Alberta College of Art and Design
The Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) has a dynamic history within the province.
Established as part of the Provincial Institute of Technology and Arts (now the Southern
Alberta Institute of Technology or SAIT), ACAD stands firmly as one of only four degree
granting, publicly funded art and design colleges in Canada.
In 1973, the brick and concrete structure that houses ACAD was constructed across from
its previous home SAIT. Known simply as the Alberta College of Art, the school separated
in 1985, becoming a distinct public entity.
To acknowledge that design is a significant and distinct practice from that of fine
arts; the school appended its name in 1995 to become the Alberta College of Art and
Design (ACAD). That same year ACAD received the privilege to grant bachelor of fine
arts degrees. Five years later, the College was allowed to grant bachelor of design
degrees as well.
An extensive array of disciplines and well-equipped workshops and studios are available
for students to choose from after completing their foundation year. At this time, they
choose a discipline to major in that can be one of the more traditionally recognized,
such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, or interdisciplinary
A more design-oriented individual might choose from photographic arts, visual
communication design, or media arts and digital technologies. Someone else interested
in pursuing a more artisan based practice, might elect to major in ceramics, jewellery
and metals, fibre or glass.
With the level of specialization available, and the equipment to support it, ACAD makes
studio-based educational experience tangible. Other school resources are the Luke Lindoe
Library that has a strong collection of arts publications, and its two galleries.
Stan Perrot, former head of the Alberta College of
Art and Design, discusses the school's history on its 60th anniversary.
Named after a prominent Alberta artist and former ACAD president, the Illingworth Kerr
Gallery was established in 1958. It is a public gallery, but is sustained by the school.
Within its publicly accessible space, contemporary art exhibits, lectures and screenings
take place. Aside from showing art to general visitors, the gallery provides ACAD
students with exposure to professional artists' work.
The Marion Nicoll Gallery, also named after a pioneering artist and Alberta Society of
Artists member, is student run. It functions
to display student works while providing valuable installation and exhibition
ACAD makes itself known to the community through its sometimes eccentric and playful
special events. The college holds two annual show and sales and has organized
soireessome of the most recent being ARTaWEARness, Artraegous, and TKOin order to
fundraise and expose artist works. Every year visiting artists and lectures add to
the scope of artistic learning happening at ACAD.