Artists teaching artists. Instructors instructing the truth. That’s honesty and integrity, and Academy of Art University stands for these principles.
– Richard A. Stephens / Chairman Emeritus
Richard S. Stephens
The Academy of Art College was established in San Francisco in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens, a fine art painter and Creative Director for Sunset Magazine. Assisted by his wife, Mrs. Clara Stephens, he opened the new school in a rented loft at 215 Kearny St. to teach advertising art. Within a few years, a distinguished faculty of practicing art and design professionals helped formulate the school’s philosophy—hire established professionals to teach future professionals. In 1933 the curriculum was expanded to include fashion illustration, and in 1936 a fine art department was added.
Dr. Richard A. Stephens
Richard and Clara’s son, Dr. Richard A. Stephens, moved into the role of President in 1951, and his guidance led to the expansion from 50 students to more than 5,000, with significant expansion of department majors. In 1966 the school was incorporated and granted authority to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education of the State of California. The graduate program was inaugurated in 1977 and approved by 1983.