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Outer Circle is Art Center’s alumni publication and features alumni-driven content and stories. Produced by Art Center’s Office of Alumni Relations and the Marketing and Communications Department.  If you have story ideas for inclusion in future Outer Circle publications, please contact the Alumni Relations office at 626.396.2305 or email alumni@artcenter.edu.


Editorial Director:
Vanessa Silberman

Contributor: Kristine Bowne

Writers: Lara Warren, Mike Winder

Design: Paul Gillis

Web site production:
Chuck Spangler

Alumni Notes and Events Coordinator: Matt O’Brien

Special Thanks:
Robert Dirig, College Archivist

Cover Illustration:
Andrew Holder ILLU ‘07

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80 Years in Pictures

Cover of the 1941 Art Center catalog.
“I was born in Nacozari, Sonora, a small mining town of less than 5,000 people. And then my father showed me this Art Center book. This is the reason I came to Los Angeles. I don’t know where my dad got this book. I was 15 when he showed me this and said, ‘Let’s go to Los Angeles.’”
–Jose Teran ADVT ’45

1930 – 1947
7th Street Campus

Art Center was created in the midst of the Great Depression. Frustrated by the impractical bent of his own fine arts education, Edward “Tink” Adams had an idea: he would open an art school that taught real-world skills to artists.

Adams knew first-hand what the industry wanted—he had enjoyed a successful career as an advertising art director in Chicago for years. He chose a site on West Seventh Street in the Westlake Park area of Los Angeles for the campus, and in 1930 the Art Center School opened with a staff of 12 teachers and eight students. This original campus was comprised of a handful of small buildings scattered around a courtyard, a modest site that was sufficient for the young school.

Practicing artists and designers were hired to teach classes in advertising design and illustration. Art Center quickly became known for educating students who could move successfully into the commercial art and design. It claimed a 97 percent job placement rate for its graduates—no small feat in the midst of the Depression. Soon the school expanded its curriculum to include fine art, industrial design, photography and transportation design.

3rd Street Campus

Hillside Campus

Vevey Campus

South Campus