The Academy of Art university is on the cutting edge of its industry. Open since 1929, the academy regularly produces graduates that enter into many diverse fields including advertising, graphic design, landscape architecture and music production. Its success can be traced back to two things. Its emphasis on hands on experience and the ability of its alumni to find opportunities to network. Many of the teachers are industry professionals themselves and cultivate new talent in their classroom that they later promote. This emphasis on networking is evident starting at the very beginning of a student’s career in the academy. Although it does not always lead to an immediate job, the connections students make can prove helpful in a few years as they advance in their careers. Another thing that sets the academy apart is its open-door policy. Anyone that desires to put in the effort will be accepted and has the opportunity to prove themselves even if they do not yet have an art portfolio.
Perhaps this emphasis on networking and hands on skills culminates best in the Annual Spring Show. This year’s show just ended with its winners proudly displaying their work at the university for a few months. The event showcases forty different disciplines that are taught at the Academy of Art and is open to the graduating class of that year. Students can proudly show off their years of hard work to their fellow gradates, former teachers, family, friends and most importantly the many professionals that go to these events looking for new talent. This is a rare opportunity to have opportunity find you and it can often be some big opportunity. Some major companies from Nickelodeon to Disney and Marvel to Double Negative have a presence at the Annual Spring Show often meeting with students to discuss the work they submitted.
One good example of the institute’s success is the ANM or the School of Animation & Visual Effects. It is one of the most sought after programs in the school because it has the highest rate of students finding jobs at professional VFX companies. This is due to its emphasis on industry skills that students learn through in house production working with commercial and independent films.