SACI is the oldest and most prestigious 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.
In 1976, SACI was incorporated as a U.S. non-profit 501(c)(3) university program, signifying that all earnings would be re-invested in the education of young artists.
The program's growth was steady: in the words of Director Emeritus Jules Maidoff, "The first years were not easy (...) yet while many other programs declined or withdrew, our growth was steady. It was more than a growth in numbers - the SACI educational mission seemed to coincide with a need in art (...)
Our permanent ownership of two centrally located historic palaces, developed by SACI President Emeritus Mary Beckinsale into the ideal settings for art study, amazes visiting alumni. These visitors (...) are also delighted because what once seemed a rare opportunity has become a permanent resource for serious artists - one which will continue the tradition of creative challenge they recall as the SACI hallmark, a criteria which is an integral part of the school."
SACI's main facilities are two beautiful 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.
Over the course of its history, SACI has succeeded in fulfilling a large number of astonishing achievements. These are but a few among the many reasons the institution is so highly regarded by its students, its faculty, its alumni, and within the Florentine community itself:
- Since 1975, over 10,000 students have benefited from the high educational standards offered at SACI. Among 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, just to mention a few. For a more exhaustive list of our alumni success stories, click here.
- 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 extraordinary 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, and Sting. David Hockney honored SACI with his participation in the institution's 2008 Painted Optics Symposium.
- Since 2008, SACI students have participated in a project to decorate the wards of local Florentine hospitals: for more information, click here.
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