Formerly known as the Academy of Art College, the Academy of Art University was founded in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens as a school for advertising art. The school is currently run by Stephens’ granddaughter Elisa, who took over from her father, Richard A. Stephens. The university has over 18,000 students and is the largest accredited private art and design university in the country. Graduates from Academy of Art University have gone on to jobs for such companies as EA, Nike, Zynga, Pixar, and Apple, to name a few. The for profit university offers several programs such as acting, fine art, fashion, game develpment, and graphic design. Although the school is located in San Francisco, California, they offer online courses as well.
The school has current industry professionals teaching the classes, and is up to date in industry trends and technologies. The school is accredited by the Council for Interior Design (CIDA) and the BFA Interior Architecture and Design, as well as the MFA Interior Archecture and Design are also accredited through CIDA. Both programs in addition, are accredited through the National Archetectural Accrediting Board.
The University held it’s 21st runway showcase at New York Fashion Week where students from all walks of life featured their work. There were ten BFA and MFA current graduates who introduced five womenswear collections and two menswear collections, with two collaborations. There is a Huffington post article called The Future of Fashion: Academy of Art University NYFW, that has gorgeous pictures of the clothing created by the students. The clothing is both beautiful and very unique.
And it is not just about the fashion at the school, but students have been involved is such projects as creating a user interface for NASA so astronauts can remotely control land-based robots, Jason Sperling (graduate of the school in 1993) created the Mac vs. PC ad campain, while Deanne Fitzmore won a Pulitzer Prize for her 2005 photo essay on an Iraqi child’s war-torn experiences. Alum Tom Luedecke was lead designer for Kobe Bryant’s line of Nike shoes, and Chris Milk has directed videos for U2, and Kanye West to name a couple.