Art Info

The Grand Central Academy of Art and The Water Street Atelier

Study - Water Street Atelier


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.

  • Curriculum

    The following is a broad outline of Water Street's core curriculum.

    First Year

    Morning - cast drawing, cast sculpture
    Afternoon - master copies, block-ins, figure drawing; perspective

    Second Year

    Morning - cast painting
    Afternoon - figure drawing, figure grisaille or figure sculpture; anatomy

    Third Year

    Morning - figure drawing, figure grisaille or figure sculpture
    Afternoon - figure painting in color or figure sculpture; color theory

    Fourth Year

    Morning - figure painting in color or figure sculpture
    Afternoon - figure painting in color or figure sculpture; still life

  • Apply


    We strongly encourage prospective students to visit the GCA studios before applying. Seeing the students and teachers at work is a great way to learn about the curriculum and commitment that would be required in full time study.

    Winter Admission
    Applications for February admission to the Water Street Atelier are due by October 1. Notification by December 1.

    Fall Admission
    Applications for September admission to the Water Street Atelier are due by February 1. Notification by April 1.

    Rolling Admission
    Applications submitted throughout the year will be considered as space allows.

    To request an application, click here.

    Please submit, to the extent possible, work samples done from life as opposed to from photographs. Work from photographs can be submitted but it is the admissions committee's preference to see work done from life.

    If your application passes review by the Admissions Committee, you will be invited to interview. We prefer that candidates interview in person. Phone interviews may possibly be arranged by special request. We are happy to answer your questions! Email:


    Tuition fees: $8,500 per year paid by semester.

    Incoming students pay $1,000 deposit upon acceptance and pay the balance per the deadlines listed below. Rolling admission students pay balance by first day of class.

    Semester 1: $4,250 Tuition Due on August 1, 2013
    Semester 2: $4,250 Tuition Due on January 7, 2014

    Payment Methods
    We accept credit card, check and (cash*) payments

    • Credit card: there is a 3% processing fee on top of tuition payment
    • Checks: please make payable to ICAA, not GCA
      Mail to: GCA, 20 West 44th St., 6th Floor, NY, NY 10036
    • Cash: please check with the office if you need to pay in cash

    A $35 per week late fee will be charged for late payments.
    $35 late fee will be charged for checks returned by the bank.

    Students may request refunds in writing/email (less the non-refundable deposit) within the first week of the semester. Any period of absence during the term, whatever the cause or duration, will not be refunded.