Columbus College of Art and Design

Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) is a private college of art and design located in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879 as the Columbus Art School, CCAD is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States. Located in downtown Columbus, CCAD's campus consists of 14 buildings (including 2 residence halls) on 9 acres (36,000 m2) and is adjacent to the Columbus Museum of Art. Approximately 1,050 full-time students are enrolled.

Columbus College of Art and Design
MottoThink. Do. Thrive.
PresidentDr. Melanie Corn
Academic staff
180 full-time


CCAD awards twelve undergraduate majors and a project-based, multidisciplinary Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts

Community classes

The college offers a wide variety of community classes for all ages, including children and youth grades 1-12 and art educators.


CCAD is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), the Higher Learning Commission, Member of the North Central Association, and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[1] 82

US News & World Report's 2017 rankings place CCAD's MFA program (tied for) 82nd among Graduate School in the Fine Arts category.[2]


Early history 1879-1930

CCAD was founded in 1879 as the Columbus Art School. The idea for the school started in 1878, when a group of women formed the Columbus Art Association. Their main concern became creating an art school in Columbus. The first day of classes was January 6, 1879, on the top floor of the Sessions Building at Long and High. Use of that floor had been donated by Francis Sessions, an art-minded banker and entrepreneur and one of the first trustees of the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. There were only three students and one teacher at the time. By the end of the school year, there were 118 students. Original classes included drawing, watercolor, art needlework, oil painting, clay modeling, china painting, and mechanical drawing. Soon after opening, the school added classes like sculpture and figure drawing with clothed models, as nude models were considered too risqué in Columbus at the time. In 1885, the school moved to the Tuller Building at Gay and Fourth St due to the poor ventilation and vapors rising from the Troy Stream Laundry on the floors below the school in the Sessions Block.

In his will, Francis Sessions left his house to serve as a space for the gallery and also left a large sum of money to build a better space for the gallery and for the continuation of the Columbus Art School. The school moved two more times before 1914, when it moved into the Monypeny Mansion next to the Sessions House. In 1923, the school, which had been run by the Columbus Art Association but funded by the gallery, merged into one board. Through this merger, the Columbus Art Association became extinct, and the trustees of the gallery created a school committee board. Among the faculty at this time was painter Alice Schille.

In 1929, Ralph Beaton, a trustee of the gallery, donated $30,000 to build the first new building for the Columbus Art School. The Sessions House and Monypeny Mansion were torn down to make way for Beaton Hall and a new Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts building. Beaton Hall was completed and held its first classes in 1930. At this time, first-year required courses were drawing, watercolor painting, color theory and practice, modeling, anatomy, composition, perspective drawing, design, lettering, and illustrative advertising. By 1944-45, the day school was discontinued because of World War II, but the evening school had been expanded.

President Joseph Canzani, 1948-1995

Joseph Canzani[3] started as a teacher at the school in 1948. By 1950, there were only 13 day school students, and Canzani was the only faculty member. Canzani was asked by the museum director to become Dean. As Dean, Canzani put together introductory courses in drawing, color theory and design principles. Canzani also taught some of the foundation classes.

In 1959, Canzani changed the name from the Columbus Art School to the Columbus College of Art & Design. By the 1960s, the school had grown to 850 full-time students. The college bought the houses surrounding the school, starting with six houses on Hutton Place. In 1962, students picketed in front of the Columbus Museum of Art for the college to become a degree granting institution. At the time, the school only gave out a professional certificate of completion. The students ended their 24-hour picketing when the board announced that they would seek accreditation. In 1969, CCAD received authorization by the Ohio Board of Regents to grant the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1975, Kinney Hall (then called V-Hall) was completed. It was the second building to be built specifically for the school, at a cost of $2.5 million. This was followed by the renovation and conversion of a former Cadillac plant into Battelle Hall in 1978.

In 1976, CCAD was granted accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art. In June 1979, Canzani became the first President of CCAD. In 1981, after 58 years of being run by the Columbus Museum of Art, CCAD separated from the CMA. Canzani returned from a meeting in Kansas City to learn that the museum's board was on the verge of merging CCAD with Franklin University. The trustees thought that the merger would put CCAD on better financial ground, but Canzani thought it would ruin the school. Canzani rallied faculty members and students to protest the board's actions. The board abandoned its plans to merge. Canzani requested for CCAD to become independent of the CMA and by 1982, the separation was complete.

The Schottenstein Residence Hall was completed in 1985 as the first campus dorm. CCAD bought many of the houses on Cleveland Avenue between Long and Gay, converting them into classrooms and offices. In 1995, Canzani retired after 47 years. The Joseph V. Canzani Center, the last new building to be built during his presidency, was completed in 1991. The Canzani Center holds the CCAD Packard Library, an auditorium, and a 15,000-square-foot gallery.

President Dennison Griffith, 1998–2014

In 1998, Dennison (Denny) W. Griffith was chosen as the college's president.

By 2001, the school had a 17-building, 9-acre campus. On June 23, 2001, the 100-foot-high, 101-foot-wide, 24,000-pound ART sign was erected, spanning Gay Street on campus. The sculpture was designed by Doris Schlayn of Artglo Company and donated to the school.

The Loann Crane Center for Design was built in 2005, replacing the old student center, and its adjacent quad replaced a parking lot.

In 2006, CCAD bought the Byers Building, a 1920s auto dealership at the corner of Broad Street and Cleveland Avenue, for $4.5 million. The building was converted into offices, classrooms, and studios and renamed the Design Studios on Broad (DSB). DSB also houses the MFA Program. The first MFA class graduated in 2012.

In 2009, the Design Square Apartments were completed. This new building replaced the older houses on Cleveland Avenue that had been previously repurposed for use by CCAD. Design Square Apartments offers housing to 200 graduate students, upperclassmen, and some freshmen.

In 2013, Griffith announced that he would be retiring on June 30, 2014. Under his tenure, the college doubled the size of its campus. The school also debuted a new curricular model that splits the majors into two schools, the School of Design Arts and the School for Studio Arts. It's finalized form launched in the Fall of 2014. Griffith died in January 2016.[4]

President Tom White, 2014–2015

The board of trustees named the Industrial designer and branding expert Tom White as Griffith's successor. He served as president between June 24, 2014 through March 3, 2015.

President Dr. Melanie Corn, 2016–present

In December 2015,[5] CCAD's board of trustees named Dr. Melanie Corn as the school's new president.[6] Before joining CCAD, Dr. Corn served as the provost for the California College of Arts (CCA), where she worked to strengthen faculty development and governance, and championed diversity efforts at the college. She is the first woman to serve as president in the university's 136-year history, and is one of only six women serving as president among the AICAD member institutions.

Reporting directly to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Corn is charged with setting the vision and tone for the college, ensuring that the education programs are strategic and relevant, that long-term institutional viability and sustainability are safeguarded and that the dynamic connectivity between the college and its constituencies—alumni, business, civic and community—continues to grow.

Campus life

CCAD has a diverse student body that comes from a variety of ethnic, national, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Its 17-acre urban campus is located in the heart of downtown Columbus, and is in walking distance to the Columbus Museum of Art. Partly because of CCAD's renowned fashion design program, Columbus is considered as the third most fashionable city in the United States.[7]

Student organizations

Botticelli Magazine

Botticelli Magazine is a literary and art journal produced and edited by students at Columbus College of Art and Design. It features fiction, poetry, creative non fiction, reviews, art, photography, as well as flash pieces and links to online work as long as the rights are available to the contributor. The magazine's review process involves an editorial staff of writers and artists consisting of students and faculty.


Notable alumni

Alumni Award for Excellence

Each year, CCAD alumni nominate classmates for the Alumni Award for Excellence.[8] Finalists are chosen for the excellence of their work, their demonstration of CCAD's ideals, and for having used their artistic excellence to create a significant impact on the everyday life of people and communities as well as a distinctive impact in their specific field. Between 1987 and 1994, honorees received the CCAD Alumni Award. Beginning in 1999, honorees received the Joseph V. Canzani Alumni Award for Excellence. The first alumnus to receive this award (then called "Award for the Outstanding Alumnus") was Jerry W. McDaniel in 1982.


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