Support AAC

Your donations help The Art Academy of Cincinnati attract and retain outstanding students who otherwise might be unable to afford to attend. AAC offers students a unique educational experience, one that is academically rigorous and deeply personal. Donations to AAC also help draw and support exceptional faculty members who are pushing the bounds of their disciplines through scholarship.

By giving to the Art Academy of Cincinnati, you help ensure that an enriching environment will be sustainable for the next generation of artists and designers.

Please visit AAC’s ways to give section for information on bequests, donations of real estate, and other planned giving options.

Give Now

Make a gift today by clicking the Paypal logo below:

Ways to Give

Personal Checks and Money Orders:
Please make any checks payable to:
The Art Academy of Cincinnati
Attn: Development Department
1212 Jackson Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Securities, stocks and bonds

A substantial tax advantage may be available to you if you give securities that have appreciated significantly in value, especially when the tax deduction for the gift at fair market value and the probable avoidance of capital gains taxes are taken into account. To make a gift of securities to the AAC, contact the director of institutional advancement at 513-562-8745,

It is important to have complete donor information, including name, address and phone number, as well as the name and type of securities to be gifted, the number of shares, and the date you intend to make the gift.

Real estate

All gifts of real estate require prior approval by the university. Gifts of real estate, including residential, commercial and undeveloped real estate, offer a wide variety of tax benefits. You can potentially deduct the fair market value of your gift, avoid all capital gains taxes and remove that asset from your taxable estate. Your property opens the door to a unique giving opportunity. Contact the development office for more information at


Many individuals give sculptures, paintings, book collections, animation collections, furniture collections and more to the AAC. For more information, contact the development office at 513-562-8745 or

Planned gifts

Providing for the future well being of family, while simultaneously supporting the Art Academy of Cincinnati, can be accomplished by a variety of gifts known as planned gifts. Planned gifts, such as bequests, life insurance policies and retirement plan assets, among others, allow for maximizing the current and future benefit to both family and the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Talk with your attorney or financial planner. Or contact the Development Office at the Art Academy of Cincinnati if you would like to begin discussing a planned gift. 513-562-8745.

Matching gifts

An easy way to double or even triple your donation to the Art Academy of Cincinnati is to find out if your company has a matching gift program. Such programs typically match all or a percentage of employee contributions to charitable organizations, making the employer a partner in employees' personal philanthropy. Ask your employer to recognize Art Academy of Cincinnati in their philanthropic portfolio.


The Art Academy of Cincinnati welcomes your gift as a pledge, and with a pledge you may complete your gift by making regular payments over time, allowing you to give more generously than you originally may have considered. Each payment on your pledge is eligible for an income-tax charitable deduction. You can arrange for re-occuring monthly gifts through PayPal for secure, private transactions.

Thank you!

Annual Appeal

Art Academy of Cincinnati is celebrating 10 years in Over-the-Rhine. When we moved from Mt. Adams to OTR, we were called catalyst, pioneer, bold, forward-thinking and just plain crazy. We were ahead of our time. The decision to move was steeped in our history of making decisions to best serve our students and the institution of visual arts education. Thank you for believing in the school and the neighborhood. Your visionary and financial support made all the difference and will always be appreciated.

Today I am asking for your annual gift to the Art Academy. With your help, we can:

  • Increase scholarship support for a broad spectrum of students
  • Provide resources and support for our prestigious faculty of working artists
  • Strengthen our capacity to help students find their artistic voice.

Art Academy of Cincinnati needs, appreciates and deserves your support. Your contribution will help AAC create and sustain artists, designers and thought leaders of tomorrow.

Over-the-Rhine is such an amazing community to watch evolve and the Art Academy is the heart of it.

- Alumna Catherine Viox, Class of 2014, CityBeat

The environment cultivates radical creativity that runs rampant on a daily basis.

- Nathan Duncan, Class of 2016

My drawing skills honed at the Art Academy were initially what got my foot in the door at design firms and then my ability to plan and think through a design process were the skills that enabled me to advance in my design career.

- Alumnus Michael Beeghly, Class of 1979, Luxottica

It’s our ten-year anniversary, but you are AAC’s reason for celebration!


John M Sullivan

P.S. AAC is the right school at the right place at the right time. We could not be what we are and where we are without you. Thank you for your financial investment in the visual arts and emerging artists and designers.

Support Scholarships

At AAC, we foster talent, ignite potential and inspire possibilities. Every student is given the freedom to explore his or her own individual artistic expression and to cultivate their own voice and their own vision. The Art Academy all strives to give every student a scholarship. It is a lofty and important goal.

AAC scholarships are merit-based awards and range from $2,500 to $17,000 per academic year. Your scholarship award will be based on a combination of portfolio and academic performance.

The Development Office would be delighted to help you to set up a scholarship that fits your needs and wishes. Please contact us at 513.562.8745 or

Future Plans

Make a difference

Students come first at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Their personal and professional development is our first priority.

We hope you believe that, like teaching, giving to the Art Academy supports a vitally important reciprocal process that channels creative energy, together with design and artistic talent, back into our community.

Today, I am asking you to contribute to the Art Academy of Cincinnati, to help sustain our continuing mission of educating and shaping the next generations of innovative visual artists and designers.

John Sullivan

Donor Circles

Paul Chidlaw
$45 - $99
Herbert P. Barnett
$100 - $499
Thom Shaw
$500 - $999
John Ruthven
$1000 - $4,900
Edie & Charley Harper
$5000 - $9,999
Maria Longworth
Nichols Storer
$10,000 & Above

Paul Chidlaw (1900-1989)

Paul Childlaw was born in Cleves, Ohio, in 1900 to Edward H. and Carolyn Guise Chidlaw.

From 1919 to 1923, he studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. After finishing his studies, he became a designer for commercial films in Cincinnati, a job he held until 1927 when he left the country to study at L’École des Beaux-Arts de Fontainebleau in France, founded in 1923. From 1928 to 1932 he studied with the artists Jean Despujols and André Lhote.

Childlaw painted in oil, watercolor, acrylic, etchings, pastel, charcoal, and pencil He and Artist Julian Stanczak became life-long friends while teaching together at the AAC together in the late 1960s. At his death, Chidlaw's studio contained a number of artworks he had acquired from Stanczak.

A gallery at the Art Academy of Cincinnati is named for him honoring his place as one of the finest and earliest abstract expressionists of the 20th century in the Cincinnati area. His artwork is displayed in the Cincinnati Art Museum and at Xavier University.

Chidlaw was afflicted with macular degeneration later in life, but continued to create black and white drawings daily relying on his peripheral vision. He died in 1989 at the age of 89.

Herbert P. Barnett (1910-1972)

Herbert P. Barnett was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1910. An artistic prodigy, he had his first international solo shows at age 17. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and in Europe from 1929 to 1932. He headed the Wooster (Massachusetts) Museum of Art from 1940 to 1951. In addition, he taught painting at the University of Vermont and the Norfolk Art School at Yale University.

Barnett’s oil paintings depict the majestic landscapes of Cape Ann, country still lifes, and portraits of mid-20th-century figures. Barnett references the work of Cézanne and early cubists, with contrasting directional planes of color and commonplace subject matter. His work is characterized by visible evidence of its own process, with initial sketches discernible in dark paint.

In 1951 Barnett became dean of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, a position he held until his death in 1972 at age 61.

Thom Shaw (1947-2010)

Thom Shaw created stark black-and-white woodcuts that unflinchingly portrayed the lives of people struggling with poverty, particularly black families in crisis. His art was shaped by the world he lived in as well as his personal struggles with chronic illnesses. Born in Cincinnati in 1947, he was the eldest of 10 children. Shaw graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, earning his BFA in 1970.

He worked at Cincinnati Bell as a graphic designer from 1965 to 1992, all the while pursuing a parallel career as a professional artist. He eventually devoted his energies entirely to his art. In 2003, AAC presented Homecoming, a solo exhibition of his beautiful and disturbing large-scale black-and-white relief prints, very suggestive of violence. His images told stories set in the poorest ghettos, where gangs roamed, veins bulged, brows furrowed and everyone was always yelling. In 2005, Shaw was the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art. During his career his works were exhibited at sites as diverse and far-flung as the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Jenewein Gallery in the Czech Republic.

In 2007 Shaw was AAC’s commencement speaker and recognized with an honorary doctorate. By then he had struggled with illness for more than a decade. His art continued to reflect fractured social images (Poverty’s Paradise) and his own declining health (The Big Hurt). His work was consistently confrontational, telling desperate stories portraying urban life in desperation and upheaval. Nevertheless, he tempered his righteous anger with glimmers of hope that civilization might evolve. He passed away on July 6, 2010, due to complications from diabetes.

John Ruthven (1927-present)

John Ruthven was born in Cincinnati, in 1927. His fascination with wildlife began when he was a young boy. Growing up in Walnut Hills, he visited the Ohio River and thought about the birds painted by the great American wildlife artist John J. Audubon. After serving in the U.S. Navy in World War II, Ruthven returned to Cincinnati to study at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. In 1946 he opened a commercial studio with the goal of a career in wildlife art. In 1960 he designed the Redhead Ducks stamp for the U.S. Post Office.

Ruthven, often referred to as the 20th century Audubon, has been included in many important wildlife art exhibits including: The Artists of America exhibit in Denver, Colorado, and The Society of Animal Artists traveling exhibit. A major retrospective of his work, John A. Ruthven "In the Audubon Tradition", was held at Cincinnati Museum Center in 1994.

In 2015 Ruthven was honored with the Eloise Payne Luquer Medal from the Garden Club of America for his achievement in botany. In addition, Ruthven received the prestigious National Medal of Arts in 2004 from President George W. Bush. Ruthven lives and continues to paint on a farm in Georgetown, Ohio.

Edie (1922-2010) & Charley Harper (1922-2007)

Charley Harper was born in on August 4, 1922, in Frenchton, West Virginia. He was brought up on his family’s farm and was greatly influenced by these surroundings throughout his life. He briefly attended college at West Virginia Wesleyan College before moving to Cincinnati to follow his dream of becoming an artist. Edith Riley McKee was an only child born in 1922 in Kansas City. In the 1930’s her family moved to Cincinnati when Edie’s father landed a position with Procter & Gamble. They lived in an apartment on Springfield Pike while Edie attended Wyoming High School and in 1940 she entered the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Edie and Charley Harper met at AAC where they shared classes and admiration of painters such as Miro and Klee. When Charley was drafted for service in World War II, Edie interrupted her classes to support the war effort as a photographer. She photographed hydro dams and cement test samples and processed the film in the lab for the Corps of Engineers. Later, she would receive critical acclaim for the black and white photographs she took with her 8 x 10 camera employing her own imaginative subject matter. After the war, Edie and Charley resumed their studies at the Academy: they graduated and married in 1947. Following graduation, they embarked on a six-month camping honeymoon throughout America that was financed in part by Charley's Wilder Traveling Scholarship. He was the first winner of the grant, which continues to be awarded to graduating seniors at the AAC today. Upon his return, as a condition of the award, Charley was required to give to the AAC one of the paintings he had created during his travels. His small painting of a clapboard house among a grove of sycamore trees still hangs in the school.

Charley began to teach at the Art Academy and developed his famous style; nature subjects suited his talents. Meanwhile, Edie continued to paint, supplemented by a rich output of jewelry, contemporary photography, enameling, sculpture, and silkscreen prints.

Over the years, Charley’s illustrations appeared in Ford Times, a travel magazine published by the Ford Motor Company; Childcraft and World Book Encyclopedia. He has created works for the National Park Service, the Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati Nature Center, and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania to name a few. Charley Harper died in 2007 at the age of 84. Edie died in died in 2010 at the age of 87

Maria Longworth Nichols Storer (1849-1932)

Maria Longworth was born in Cincinnati, on May 20, 1849. Granddaughter to Nichols Longworth, patriarch of the one of the region’s wealthiest families. Fascinated by the fine arts, she began to paint and play piano at a young age. In 1868 she married George Ward Nichols, a journalist who created the legend of Wild Bill Hickok. She graduated from the Cincinnati School of Design, a forerunner of the Cincinnati Art Academy and went on to become very skilled in ceramics. Her interest in pottery led to the creation of The Rookwood Pottery Company in 1880. She was the first woman to start a pottery business in Cincinnati. She hired both men and women including artists and a chemist and soon Rookwood pottery was a highly sought commodity, treasured for its beauty as well as its usefulness. In 1882 she won a gold medal at the Tenth Cincinnati Industrial Exposition.

After Nichols’ death in 1885, Maria married Bellamy Storer, a Cincinnati-born attorney who later became a congressman and foreign minister to Belgium (1896), Spain (1899), and Austria-Hungary (1902). During these years, she continued working with ceramics and won a gold medal at the Universelle Exposition in Paris in 1901.

After leaving Rookwood Pottery in 1890 to follow Storer’s political career, she spent the remainder of her life involved in the arts, writing and performing works of public charity. She died in Paris in 1932 at the age of 83.