The American Academy of Art was founded in 1923 as a school for professional artists. Our classes have traditionally placed an emphasis on preparing students for a career in art. We are home to a distinguished faculty committed to providing our students with artistic skills and knowledge of contemporary tools and techniques. Today, the American Academy of Art continues to build on this strong reputation of educating successful professional artists.
Our curriculum is based on developing strong foundational skills and knowledge from which students can improve their abilities as they complete challenging projects of progressive difficulty. The Academy offers six Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in 3-D Modeling/Animation, Art Direction, Graphic Design, Illustration, Painting with specializations in Oil Painting or Watercolor Painting, and Photography.
Students start their training in foundation courses. In Fundamentals of Art and Life Drawing courses, students learn figure drawing, composition, rendering, linear perspective and creative problem solving. A variety of materials and techniques are introduced in these courses. Class projects give students experience in the full artistic process—from concept to sketch to thumbnail to finished work and prepare students for courses in their major.
The Academy places focus on studio time with faculty to enable students to practice and improve on the skills and concepts covered in the classroom. Students spend many hours each week with hands-on studio work as they learn to develop and convey their visual ideas. In addition, studio time gives students an opportunity to develop their creative vision, collaborate with their artistic peers and critique their own work and the work of their colleagues in a professional context.
We recognize our experienced faculty as one of our most vital parts for our student’s success. Our faculty is familiar with the stages of artistic development and able to provide guidance and encouragement to young artists. The faculty bring their professional experience and their passion for teaching with the goal of preparing our students.
Classroom collaboration often results in greater creativity and inspiration. The students benefit from instruction and critique from faculty members who are invested in the students’ artistic growth.
We include a core of humanities and sciences courses as an essential component of our curriculum. Through these courses, students gain broad knowledge and skills that will prepare them for their careers in the creative industries. Our humanities and sciences classes prepare students for the professional world with strong critical thinking, assertive problem solving and clear communication skills.
We are proud of the success of our graduates. Many of our alumni have established themselves in leadership positions in their fields. In the years that our students are with us, we make every effort to equip them for rewarding careers where they can have a positive impact on their culture and community.
History of the American Academy of Art
When Frank Young Sr. founded the American Academy of Art in 1923, he was an internationally recognized authority in advertising design. He believed the Academy should “provide the best instructors, attract the best students, and neglect nothing that will help them to build successful careers.” The same goals and traditions hold true today. His son, Frank Young Jr., managed the Academy from 1964 until 1970, when Clinton E. Frank, founder of Clinton E. Frank Inc. Advertising, took over as chief executive. Mr. Frank’s agency was widely known for its exceptional creative departments.
Richard H. Otto, our current president, assumed the role of president in 1992. He has maintained the Academy’s tradition of excellence while developing new programs and initiatives to ensure the continuing quality of education for future generations.