School of Visual Arts (SVA) is a private, for-profit college located on East 23rd Street in Manhattan's Gramercy area, with additional departments located in buildings across the neighborhood. It was founded by Silas H. Rhodes and Burne Hogarth (illustrator of the Tarzan of the Apes comic) in 1947 as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. Rhodes, a WWII veteran with a doctorate from Columbia University, collaborated with Hogarth and the Veterans Administration immediately after the war to develop an art school for other veterans. Most early students worked days and took classes at night, their tuition paid for by the G.I. Bill.
The institution changed its name to the School of Visual Arts in 1956, the same year that Hogarth and Rhodes were called before Congress on charges that they were Communists and the school had misused G.I. Bill-related money. They refused to testify, and questions around the school funding were later settled. In 1972, SVA was authorized by the New York Board of Regents to grant Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Fine Arts, Media Arts and Photography; in 1983, it added its first Master of Fine Arts degrees. The school boasts its own Visual Arts Museum, offering innovative exhibitions and regular Open Studio programs for graduate and undergraduate students, study abroad options, and multiple student publications.
Today, SVA offers eleven undergraduate majors: Advertising, Animation, Cartooning, Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects Design, Film, Fine Arts, Illustration, Interior Design: Built Environments, Photography and Video, and Visual & Critical Studies. All undergraduate students take classes in the Humanities and Sciences, in keeping with Rhodes' belief that artist education needed to be visual and verbal, moral and intellectual. The school also offers a writing program and a non-major art history program.
Graduate options at SVA include Master of Fine Arts in Art Practice, Art Writing, Computer Arts, Design, Design for Social Innovation, Fine Arts, Illustration as Visual Essay, Interaction Design, Photography, Video and Related Media, Products of Design, Social Documentary Film, and Visual Narrative. Master of Arts degrees are offered in Curatorial Practice and Design Research, Writing and Criticism; a joint M.A. and Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is available in Art Education. Master of Professional Studies degrees are awarded in Art Therapy, Branding, Digital Photography, Directing, and Fashion Photography. SVA also offers continuing education courses.
SVA has 3,529 undergraduate and 582 graduate students. Enrollment skews toward female students, who make up 72% of full-time undergraduates and 70% of graduate students. International students make up almost 52% of undergraduates and 66% of graduate students. Admission is somewhat competitive, with 71% of applicants admitted. Undergraduate tuition is $22,500 per semester; graduate students pay between $20,000 and $27,000, depending on their program of study.
Notable alumni from SVA include Steve Ditko, co-creator of the Spider-Man, Joe Sinnott, the longtime Marvel Comics inker, numerous DC Comics writers and editors including Jordan B. Gorfinkel and Jamal Yaseem Igle, as well as Hannah Wilke, an artist, sculptor, and founder of SVA Ceramics Program.
School of Visual Arts currently has 14 buildings in New York City, with most of them located in the Gramercy and Chelsea neighborhoods in Manhattan. The main building, which houses programs like Advertising, Cartooning, Design, and Film, is located at 209 East 23rd Street.
School of Visual Arts has four residence halls, including The 23rd Street Residence at 215 East 23rd Street and The 24th Street Residence at 340 East 24th Street. The Ludlow Residence at 101 Ludlow is the only SVA building located in Lower Manhattan, with a traditional style residence hall that offers suite-style single and double rooms with adjoined bathrooms. Depending on room type and dates, the rates range from $3,800 to $5,450. The Gramercy Women's Residence, located at 17 Gramercy Park South, is only a few blocks from the main academic buildings and is reserved for only female students. All of the units at The Gramercy Women's Residence are double rooms.
Of course, not all students attending the School of Visual Arts live in the residence halls. One of the great things about SVA is its location. Being close to major subway lines such as 4, 5, and 6, SVA offers its students the opportunity to find off-campus housing without long commutes. If you want to live off-campus, consider renting an apartment in the East Village. Check out RentHop's subway rent map and find out which subway stops on the 4, 5, and 6 lines are the cheapest.
School of Visual Arts has over 40,000 alumni in 75 countries. For alumni who stay in the city, most are spread throughout all five boroughs, with the majority in Manhattan, Northwestern Queens, and parts of Brooklyn.
For people first moving into New York City, check out the RentHop Renters Guide. The guide explains everything you need to know about renting in the Big Apple, from finding your ideal apartment to signing the lease and completing the rental process.