(Download the entire plan in PDF format.)

Change. Growth. Innovation. To grow in strength and impact while preserving excellence, Art Center must evolve with a changing world.

In 2010, the Art Center community came together to address the challenge of making our distinctive education cutting-edge and pertinent—the what, where and why—and envision Art Center’s future.

Art Center’s five-year strategic plan presents the results of this visioning process. Our plan both honors Art Center’s distinguished 80-year history, and imagines its future. It builds on what we know, and asks us to deepen and intensify our practices. It demands that we advance to a constant state of innovation. The plan shapes our core values into a new model for art and design education for the 21st century—one that ensures continuing excellence, relevance and impact for decades to come. 

Learn to create. Influence change. This is our mission statement, and our answer to what art and design offer society. Part call to action, part promise, part opportunity.


We will secure the College’s continuing excellence by what we do next. We are shaping the future of Art Center on many fronts; however, we conceive our plan in terms of three pillars that will elevate all aspects of the College:

The Conservatory Spirit

Art Center’s reputation is built on the intensity of its degree programs, all of which depend upon the rigor and focus necessary to prepare students for professional excellence and leadership. This approach has been and will continue to be a central defining characteristic of an Art Center education. “Conservatory” (a term typically reserved for training in the performing arts but wholly applicable to this College) means for us the offering of a dedicated place for talented students to grow and thrive, an intense and practical career preparation under the guidance of an expert and professional faculty, a curriculum of project-based learning, and a focus on social and environmental challenges that provide a depth of purpose to our educational offerings.

Convening Diverse Communities & Disciplines

We view diversity of human enterprise, experience and identity as essential elements of great learning, and our plan calls for policies, practices and pedagogical development in support of our beliefs. We draw strength from connecting individuals and communities, disciplines and practices, professional and critical discourse, history and theory, craft and science, technology and culture, industry and education. Convening new dialogues is central to the curriculum, the structures needed to support the community we hope to form, the outreach we hope to generate, the environment we hope to sustain, the access we hope to ensure for all deserving students, and the individuals we hope to recruit as professionals and volunteers. We recognize that open and inclusive conversation must inform our identity as a deeply engaged heterogeneous community based on respect and collegiality, communication and transparency, and sustainability and stewardship.

New Spaces for Learning

Art Center must provide the most advanced learning environment possible through innovative, flexible and effective development of both physical and virtual spaces. Our plan calls for the design of new facilities and the application of sustainable practices that will support an expansion of the College with leading-edge technologies and new modes of practice. We seek to deepen student engagement in making and intellectual study, provide meaningful co-curricular experiences that support broad learning outcomes, stimulate reflection and spontaneous dialogue, foster social and civic responsibilities, and encourage life-long learning. We will initiate new pedagogical models through the use of technology that supports our goals for access and affordability and ensures that we enroll and retain the most talented and diverse student body possible. And we will create innovative live/work environments for our students to aid in recruitment of both international and younger students.