The Academy of Art University has participated in New York Fashion week for more than two decades. In September of 2017, The school held its 21st runway showcase in Manhattan. Ten of the schools students from the undergraduate and graduate programs sent seven collections down the runway.
The Academy of Art University was founded in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens. Located in the beautiful and historic San Francisco, California, the university currently has over 12,000 students enrolled in 21 different departments. Almost all of their degree programs are offered online or on campus–only six out of 41 degree programs are on-campus only. They also offer continuing education, pre-college programs, and study abroad opportunities.
The Academy of Art University owns a prestigious non-profit museum known as the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum. This museum contains over 200 of the finest, most unique, vintage cars in the world. Forbes valued the museum at over $70 million. The museum is used as a tool for students in the industrial design department and is also considered as a conservator of automobile history. The museum was started by Richard A. Stephens who owns half of the cars. Some of the most prized cars in the museum are The Tucker 48 which was purchased for over $2 million at an auction, and the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow, one of only three in the world.
The school has always been led by a member of the Stephens family. Richard S. Stephens, the founder, started the school in a small building with 45 students. He stepped down in 1951, turning over leadership to his son Richard A. Stepehens. In 2002, Elisa Stephens, the granddaughter of Richard A. Stephens, took over as President. Since Elisa Stephens has been President at the school, she increased the enrollment from 2000 students to its present day number of over 12,000.
The school is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.