BFAPainting + Drawing
Transcend the boundaries of the medium and engage with critical issues through an imaginative and expansive fine arts practice.
We provide aspiring fine artists with a supportive community and rigorous culture of critique. Students develop their technical and conceptual skills in drawing and painting studios while sharing and debating ideas with faculty, peers, and visiting artists. With a broad notion of what fine arts can be in the world, and the opportunity to make all kinds of art objects, our students prepare for MFA programs as well as lifelong careers as practicing artists.
We are one of the best painting and drawing programs in the country for artists who enjoy working across disciplines, including photography, sculpture, film and video, textiles, and performance. From oils on canvas to sculptural environments, we provide the materials and resources you need to make compelling arguments through objects and exhibitions.
To complete a polished body of work, you’ll develop and hone the following core skills:
- Formulate a creative question or solution in response to a critical issue
- Conduct material and conceptual research
- Identify an appropriate artistic form
- Present your work in a public context
- Document your work
Beyond the studio and into the world
The fine arts programs at CCA host a diverse group of visiting artists each year. You’ll be exposed to new trends and practices in contemporary arts, which helps you confidently engage with the ideas you’re most passionate about in studio. Most of our drawing and painting studios take students to Bay Area museums, galleries, and nonprofit spaces, many of which are within walking distance of our San Francisco campus. These opportunities encourage you to think critically about your contributions to the field, as well as make meaningful connections to arts professionals in the world at large.
Our fine arts faculty exhibit and publish widely. They mentor students through material and conceptual experiments, drawing from their experiences in mixed media, video art, abstract painting, photography, printmaking, and more.
Interim Chair Linda Geary’s work ranges from book-sized to monumental and is inspired by material processes and reinvention. She's been featured in exhibitions at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Mills College, Kadist Foundation, Oakland Museum of California, and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Her critical writing has appeared in Artforum, Huffington Post, Art Practical, San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere.
Every undergraduate student participates in the First Year Core program, an opportunity to explore a wide range of materials and tools. Faculty from many different disciplines guide studio projects, group critiques, and discussions on foundational theory to help set students up for success.
By the time students graduate from the program, they’re already used to generating their own project ideas and connecting their art to social causes. Alumni go on to attend leading MFA programs in fine arts and have successful careers as independent artists.
Potential career paths
- Professional artist
- Arts educator
- Employee at an arts publication or magazine
- Employee at a museum or nonprofit
- Artist’s studio assistant
Our students are open-minded, creative, and critical. They thrive with a healthy balance of faculty mentorship and private, undivided time and space for creating, whether they think of their practice in terms of brush and canvas or something more expansive. Our goal is to provide you with the critical, conceptual, and technical skills you need to flourish as an artist.