The College of Art and Design is Lesley's college of visual arts. It has been providing bold and innovative art education and preparing students for creative and fulfilling professional careers for more than a century.
The College of Art and Design at Lesley University was founded by Roy Atherton Davidson in 1912 as the School of Practical Arts. Roy Davidson - a pioneer in the field of commercial art education - founded the school to train students to become professional artists so they could put their talents to work in rewarding creative fields. The school opened in Davidson's own studio in Boston's Back Bay. Davidson remained the director of the school until 1940.
In 1967, the school added programs in Fine Arts, Photography, and Liberal Arts and changed its name to the Art Institute of Boston (AIB). In 1998, AIB merged with Lesley University. The merger allowed AIB to continue to focus on developing students' creative ideas, artistic ability, self-expression, and professional skills - adding undergraduate programs in Animation and Art History as well as graduate programs in Fine Arts and Photography.
In 2013, the university officially changed the name of The Art Institute of Boston to the Lesley University College of Art and Design.
Since our founding in 1912, we have educated students for professions in the arts by balancing personal aesthetic development and intensive studies in the humanities with practical career preparation. Our challenging curriculum emphasizes solid foundations in traditional art and design principles, time-proven methods of creative process, and strong intellectual concepts.
We offer the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, the two-year Advanced Professional Certificate, the Master of Fine Arts degree (both a low residency visual arts program and a full residency Photography program), dual degree programs, as well as continuing and professional education, intensive workshops, and pre-college courses.
The College of Art and Design, at its heart, is an intimate school, more an indie workshop than a factory. For us, tight teacher-student relationships are at the core of a great art education. In our studio classes (of about fourteen students), there's always a front-row seat: the chance to get up close and personal with some of the best artist-teachers in the business, ask questions about technique, and soak up the real skills needed to make it as an artist.
The College of Art and Design, part of Lesley University since 1998, is large enough to provide a variety of perspectives within each major as well as diverse influences outside each major. Students move beyond the traditional studio and take courses across the University; many study abroad for a semester or enroll in a dual degree program, and our required internship program provides all students with real world experience during their junior or senior years.
Graduates of Lesley University leave with the confidence to respond creatively and effectively to the constantly changing career landscape. A College of Art and Design education prepares students for a variety of artistic professions including: graphic design, web and multimedia design, book, advertising and editorial illustration, animation, documentary photography, photojournalism, fine arts photography, fine arts, and art education. Our alumni create opportunities for themselves in other professions as well, from television and film production to performance art, dance, and puppetry.
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Danielle Kelly, Fine Arts Major, Class of 2013 -“When you become engaged in a project, professors and other students become engaged alongside you. That’s the nature of Lesley University. People rally around you.”
Geoff Marian ’08 BFA, Animation, Freelance Animator, splatboom.com - “It’s important to learn about current events, literature, and types of art other than your own. The better informed you are, the better artist you are.”