AAC History Timeline

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.

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.
AAC 150 Book Image

1828 - The First Incarnation of the Cincinnati Academy of Fine Arts

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1838 - The Academy of Fine Arts Was Resurrected

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1854 - How Women Started the First Movement

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1870 - Cincinnati Hosted Several Industrial Expositions

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1871 - The School of Design and the History of its Locations

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1873 - A Turning Point in the History of the School of Design

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1879 - Cincinnati Involved with the Beginning of the Arts and Crafts Movement

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1884 - A Fight to Be Its Own School

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1900 - The Big Names of the School

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1930 - Post-War Boom

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1940 - How the Small Classroom Size Came About

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1950 - Fresh Blood and Familiar Faces

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1977 - Art Academy Creates Its Own Degree Program

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1985 - Community Education

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1987 - Minumental

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1995 - The Master of Arts in Art Education

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1998 - Growing as a School

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2016 - QueerSpace

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2019 - The Beaux Arts Ball

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2019 - Looking Forward

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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.

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.

1869 – 2019