality as a vehicle for meaning and intentionality within their practice.

StudioLab is accessible to all students who enroll in a Materials & Techniques course. Upon successful completion of the course, students are eligible to use the facility for the duration of their time at SAIC. StudioLab offers open hours Monday through Friday in the afternoon and evening, where students can work independently with assistance from knowledgeable staff members.


The Materials & Techniques courses are constructed around the artistic practice and pedagogical approach of each faculty member, and may vary based on the unique expertise of each individual.

Curricular areas of study include:

  • Gesso

  • Egg Tempera

  • Casein

  • Distemper

  • Oil

  • Acrylic

  • Encaustic

  • Ink & watercolor

  • Conte crayon and pastel

  • Monotype


Amenities include:

  • Ductless fume hood for safe handling of pigments and particulate
  • Nederman fume extractor above laboratory counter
  • Perimeter ventilation running parallel to adjustable drafting table desktop
  • Induction burners and temperature calibrated encaustic hotplates
  • Bakers racks and flat files for horizontal artwork storage
  • 50+ dry pigments for paint making processes
  • Compound microscope for material analysis
  • 65+ liquid pigment dispersions for water soluble paint making processes
  • Co-curricular workshops and learning opportunities offered during open hours
  • Reference library with 40+ books and countless journals and technical articles on painting materials and processes
  • Material archive with 70+ samples of pigments, minerals, dyestuff, resins, gums, and related material