San Francisco Art Institute shuts down after University of San Francisco backs out of acquisition plan

July 19, 2022
The 151-year-old art college said it was no longer financially viable.

The San Francisco Art Institute says it is shutting down after the University of San Francisco backed out of an acquisition deal.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the university issued a statement that it would not acquire the art school and would instead expand its own art program.

The Art Institute declared that it was no longer financially viable and was ending its degree programs as of July 15.

The 151-year-old art college will vacate its Chestnut Street campus but maintain its Diego Rivera mural, the school's chief asset.

Discussions about merging the university and the art school had been taking place for many years and a merger appeared likely in January when each of the universities "signed a letter of intent to explore integrating operations and academic programs in the arts."

Something not included in the proposed merger may have quashed the deal -- the land under the campus. It is a half square block of prime real estate. But it was donated by a benefactor in a complicated trust that deeds it to the University of California  Berkeley in the event that it is no longer used as an art campus.

Also mentioned as reasons to cancel the plan were the Art Institute's financial status, disappointing enrollment projections and costs of bringing the main Chestnut Street campus up to code and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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