When the Seattle Art Institute (SAI) announced their closure, it was not only a shock, but also a cause of frustration for the students enrolled. Most of the students previously enrolled at the Art Institute were confused and had no place to go, and some international students found themselves with their student visas no longer valid.
Seattle University recognized the art students’ frustration and admitted some of these former students. In order to continue their education, Seattle U offered the opportunity for these students to keep going with their unfinished dreams.
According to the Admissions Office, there are 12 former SAI students transferring to Seattle U, and among them are five international students. In order to make the SAI students feel involved with the new community, Seattle U organized an open house for these students.
Students at the Art Institute could have potentially lost their visas, if they were from a different country.
At the fair, Seattle U representatives offered former SAI students information about six art majors. The list included art history, digital design, performing arts and arts leadership, photography, visual art, and interdisciplinary art. In the end, most of them chose to follow the digital design program.
In addition to the open house, these students were also invited to go through the admission process for transferring students. There were no artistic evaluations, but there was a financial and history check. These processes are a requirement for all Seattle U students.
The admissions office said that 10 former students from the institute already signed up for spring quarter classes and started their courses with other students on April 1.
Even though some former Art Institute students seem to have settled into Seattle U, the closure of Seattle Art Institute remains a shock.
Sophomore Business Analytics major and local filmmaker Nick Chang is a close friend of students from Seattle Art Institute. He explained why this closure is affecting the community so deeply.
“For a person like me who makes art in general, it is much harder to do the planning or coordinating with other people,” Chang said. “Before, local artists like me, who did not have a big budget, could still find people to help. Now, you cannot have the same kind of resources anymore.”
“I think transferring to Seattle University might have been the best option for the former [Art Institute] students even though they have to spend more money. It is the least risky choice,” Chang said. “Honestly, some of my Art Institute friends were living in confusion. They did not know how to react or how to plan out their lives from now on. However, some others were quite calm because they considered the closure a gap year until they got acceptance from other schools.”
On one hand, the closure of the Art Institute impacted not only students from the Institute, but also artists around Seattle. In the past, Seattle Art Institute had been a free pool of resources for filmmakers, artists, and music producers—but this is no longer the case.
On the other hand, however, the closure of Art Institute did not stop their former students from loving art. Making films or being in the culinary industry is the final goal for many of them.
Jerry Baughman Jr. is a local film producer and a friend of Art Institute students.
“In this industry, you need to be positive. You will need the positivity to survive with this field,” Baughman said. “It is painful to observe the closure of the SAI, and I feel for the students at SAI. My soul is bleeding for them.”
At the end of the day, even though the closure of SAI was such a shock for the community, some students from the Institute found a new home at Seattle U.
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