History

See where we’ve been and learn where we dream of going next.

Background

Founded in 1926, the Alberta College of Art and Design has become a significant contributor to visual culture in Canada and around the world. The college is known for its world-class facilities, award-winning faculty, and the talent and professionalism of its graduates.

Originally called the Alberta College of Art (ACA), the college was initially part of what is now the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). While the two campuses still border each other, ACA officially separated from SAIT in 1985 to become an autonomous, free-standing, publicly funded art and design college.

Bachelor degree program development

In 1995, the Alberta College of Art was granted degree accreditation by the Government of Alberta, enabling the college to award Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. The college changed its name to Alberta College of Art and Design the same year, to recognize the separateness and importance of design eduction. In 2000, ACAD launched its Bachelor of Design degree program.

NASAD designation

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) granted ACAD’s degree programs substantial equivalency status in 2009, making it the only art and design college in Canada with this important designation. The NASAD designation means ACAD’s degree programs, and their individual class components, are recognized as equivalencies in post-secondary institutions in North America.

The Association of Independent Colleges of Art + Design (AICAD)

AICAD – the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design – is a non-profit consortium of 42 leading art schools in the US and Canada. It was founded in 1991 by a group of 25 presidents who felt a need for the similarly structured art schools to come together so as to mutually develop their schools and programs. Our mission is to help strengthen the member colleges individually and collectively, and to inform the public about these colleges and the value of studying art and design.

AICAD colleges educate more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year, plus many thousands more in summer and continuing education programs. Our students are drawn from all 50 US states and more than 60 foreign countries. Over 70% of these students receive financial aid to support their education.

MFA program launch

In 2015, ACAD will accept its first graduate students to its new Master of Fine Arts in Craft Media program, furthering its mission to be a leading centre for education and research and a catalyst for creative inquiry and cultural development.