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Columbus College of Art and Design
Stylized letters c c a d nested inside one another in pantone red 186
MottoThink. Do. Thrive.
TypePrivate art school
PresidentDr. Melanie Corn
Academic staff
180 full-time
United States
ColorsRed and White
MascotOwl [1]

Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) is a private art school in Columbus, Ohio. It was founded in 1879 as the Columbus Art School and 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 1,090 full-time students are enrolled.


Early history: 1879–1930

First graduating class at CCAD

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 Steam Laundry on the floors below the school in the Sessions Block.

Monypeny Mansion

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.

The Sessions Block
Beaton Hall, taken from the Columbus Museum of Art (1960s)

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.

Presidency of Joseph Canzani: 1948–1995

Joseph Canzani, from the 1960 yearbook

Joseph Canzani[2] 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.

Hutton Place, May 1975

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.

Schottenstein Residence Hall

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.

Joseph V. Canzani Center, 1992

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.

Presidency of 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. Its finalized form launched in the Fall of 2014. Griffith died in January 2016.[3]

Presidency of 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.

Presidency of Dr. Melanie Corn: 2016–present

In December 2015,[4] CCAD's board of trustees named Dr. Melanie Corn as the school's new president.[5] She is the first woman to serve as president in the university's 140-year history, and is one of only six women serving as president among the AICAD member institutions.


CCAD awards twelve undergraduate majors, project-based, multidisciplinary Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts, and Master of Design in Innovation Design Strategies.

Community classes

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


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


Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[6]82

U.S. News & World Report's 2017 rankings place CCAD's MFA program (tied for) 82nd among Graduate School in the Fine Arts category.[7]

Student 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, in 2012 Columbus was ranked by Bloomberg as the third most fashionable city in the United States.[8]


Chroma:Best of CCAD

CCAD's annual campus-wide juried show and celebration. It features exemplary pieces from each major, as well as CORE programs and first-year grad students.

CCAD Art Fairs

Alumni and students sell work at these semi-annual events that reach sales up to $100k every year.

CCAD Fashion Show

Senior Fashion Design students show their collections on the runway at one of the biggest annual events.

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

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  1. ^ "Meet CCAD's new mascot".
  2. ^ "Joseph Canzani". Archived from the original on 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  3. ^ "Former CCAD president Denny Griffith dies at 63". Archived from the original on 2016-01-20. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  4. ^ "New President Announcement". Archived from the original on 2016-03-02. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  5. ^ Knox, Tom (2015-12-03). "Columbus College of Art & Design picks new president". Columbus Business First. Archived from the original on 2016-11-14. Retrieved 2022-12-24.
  6. ^ "2023-2024 Best National Universities". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  7. ^ "Best Graduate Fine Arts Programs". U.S. News & World Report. 2016. Archived from the original on March 13, 2022. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  8. ^ Florida, Richard; Johnson, Sara (7 September 2012). "The World's Leading Cities for Fashion". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2021-08-21. Retrieved 2022-03-13.

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