The Academy of Art University Prepares Students to be Global Citizens


In a recent article, Jayne Foster, graduate director of the School of Fashion at the Academy of Art University stated, “There are designers who will inspire and lead the next generation of creatives.” That next generation of creatives trained and nurtured by the Academy of Art University (AAU) presented at New York Fashion Week (NYFW). During NYFW, designers and those who love new designs converge on New York City. The premier fashion event for budding designers is held at the Skylight Clarkson Square located in SoHo.

NYFW displays fashions for the future and the designs presented always have a flair for the dramatic. The AAU students who presented their collections did not disappoint the audience. Carlos Rodrigues, a BFA student from California, has a passion for embroidery details, and Joanna Jadallah, an MFA student from Chicago, captured the beauty of Palestinian culture through warm and beautiful designs made of wool, lambskin, cashmere knits, and brocade.

The AAU was founded in San Francisco in 1929 “by artists for artists.” Founded by Richard S. Stephens with 45 students and classes held in a rented loft, AAU has grown to more than 18,000 students with classes and offices in more than 15 buildings. The current president of the AAU is Dr. Elisa Stephens, the granddaughter of the founder and AAU is the largest, private art school in the country. It boasts students and alumni from more than 120 countries. Under her leadership, the AAU prepares its students to become global citizens through a variety of exciting academic programs. Students can participate in a study abroad program and complete their undergraduate studies in Europe. Through its Seminar in Europe, AAU students are exposed to European history, art, culture, and architecture. During a 7-1/2 week summer session, students can explore the art, music, and design in Florence, Italy.

Dr. Elisa Stephens is a visionary leader always seeking to find opportunities to broaden the horizons of AAU students. She continues to inspire the school community through her commitment to offer a rigorous program of study that challenges the students and prepares them for the 21st century.

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