The Academy of Art University was founded in 1929 and was established to be a school for advertising art. Until 1951 the school was led by the founder Richard S. Stephens, who also happened to be a magazine editor and a painter. Richard A. Stephens took over for his dad in 1951 and lead the school until 1992 when he was replaced by his daughter, Elisa Stephens. While she held presidency she amazingly was able to take the number of students from 2000 to 18,000 by 2012.
In 2007 The Academy of Art University was able to receive regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Along with their other incredible accomplishments, the school has also been able to become a member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. In 2016 there was around 7% of the students that were able to complete a four-year degree within the appropriate amount of time. The school amazing accomplishments do not stop there though. The Academy of Art University Automobile Museum is also operated and owned by the Academy of Art University.
On September 9, 2017, the Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion was able to hold their 21st runway showcase. The show was said to be of top interest by many due to the different backgrounds of many of the designers. Many of the designers were coming all the way from China to coastal Maine. This brought tons of interest due to all of the different ideas that were going to be expected to be at the show. This left many of the students panicking for hours as they all got ready for their 15 minutes of fame. The thing that made the students even more nervous was that they were not only showing their pieces in front of other students but also tons of celebrities that had come out that day to see all of their fashion pieces. So one by one each of the students showed what their visions were for the future of fashion and by the end, the show was a complete success for all.