Art Academy History
The Art Academy of Cincinnati’s roots are in the McMicken School of Drawing and Design, founded in 1869 for the “promotion of taste and design in the industrial arts.” The McMicken School became one of the first established departments of the University of Cincinnati. In 1884, under the guidance of Joseph Longworth, a Cincinnati philanthropist was instrumental in the founding of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Art Academy of Cincinnati. The McMicken School separated from the University of Cincinnati and became part of the Cincinnati Museum Association. The change of association culminated in an official name change to the Art Academy of Cincinnati and a move to a new facility built adjacent to the Cincinnati Art Museum in Eden Park in November of 1887.
Between 1884 and 1998, the Art Academy operated as a museum school, providing quality education to students. The Art Academy became a charter member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) in 1948. In 1950, a four-year curriculum was introduced, and students earned Certificates. In 1979, the Art Academy established a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program approved by the Ohio Board of Regents and NASAD. In 1998, the Art Academy separated from the Cincinnati Museum Association, and the Art Academy became a fully independent college of art and design.
In 2005 the Art Academy moved from its Eden Park and Mount Adams locations to its current campus in historic Over-the-Rhine, a move that enabled the college to provide 24-hour access to over 100 student studio spaces, improved instructional studios, and other updated campus facilities. The Art Academy was awarded numerous awards for the development, design and construction of the new facility and achieved LEED Certification by the US Green Building Council in 2008.
The Art Academy of Cincinnati has a rich heritage of 144 years of great art and great art instruction. Since its earliest beginnings, the Art Academy has educated many accomplished artists and designers, has provided personalized attention to students, and has touched Cincinnatians’ lives through community education programming. Now located in the Over-the- Rhine, this private not-for-profit institution of higher education is well positioned to become an anchor for the creative artistic community in a vibrant and growing arts district.