The Academy of Arts University of San Francisco, California has truly grown since the founding year of 1929. In the beginning, the university was founded by Richard S. Stephens in a rented loft with only 45 students. Throughout his son’s tenure, the school population grew to more than 5,000. In 1977, the university added in its first graduate degree program offering a Master of Fine Arts degree. Now Erica Stephens, the original founder’s granddaughter, is the appointed president. She has added courses, degree programs and expanded the student populace to more than 14,000.
With such a diverse campus, the Academy of Arts University strives to make San Francisco one of the greatest cities in the world. For admissions, the university only asks that the student wishes to become the best artist they can be. The university professors are career leaders in their fields and hold the highest ethical standards. Looking toward the future, the university has a strategic plan to ensure the finest for the students, the heart of the university.
The Academy of Arts University generates top-notch alumni, many who have had a hand in award-winning and award-nominated films with big-name companies. For the 2018 Oscars, alumni had part in 16 nominated films such as “Beauty and the Beast”, “Dunkirk” and “The Boss Baby”. Many top companies look to hire graduates such as Marvel Studios, Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios to name a few.
Disney/ Pixar’s hit movie “Coco” just won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and alumni Daniel Arriaga contributed, as senior director at Pixar. Daniel was able to share his Mexican culture and heritage while bringing to life the true meaning of the holiday Dia de los Muertos. Elegant colorful visuals and music brought authenticity to the skeletons, floral and spirit motifs of the movie and allowed creators to pay respect and celebrate their ancestors. Daniel’s advice to other university students is to work hard on creating a portfolio of work and skills while learning and many great paths could open.