Art Classes in Seattle, WA with School Options

Oct 20, 2021

Art Schools in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington, and its surrounding areas have several public and private schools with art programs. This article discusses three of these schools, which are all less than 15 minutes from the downtown area. Use the table in the following section to compare valuable school information, such as school types, tuition rates and graduation rates. Also included is a short section highlighting five other viable school options.

  • The University of Washington (UW) - Seattle is located roughly three miles from downtown Seattle and offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts, BA in Painting and Drawing, BA in Photomedia, BA in 3-Dimensional Forum, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Painting and Drawing, MFA in Photomedia and an MFA in 3-Dimensional Forum.
  • Seattle University, which is 1.5 miles from downtown, offers a minor in studio art, BA in Interdisciplinary Arts, BA in Visual Arts and a BFA in Photography.
  • Located eight miles from downtown, North Seattle College gives students the chance to earn a certificate in art or jewelry design. The school also offers two associate degrees in art and continuing education art courses.

Comparison of Schools

The table below, which compares school specifics, can make it easier to choose the right school.

University of Washington - Seattle Seattle University North Seattle College
School Type Public, 4-year university Private, non-profit, 4-year university Public, 4-year community college, primarily associate degrees
Total Enrollment (2019) 47,576* 7,199* 5,693*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Annual Tuition and Fees (2019-2020) Undergraduate:
$11,465 in-state,
$38,166 out-of-state;
$19,293 in-state,
$33,534 out-of-state*
Undergraduate: $46,590;
Graduate: $20,105*
% of First-Year Undergraduate Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2018-2019) 57%* 98%* 51%*
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2019) 52%* 78%* N/A - open admissions
Undergraduate Retention Rate for First-Time, Full-Time Students (2018-2019) 95%* 88%* N/A*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate within 150% of Normal Completion Time (students who began in Fall 2013) 84%* 74%* 25% (23% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

University of Washington - Seattle

The UW has campuses in Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell and is divided into 16 colleges and schools, including the College of Arts and Sciences. Within this college is the School of Art, where students can study art, design and art history.

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts

Students in this 180-credit program can take art classes in one or more types of art media, such as painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture. They must also complete 15 credits in art history. During the course of the program, students can expect to participate in group and individual exhibitions, including a senior exhibition.

Bachelor of Arts in Art: Painting and Drawing

This program lays a foundation in drawing so students can progress to more advanced drawing and painting techniques. Admission to the BA program requires students to have a 2.5 GPA. The program requires 35 credits in an area of concentration and 20 in introductory art topics, such as printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, glass and color studies.

Bachelor of Arts in Art: Photo/Media

This program aims to teach students about photography's evolution, how to use photography equipment and how to edit photos. A senior studio project must be completed. Students have access to a computer lab, darkroom, printers, experimental galleries and lighting and sound studios.

Bachelor of Arts in Art: 3-D Forum

This program allows students to focus on studies in glass, sculpture or ceramics. Students must complete 180 credits. Students take courses in art history as well as introductory courses in drawing, sculpture, photography, printmaking, ceramics and other areas of art.

Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing

Only 4-6 students are accepted annually into this 2-year program. Students take drawing and painting studio courses, graduate seminars and elective classes in art history and studio art. A master's thesis is required.

Master of Fine Arts in Photomedia

This program accepts a maximum of six students each year and takes two years to complete. Students receive studio space for various forms of photography and video and to work on their thesis exhibition projects. They must complete 45 credits each year, which may include studio art, art history and seminars.

Master of Fine Arts in 3-D Forum

Students in this program study in the same areas as are offered in the 3-D Forum BFA program--glass, sculpture and ceramics--but the MFA accepts a maximum of only eight students per year. A master's thesis must be completed during the final two quarters.

Seattle University

The College of Arts and Sciences is Seattle University's largest college. It houses several departments, including the Department of Fine Arts.

Minor in Studio Art

The studio art minor requires students to earn 30 credits. All students in the minor program must complete basic design and drawing classes as well as one Western art course. The remaining courses are visual art electives chosen with the help of an art advisor.

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts

Students can choose from concentrations in music, photography, theatre, visual arts or arts leadership. However, they're also allowed to choose courses from various art media. Those in the visual arts track may take courses focusing on drawing, printmaking, painting or sculpture.

Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art

This program covers the basics of design, color concepts and art history. Students complete 65 credits of major-related coursework. Classes may include drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. At the end of sophomore year, students complete a portfolio review to determine continuance in the program. A senior capstone course covers business aspects of the art profession.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography

Seattle University partners with the Photographic Center Northwest to offer students this 180-credit degree program. Participants learn about photographic processes and photo criticism, with some major courses focusing on drawing fundamentals, digital imaging, lighting, black and white photography and photography history.

North Seattle College

The Continuing Education program at NSC offers several individual non-credit classes in a broad range of fields, including art. Classes are offered each quarter and costs vary per class. The Art Department also offers associate degree programs in various art forms.

Continuing Education Art Courses

The arts-related classes can fall into several categories, including visual arts, 3-D arts, photography, music, drama and writing. Classes in visual arts may include drawing basics, calligraphy, figure drawing, watercolor painting, oil painting and charcoal drawing. Classes in jewelry making, clay and ceramics can be found in the 3-D category.

Associate of Arts

This 90-credit degree program is designed to transfer to a bachelor's program. Students must fulfill course requirements, but can choose among several classes related to art.

Associate of Fine Arts in Art

This 100-credit program requires students to complete five credits of art courses that can cover drawing, art history and design. They can also select classes focusing on sculpture, ceramics, jewelry making, metals, printmaking, photography and painting. During senior year, student portfolios must be approved in order to graduate. Transferability of the AFA differs from the AA program, and students who plan to move to a 4-year program are encouraged to check equivalency requirements.

Other Schools

There are a few other schools that offer art classes within about 20 miles of Seattle. The private, nonprofit Cornish College of the Arts is in Seattle and has a BFA program that allows students to choose from eight art media concentrations. Seattle Pacific University, another private school in the city, also has several undergraduate programs in art. In Shoreline, WA, about nine miles from Seattle, students can earn an Associate of Fine Arts at Shoreline Community College.

Farther from Seattle, the University of Washington's Bothell campus (12 miles) offers an interdisciplinary arts bachelor's program, while students in the Des Moines area can find an associate degree program in art at Highline Community College (18 miles).

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