• Intro
  • 1929
  • 1946
  • 1966
  • 1972
  • 2002
  • 2012
  • 2014

Our History

Like the city it’s called home since 1929, the Academy of Art University has always existed on the vanguard of innovation and creativity. The Academy and San Francisco have grown up together and served as mutual sources of inspiration and talent—take a look back at notable moments in the Academy’s history in San Francisco. Explore the Timeline

1929

Richard S. Stephens, Art Director for Sunset Magazine, founds the Académie of Advertising Art with his wife Clara, in a rented loft at 215 Kearny St. The first 45 students are admitted.


The Great Highway is completed, and the San Francisco Zoo is established. The next year, the Golden Gate Bridge Bond Measure will pass, creating the city’s most famous landmark.

1946

The Academy moves to 740 Taylor Street with 250 students. Courses are offered in General Advertising and Commercial Art, Fashion Illustration, Cartooning, and Lettering & Layout.


Tony Morabito creates the San Francisco 49ers as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference. The next year, they will become the first professional football team to sign an Asian American as running back Wally Yonamine joins the team.

1966

The Academy acquires its own space at 740 Taylor Street and is granted the authority to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art.


The San Francisco Oracle publishes its first issue from the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Combining poetry, multicultural interests and psychedelic design, the Oracle established itself as a leading voice in the burgeoning counterculture movement with pieces by beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

1972

San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid Tower is completed by Wm. Pereira and Associates. Mary Scott, head of the Graphic Design group at Wm. Pereira, is named the Academy’s Chair of the School of Graphic Design in 1999.

2002

The Academy develops specialized software and offers its first online classes to students.


Construction begins on the new Bay Bridge, connecting San Francisco to Treasure Island and Oakland. Completed in 2013, the new bridge is the world’s longest self-anchored suspension span.

2012

AAU Animation & Visual Effects students create many of the visual effects for the Oscar-nominated film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”


SF The San Francisco Giants win their 7th World Series, and the Bay Area technology sector continues to innovate and disrupt established industries.

2014 & Beyond

The spirit of San Francisco informs everything we do. As we look to the future, we always look to keep the same sense of innovation, diversity, and wonder that makes our city one of the greatest in the world.

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      <li>Intro</li>
      <li>1929</li>
      <li>1946</li>
      <li>1966</li>
      <li>1972</li>
      <li>2002</li>
      <li>2012</li>
      <li>2014</li>
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          <h1>Our History</h1>
          <p>Like the city it’s called home since 1929, the Academy of Art University has always existed on the vanguard of innovation and creativity. The Academy and San Francisco have grown up together and served as mutual sources of inspiration and talent–take a look back at notable moments in the Academy’s history in San Francisco. <a class="explore">Explore the Timeline <span class="arrow"><span class="icon-password"> </span></span></a></p>
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