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Alberta College of Art and Design

Amy Gogarty's work.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.

Drawing by Anka Buruma.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 studies.Blowing glass by hand.

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.Printmaking process.

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.

Featured Audio

Featured Audio

Stan Perrot, former head of the Alberta College of Art and Design, discusses the school's history on its 60th anniversary. Listen Now


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 experience.

Photographed by Geri Solodky.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 soirees—some of the most recent being ARTaWEARness, Artraegous, and TKO—in order to fundraise and expose artist works. Every year visiting artists and lectures add to the scope of artistic learning happening at ACAD.

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