School of the Museum of Fine Arts

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts (SMFA) is a distinctive studio art school borne of a unique proposition – an alliance of a major museum, a top-ranked research university, and the oldest art school in the country. Founded in 1876, the school was conceived at the same time as the Museum of Fine Arts itself, as the crucial second part of a mission to educate through the arts. In 1945, SMFA began granting accredited degrees through a partnership with Tufts University, a relationship that continued until June 30, 2016, at which time the school was formally acquired by Tufts.

From the beginning, SMFA was intended to be a school of art: not simply a technical institute, but a school dedicated to the exploration of ideas through the development of visual literacy and expression. We remain committed to this mission to this day.

Early on, the school created a program that blended the academic rigor of the French École des Beaux-Arts with the pragmatism of the English Arts and Crafts movement. In the early 20th century, SMFA’s programs took a modernist turn with the introduction of Bauhaus ideas, including an emphasis on the study of industrial processes. In the 1960s, the school altered its understanding of the relationship of art and ideas by encouraging students to explore a wide variety of media and techniques, including photography and film.

Today, we continue to emphasize the development of individual creativity through close mentorship of students engaged in self-directed study.

Boston, MA — US

Established 1876