Studio Arts College International (SACI), Florence, Italy, was founded by artist and director emeritus Jules Maidoff in Tuscany in 1975. SACI is an educational institution for undergraduate and graduate university-level students seeking fully accredited studio art, design, and liberal arts instruction.
SACI’s mission is to provide undergraduate and graduate students with a challenging, life-enhancing experience in the center of Florence in traditional and contemporary studio arts, design, conservation, and art history. Students directly access centuries of Italian culture through a wide range of courses of academic excellence. SACI engages in leading areas of research and exploration, interacts with the community through artistic and social programs, and prepares students to excel in their chosen field.
As an accredited institution, SACI offers a variety or programs to meet the diverse needs of students. SACI offers programs including: Academic Year & Semester Abroad, Post-Baccalaureate Programs in Studio Art and Conservation, 2-year MFA in Studio Art, 2-year MFA in Photography, 2-year MFA in Communication Design, an MA in Art History, Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art, a Venice Summer program and Summer Studies (including summer term non-credit study programs).
Studio Arts College International is a directly accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) . SACI is affiliated with Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio, which is accredited by NASAD and by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
SACI is authorized by the Delaware Department of Education and NASAD to confer a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art degree with an emphasis in Painting or Drawing, and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Photography.
SACI is the oldest American art school in Florence. The institution was founded in 1975 by painter Jules Maidoff, whose goal was to offer the finest and most challenging training to the next generation of artists, art historians, and art conservators, as well as the opportunity to live out a full, first-hand immersion within Florentine culture and customs.
Since 1975, over 10,000 students have attended SACI. Amongst the institution's alumni are Oscar-nominated film directors, artists who have exhibited in the London National Portrait Gallery and many other prestigious galleries worldwide, art conservators of the highest level, jewelry designers working on Hollywood productions.
SACI's Conservation Department works on many masterpieces from the Renaissance, giving students the opportunity to learn while actually restoring works by some of the greatest maestros of Italian art. Between 1996 and 2006 the Department fully restored the historical Chapel of [(Santa Maria degli Angiolini)], which had been closed since 1966, when it was damaged by the flood.
Many renowned artists have exhibited in the two SACI Galleries, from fashion designer Elio Fiorucci to Proust Armchair creator Alessandro Mendini, from Audrey Flack to Beverly Pepper. The SACI Artists Council includes such well known international artists as Christo, Ralph Gibson, Sting, Storm Thorgerson. SACI Artists Council member David Hockney chose SACI as the location for his 2008 Painted Optics Symposium.
SACI's main facilities are two historical palazzi in the center of Florence: the Palazzo dei Cartelloni, acquired in 1999, and the Palazzo Jules Maidoff for the Visual Arts, inaugurated in 2010.
Palazzo dei Cartelloni is 29,000-square-foot (2,700 m2) located at Via Sant'Antonino 11. It contains gallery/exhibition space, classrooms, a library, offices, an art conservation laboratory, media facilities and studios surrounding a large, traditional Italian garden. The interiors have been restored to their original Baroque-era style, with painted ceilings, fresco-ed walls and marble floors. This location is in the vicinity of the Duomo, the churches of San Lorenzo and Santa Maria Novella, and is just steps away from the central market and the new Alinari photography museum. The Palazzo was remodeled as a residence in the 17th century for the mathematician Vincenzo Viviani, who had been a pupil of the astronomer and scientist Galileo Galilei. Viviani dedicated his home to his esteemed teacher and placed two large scrolls on the building's façade that describe the extraordinary work and achievements of his master. He also added a bust of Galileo to the front facade that crowns the entranceway. Viviani created this monument to Galileo in defiance of the papal ban that forbade honoring the work of Galileo partly because of Galileo's assertion that, "The truth of nature is more important than traditional dogma." SACI's home is, therefore, a unique monument to a man who is considered "one of the two greatest sons of Florence" (along with Michelangelo Buonarroti), an accolade inscribed on the buildings scrolls.
SACI’s newest facility is also a major palazzo in the center of Florence: the Jules Maidoff Palazzo for the Visual Arts, which is named after SACI's founder and director emeritus. This palazzo includes a floor with large, well-lit painting studios; SACI’s new graduate center, with its own terrace and garden access; SACI’s new design center and design library; fully equipped animation and fresco studios; a student lounge, with additional computers for student internet access; gallery spaces; two major lecture halls; and a Renaissance courtyard.
The SACI Gallery provides a professional, non-commercial exhibition space for the SACI Artists Council members, instructors, and students as well as other local, national, and internationally renowned artists. Contemporary art exhibitions of works in all media are featured. The SACI Gallery aims to utilize its educational environment by supplementing the exhibitions with visiting artist presentations and artist lectures. It is a goal of the SACI Gallery to act as a catalyst between the cross-cultural American university environment and the local Italian community by collaborating with other cultural institutions and participating in outside creative projects.
The SACI Gallery was designed by Architect Paolo Bulletti and its renovation was made possible in part through a generous donation by artist Roger Phillips. The SACI Gallery is approximately 675 square feet (62.7 m2), has high vaulted ceilings, movable partition walls, and is adjacent to our interior courtyard garden.