The Academy of Art University is the biggest privately owned art college in the United States, measured by the number of students. The school is based in San Francisco and has close to 16,000 students enrolled in the school. The school was established in 1929. The school originally began as a school for advertising art, before branching out to other area of art, design and media instruction.
Today, the Academy of Art University trains students in the areas of communications, design and the arts. The school maintains an inclusive admission policy and accepts nearly all of its applicants. The school believes that there should be no barriers between students and an art education. The school has over 1,400 teachers on staff, including 283 full-time teachers.
The Academy of Art University has both regional and national accreditations. The president of the university is Elisa Stephens, who is the granddaughter of the founder of the school. The school has nearly 30 degree programs at all levels, including associate’s, undergraduate and master’s degree. The school also offers continuing education programs for those who simply just want to take a class. The school also offers courses online, but certain degree programs are only available on campus.
Recently, Academy of Art University graduates participated in a panel that discussed the issue of inclusive design for fashion. The main topics of discussion revolved around whether to design fashion for smaller and more select audiences, or to branch out to target many different groups outside of the traditional mainstream, including persons with disabilities. Much of the discussion centered on how to properly design fashion for the disabled.
The panelists were all alumni of the Academy of Art University who are disabled in some way. They were able to share personal insights and stories about the intersection between design and disability, and they were in an excellent vantage point to know the challenges faced when designing for disabled. Fashion design for the disabled is a growing market, because as many of 20 percent of Americans have some sort of disability.
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