Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) is a private college of art and design located in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Originally founded in 1879 as the Columbus Art School, CCAD is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States. Located in downtown Columbus, CCAD's campus consists of 14 buildings (including 2 residence halls) on 9 acres (36,000 m2) and is adjacent to the Columbus Museum of Art. Approximately 1,350 full-time students are enrolled.


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Graduate (MFA)

CCAD awards a project-based, multidisciplinary Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts: New Projects.

Undergraduate (BFA)

CCAD offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in:

  • Advertising & Graphic Design
  • Animation
  • Cinematic Arts
  • Fashion Design
  • Fine Arts (including painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, and glassblowing)
  • Illustration
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design
  • Photography

Undergraduate minors are available in all the undergraduate major departments listed above, plus:

  • Art History
  • Art Therapy
  • Business
  • Copywriting
  • Creative Writing
  • Design History
  • Literature

Community Classes

The college offers a wide variety of community classes for all ages, including children and youth grades 1-12 and art educators.


CCAD is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), the Higher Learning Commission, Member of the North Central Association, and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Interior Design program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDAâ€"formerly FIDER).


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CCAD's MFA program is ranked 82nd in the top Graduate School Fine Arts category.


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CCAD's compact urban campus is in the heart of downtown Columbus. Of its 14 buildings, four were built or extensively renovated since 2005.

The Columbus Museum of Art is nearby, as are the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Ohio Statehouse.


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Early History 1879-1930

CCAD was founded in 1879 as the Columbus Art School. The idea for the school started in 1878, when a group of women formed the Columbus Art Association. Their main concern became creating an art school in Columbus. The first day of classes was January 6, 1879, on the top floor of the Sessions Building at Long and High. Use of that floor had been donated by Francis Sessions, an art-minded banker and entrepreneur and one of the first trustees of the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. There were only 3 students and 1 teacher at the time. By the end of the school year, there were 118 students. Original classes included drawing, watercolor, art needlework, oil painting, clay modeling, china painting, and mechanical drawing. Soon after opening, the school added classes like sculpture and figure drawing with clothed models, as nude models were considered too risqué in Columbus at the time. In 1885, the school moved to the Tuller Building at Gay and Fourth St due to the poor ventilation and vapors rising from the Troy Stream Laundry on the floors below the school in the Sessions Block.

In his will, Francis Sessions left his house to serve as a space for the gallery and also left a large sum of money to build a better space for the gallery and for the continuation of the Columbus Art School. The school moved two more times before 1914, when it moved into the Monypeny Mansion next to the Sessions House. In 1923, the school, which had been run by the Columbus Art Association but funded by the gallery, merged into one board. Through this merger, the Columbus Art Association became extinct, and the trustees of the gallery created a school committee board. Among the faculty at this time was painter Alice Schille.

In 1929, Ralph Beaton, a trustee of the gallery, donated $30,000 to build the first new building for the Columbus Art School. The Sessions House and Monypeny Mansion were torn down to make way for Beaton Hall and a new Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts building. Beaton Hall was completed and held its first classes in 1930. At this time, first-year required courses were drawing, watercolor painting, color theory and practice, modeling, anatomy, composition, perspective drawing, design, lettering, and illustrative advertising. By 1944-45, the day school was discontinued because of World War II, but the evening school had been expanded.

President Joseph Canzani, 1948-1995

Joseph Canzani started as a teacher at the school in 1948. By 1950, there were only 13 day school students, and Canzani was the only faculty member. Canzani was asked by the museum director to become Dean. As Dean, Canzani put together introductory courses in drawing, color theory and design principles. Canzani also taught some of the foundation classes.

In 1959, Canzani changed the name from the Columbus Art School to the Columbus College of Art & Design. By the 1960s, the school had grown to 850 full-time students. The college bought the houses surrounding the school, starting with six houses on Hutton Place. In 1962, students picketed in front of the Columbus Museum of Art for the college to become a degree granting institution. At the time, the school only gave out a professional certificate of completion. The students ended their 24-hour picketing when the board announced that they would seek accreditation. In 1969, CCAD received authorization by the Ohio Board of Regents to grant the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1975, Kinney Hall (then called V-Hall) was completed. It was the second building to be built specifically for the school, at a cost of $2.5 million. This was followed by the renovation and conversion of a former Cadillac plant into Battelle Hall in 1978.

In 1976, CCAD was granted accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art. In June 1979, Canzani became the first President of CCAD. In 1981, after 58 years of being run by the Columbus Museum of Art, CCAD separated from the CMA. Canzani returned from a meeting in Kansas City to learn that the museum’s board was on the verge of merging CCAD with Franklin University. The trustees thought that the merger would put CCAD on better financial ground, but Canzani thought it would ruin the school. Canzani rallied faculty members and students to protest the board’s actions. The board abandoned its plans to merge. Canzani requested for CCAD to become independent of the CMA and by 1982, the separation was complete.

The Schottenstein Residence Hall was completed in 1985 as the first campus dorm. CCAD bought many of the houses on Cleveland Avenue between Long and Gay, converting them into classrooms and offices. In 1995, Canzani retired after 47 years. The Joseph V. Canzani Center, the last new building to be built during his presidency, was completed in 1991. The Canzani Center holds the CCAD Packard Library, an auditorium, and a 15,000-square-foot gallery.

President Dennison Griffith, 1998-2014

In 1998, Dennison (Denny) W. Griffith was chosen as the college's president.

By 2001, the school had a 17-building, 9-acre campus. On June 23, 2001, the 100-foot-high, 101-foot-wide, 24,000-pound ART sign was erected, spanning Gay Street on campus. The sculpture was designed by Doris Schlayn of Artglo Company and donated to the school.

The Loann Crane Center For Design was built in 2005, replacing the old student center, and its adjacent quad replaced a parking lot.

In 2006, CCAD bought the Byers Building, a 1920s auto dealership at the corner of Broad Street and Cleveland Avenue, for $4.5 million. The building was converted into offices, classrooms, and studios and renamed the Design Studios on Broad (DSB). DSB also houses the MFA Program. The first MFA class graduated in 2012.

In 2009, the Design Square Apartments were completed. This new building replaced the older houses on Cleveland Avenue that had been previously repurposed for use by CCAD. Design Square Apartments offers housing to 200 graduate students, upperclassmen, and some freshmen.

In 2013, Griffith announced that he would be retiring on June 30, 2014. Under his tenure, the college doubled the size of its campus. The school also debuted a new curricular model that splits the majors into two schools, the School of Design Arts and the School for Studio Arts. Its finalized form will launch in Fall 2014.

Notable Alumni

  • Aminah Robinson, multimedia artist and MacArthur Fellow
  • Joaquin Baldwin, animator with more than 120 international awards for his shorts Sebastian's Voodoo and Papiroflexia
  • Rick Bryant, art director. Creative on "What happens here, stays here" for Las Vegas tourism.
  • Michael Carney, Grammy Award-winning graphic artist
  • Christopher Cole, Senior VP/Creative Director at Leo Burnett Chicago
  • Roy Doty, cartoonist best known for his "Silent Workshop" series and Winner of the National Cartoonist Society's Reuben Illustrator of the Year Award for 2006
  • Inka Essenhigh, painter
  • Ming Fay, sculptor
  • AG Ford, illustrator of NYTimes bestsellers Barack and Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Nathan Greno, story artist and director (Tangled) at Disney
  • Bruno Grizzo, fashion designer and illustrator who won 2 Gen Art fashion awards
  • Robert McCall, conceptual illustrator for NASA and films 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Black Hole, Tora! Tora! Tora!, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • Dean Mitchell, painter
  • John Jude Palencar, fantasy, science fiction, and horror artist
  • Dan Scanlon, director of Monsters University
  • Alice Schille, painter, watercolorist
  • Eric W. Schwartz, cartoonist (Sabrina Online)
  • Mari Sheibley, Foursquare, lead graphic designer
  • Jeff Stahler, nationally syndicated political cartoonist
  • Jeff Monter, Creative Director, Principal at Innis Maggiore Agency
  • Steven Stone, founder of Heat advertising agency in San Francisco
  • John Urbano, art director, photographer, and video director; won 2 VMAs for One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" video
  • Andreas Wettstein, musician, co-founder Mammoth Film Festival

Notes and references

  • Ohio History Central

External links

  • Columbus College of Art and Design

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