Women’s Art Museum Association of Cincinnati (WAMA) proposed converting the School of Design into a museum-school modeled after the South Kensington School of Art in London. The University of Cincinnati turned them down. Already the School of Design had been criticized as drawing classes for the social elite with less emphasis on the industrial arts that were originally intended.
Pitman pointed out that it was Joseph Longworth’s money, not McMicken’s, that really paid for the
school and he suggested the art school be separated from the university. UC feared to lose the revenue and students: in 1883, the number of art school students nearly tripled the number of academic students at the university. The UC Board of Trustees rejected the proposal and challenged the legality of Longworth withdrawing his funding from the school. After some time, The UC board finally agreed to transfer control and maintenance of the art school to the Cincinnati Museum Association.