About the AAC & History Timeline

LEarn ABout the Art academy of Cincinnati


About 240 undergraduate students and 5 graduate students.

1212 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

black and white photo of art students from the 1970's

Degree Programs

Degree Programs

Our Commitment

We may be small, but our commitment is big. It’s the same commitment our students make to themselves: to make the best art they can. The Art Academy of Cincinnati has kept that commitment since 1869, building a rich tradition of innovation and excellence in the visual arts.

The Art Academy is one of the smallest four-year art colleges in the country, and that’s one of our greatest strengths: It means our students really get to be themselves. They receive individualized attention from faculty, the freedom to develop their personal vision, and a unique opportunity to carve out their identity.

You won’t just get an education at AAC; you’ll begin to discover who you are, personally and artistically. At the end of your four years here, you won’t be the same person you were at the beginning.

History Narrative

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, 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 of Cincinnati operated as a museum school providing quality education to students. The Art Academy of Cincinnati 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 of Cincinnati established a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program approved by the Ohio Board of Regents and NASAD. In 1998, the Art Academy of Cincinnati separated from the Cincinnati Museum Association and became a fully independent college of art and design.

In 2005 the Art Academy of Cincinnati 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 of Cincinnati 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.

AAC 150 spans the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s history from 1869 – 2019. Be among the first to be dazzled and delighted by 150 pages of rare and revealing images that illustrate and illuminate our historic narrative in a 5-corner book.
The Art Academy of Cincinnati has a rich heritage of 150 years (1869-2019) of great art, great art instruction, and educated many accomplished artists and designers. Art Academy of Cincinnati continues to provide personalized attention to students and to touch Cincinnatians’ lives through community education programming. This private not-for-profit institution of higher education is an anchor for the creative artistic community in a vibrant and growing arts district.


AAC Picture Timeline

AAC Timeline 1828 - Present

art academy of cincinnati college of art and design logo
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Due To Inclement Weather

Classes are cancelled

January 25th, 2023

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