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Unlike most academic institutions, the League is truly democratic and inclusive. If you desire to learn art, all you have to do is show up, go to your chosen class and be open to the artist-instructor's feedback. Students and artwork aren't graded in the usual way. Curiosity, passion, and dedication – that’s what keeps our artists coming back to class every day. It is not unusual for students to attend classes here for many years and even decades.
The League's success with turning students into professional artists is attested to not only by the roster of world-renown artists who have studied at the League, but also by the growing list of current students and recent alumni exhibiting throughout New York and the country—including in some of America's most prominent museums.
In the video above and the text below, current students describe what the League means to them. Please support these emerging artists by donating to the League's annual appeal.
What Our Students & Alumni Have to Say
“Congratulations to the one and only Art Students League, and thank you for my out-of-town scholarship in 1955, where I was privileged to study with Will Barnet, Sidney Dickinson, George Grosz, Robert Beverly Hale, Morris Kantor, and Vaclav Vytlacil.” —James Rosenquist, at the League's Hall of Fame Gala, October 2012
Jack Faragasso introduced me to form and composition in a way that opened my eyes as an artist. He showed how to understand what is seen in the artwork by understanding what is not seen. The best thing about the League, aside from the great instruction, is the great artists you meet there.
—Al Johnson, Artist and Alumni
I was interviewed by Michael Pellettieri, who I don't think knew quite what to make of me. I told him I wanted to make a chess board. Michael was very helpful in the making of my chess board. To date I think it probably is my best accomplishment in printmaking. The environment in the printmaking department at the League was so friendly and inviting and stimulating …, it became my new obsession. Major inspiration for me at the League was Takamune Ishiguro and Akiko Hoshino. Taka was monitor when I started and he was helpful and inspiring in so many ways. If I would ask his opinion or advice my favorite quote from Taka was "up to you". When I am in doubt I still hear him say that to me. Akiko was just Akiko, a beautiful flower in full bloom who made the room glow whenever she would show up. I miss them both so much.
—Cathryn Aison, Artist and Current Student
The art and aesthetics I absorbed from teachers and fellow students during my time at the League were, in some real measure, responsible for the success I enjoyed in my design work, at many companies including my own, for over 50 years.
—Jay Moss, Artist and Alumni
Being a monitor is an opportunity to practice self-sacrificing love. It reminds me that there are things that are important besides simply pursuing my art, such as helping others and making an effort to create an atmosphere of camaraderie.
—Walter Mosley, Artist and Current Student
I belong to the category of artists who like to be influenced; those who can admire fellow artists’ work and love to share their sources of inspiration generously. I feel relieved that my ego stays out of the way, both before and during the creative process.
—Yorgis Vrachnos, International Student
League classes are just so great! Every instructor is different, and I’m sure that future students participating in this program will find the teacher they like and appreciate, as I did.
—Hoyi Leung, Seeds of the League
I would like people to know me as a humble person, who came to the League to learn and express myself through drawing and painting, who took a little bit of everyone’s knowledge and mixed it with my own knowledge, spirituality and skills for the world to enjoy.
—Angel Valentin, Veterans Program
I love the hard work and the stimulating breakthroughs, the generosity and kindness of my fellow students, and the great instruction of the teachers who have been endlessly patient and encouraging. My life in New York City would not be nearly as rich without the League and all who study here.
—Kit Seidel, Artist and Current Student