ArtCenter College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

Why Art Center?


A Shared Community

“Whether it’s sharing my interests, having intelligent debates or trading a little gossip, the friends I have at Art Center have kept me informed, intrigued and entertained.”
—Ashley Landrum (Fine Art '08) 

Art Center students demonstrate their visual and academic talent and declare their majors before they enroll. Whatever your chosen field, you will be studying alongside others who share your commitment and passion.  In collaborations, classroom discussions and social gatherings, you will learn together and from each other.  The experience you have at Art Center will be uniquely yours, but you’ll quickly realize you are part of a community. 

Faculty of Professionals

“I chose Art Center because of its great history and the amazing faculty and visiting artists."
—Demetrius May (Illustration '09)

Our faculty of more than 400 instructors is made up of prominent artists and designers—filmmakers, photographers, painters, illustrators and designers of every discipline—who are directly engaged with the demands of today’s creative environment and bring their knowledge, professional connections and fresh approaches into our studios and classrooms.

The Classroom Experience

“I have made creative relationships that will stay with me long after my Art Center days are over.”
—Emerson Velazquez (Graphic Design '08)

Art Center students become part of a learning environment that lasts a lifetime. A palpable energy is felt in our classrooms and studios that springs from pairing a faculty of practicing artists and designers with small groups of students who are ambitious both visually and intellectually. The collaborative bonds are lasting: Art Center students, faculty and alumni form lifelong networks.

Our students have access to facilities and technology resources that include cutting-edge photo labs, film and photography stages, fabrication shops (including 3D Rapid Prototyping), letterpress and printmaking studios and an exploration laboratory emphasizing colors, materials and trends (CMTEL). These resources are often donated and supported by our partners in the business world, reflecting our unique relationship with industry.

Rigorous and Evolving Curriculum

“Art Center puts you through a demanding process where your character, passion and endurance are constantly tested. All of this hard work pays off once you join the professional world and realize that you have acquired the ability to design anything.”
—Sami Hayek (Environmental Design, ’96)

Our educational philosophy emphasizes rigorous, specialized courses that build core skills while pushing you to create distinctive, professional work. You’ll focus on your major from the very first day of classes with hands-on challenges and experiences, thus bypassing the typical “foundation year” structure found at most other art and design schools.

The intense concentration on your major—more than 30 credits—will allow you to better explore and perfect your discipline and is also among the leading reasons recruiters prefer Art Center graduates.

Our curriculum doesn’t simply react to changes in the creative and business environments—it anticipates them. And the intense pace and settings of our classes mimic an actual work environment.

Whatever your major, our interdisciplinary workshops will give you experience in multiple settings, while our Humanities and Design Science courses will ensure that you gain a solid foundation of the broader context.  

Social Responsibility

“Studying at Art Center makes you realize that you don’t have to be a celebrity designer to change the world. Change can start with you.“
—Simon Ko, Entertainment Design student

Through our Designmatters Department, many of our programs and projects explore the social impact of design, which will allow you to immerse yourself in complex design problems while shaping a better future. The innovative solutions our students have developed—whether it’s for the citizens of post-Katrina New Orleans or Sub-Saharan Africa—are a testament to the power of design to inspire positive social change. Art Center is also dedicated to sustainability, as reflected in our curriculum, special projects and campus initiatives.

Creative and Corporate Connections

“I have gained a better business sense being here. I can do what I love and make a business out of it.“
—Justine Maccario (Photography and Imaging '08)

Art Center has significant relationships with decision-makers and influencers in the art and design fields, and they share their expertise and resources with you—in the classroom and through internships, mentoring, fellowships, lectures and recruitment.

Each term, leading companies from around the world, including Apple, Sony, Nokia and BMW Designworks, recruit students for internships and job openings. Practicing artists serve as guest lecturers, exposing students to the business of art as well as their visual points of view.

Our Big Picture Lecture Series attracts visionary thinkers from around the world to discuss the cultural and political currents shaping art and design. And our industry partners—ranging from major automakers to film studios—sponsor classroom projects that challenge students to tackle real-world problems.

Global Perspective

“Art Center seems to be the only design college that is truly international. The cultural mix stimulates creativity and ultimately prepares you to take a job anywhere in the world.”
—Henrik Fisker (Transportation Design ’89)

As an Art Center student, you’ll have the opportunity to address design challenges and explore artistic opportunities no matter where they occur. Our perspective is global in scope and mindset. We have relationships with universities, organizations and governments abroad.  Recently our students’ studies have taken them to London, Germany, China, France, Mexico, Singapore and Tokyo.  Our programs attract international students, and our location in the greater L.A. region places us at a crossroads of cultures.

Lifelong Networks

“Art Center provided me with a great network of creative people whom I still collaborate and stay in touch with, even after 20 years.”
—Ann Elliot Cutting (Photography and Imaging, ’87)

As a graduate of Art Center, your former classmates will become your colleagues. You will join a group of alumni who have changed the parameters of transportation design, graphics, film and more. Our global alumni network is more than 18,000 strong and serves as a great resource for students. Many share their expertise with each new class of students as teachers and mentors and through introductions to others in their field.

Los Angeles: Art and Design Capital

The freedom to experiment with new ideas doesn’t stop at our doors—the Los Angeles region is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial environments in the world. The creative industries alone generate nearly one million jobs in the region.

In addition to the Hollywood film and entertainment industries, the region’s unique culture, talent and year-round sunny climate have drawn major media companies, design studios and automobile manufacturers to set up key design facilities in the area. Los Angeles is also home to a thriving art scene, with some 350 art galleries, artist collectives and alternative spaces and over 100 museums and nonprofit cultural organizations, including the Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Our location in Pasadena—an artistically diverse and sophisticated city in its own right and just 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles—provides students with ample opportunities to take advantage of these resources.

In addition to the city’s rich architectural and design history that includes works by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Greene brothers, Wallace Neff and artisans of the Arroyo Craftsman style, Pasadena also hosts an impressive collection of cultural institutions including the Norton Simon Museum; the Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens; the Armory Center for the Arts and the Pacific Asia Museum.

Pasadena has long been a center for scientific and aerospace innovation, and is home to both California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Many students and alumni choose to live nearby and set up their own entrepreneurial businesses and studios.

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