About Academy of Art University

Founded in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens, Academy of Art University today educates over 18,000 young artists. The first class consisted of 45 students who met in a rented loft on San Francisco’s Kearny Street. In 1951, Stephen’s son took over the leadership of the school and helped it to grow to 500 students. 

Richard A. Stephens had a passion for classic cars and created a fascinating classic car collection at the school that is, today, one of the largest in the United States. During his tenure, the university also started to add undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs and it became accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).


In 1992, following in the family tradition, Elisa Stephens became the President of Academy of Art University. Dr. Stephens has expanded the degree programs and the accreditations. Today, they are accredited by CIDA, CTC, NAAB, NASAD, & WSCUC and they offer courses of study in: acting, advertising, animation & visual effects, architecture, art education, art history, fashion, fine art, game development, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, interior architecture & design, jewelry & metal arts, landscape architecture, motion pictures & television, and multimedia communications & music for visual media.

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Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA


1.800.544.ARTS (1-800-544-2787)

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