In the Water Street Atelier, the Grand Central Academy's full-time program, students devote themselves to learning traditional drawing, painting, and sculpture from life. Students work in a structured, organized studio with the hands on guidance of the school's principle instructors. These studies ensure a deep understanding of classical form, design, practice, and discipline.
To provide the necessary resources and to ensure the focus of the student body, the GCA accepts no more than fifteen students per year into the Water Street Atelier. To be considered eligible for admission, students must show, through portfolio submission and interviews: a serious work ethic, a sincere desire to learn, and a commitment to make fine art their career.
Studio sessions take place Monday through Friday, from 8:30am - 12:30pm and 1:00pm - 5:00pm. Mornings in the first and second years are structured around rigorous pencil drawings and grisaille paintings of antique casts. In the afternoons, students focus on master copies in pencil and cast copies in clay, before advancing to the live model. The third and fourth years are structured around either figure painting in oil, or figure sculpture in clay. Two yearly workshops, including perspective, anatomy, color theory, composition, and art history, are designed to supplement studio studies.
Tuition is $8,500 per year paid by semester. There are limited work-study positions, which are available to students who have attended for at least six months. Four annual merit-based tuition scholarships are awarded at the end of each year. There is one full-tuition scholarship for an incoming first year student.