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 Academy of Art University Privately Owned San Francisco School

The Academy of Art University is a privately owned American university in San Francisco, California. It was founded in the year 1884 and its campus occupies some of the most iconic locations in North Beach.

The Academy of Art University was Founded in 1884 as the Academy of Advertising Art by local business leaders Arthur Foster and Art Young, the school was first housed in a North Beach rowhouse. Only six students showed up for classes, but both made sure that the tiny school survived. As the years passed, it attracted more and more attention.

In 1887, The Academy of Art University was relocated to a drafty old warehouse on California Street. The Academy of Advertising Art thus became the first art school in San Francisco. Over the years, this building was modified by architects George Robert White, Alfred B. Mullett and Arthur Brown to form its current appearance—with its “grand arch” entrance on Grant Avenue and its classical facade with a decorative balustrade. The front of the academy faces Russian Hill; in back is Alamo Square Park.

In 1906, the school was renamed the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) and finally relocated in 1911 to its present location nearer downtown, making it the first major art school to move away from the more fashionable western side of Nob Hill. In 1917, Ernest Major moved from New York and began teaching at CSFA. Major had studied with Jean-Léon Gérôme in Paris (1875–1878) as well as with Rodolphe Julian (1882–83) at École des Beaux Arts.

Wright’s major works include the exterior ornamentation of the San Francisco Stock Exchange Building, Coit Tower and the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, “The Wave” and “Day” at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and sculptures at Stanford University. Because of his painting “The Tunnel” (1905–1907), he became known as “the Michelangelo of North Beach”. Wright died on June 29, 1942. The school would later honor him with a sculpture garden named after him on its new campus in Fort Mason.

In 1967, the name was changed to California College of the Arts (CCA).

READ: Academy Art U News

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