History of CCAD

Milestones that made us who we are today

Picture this: It’s 1879. Milk is being sold in glass bottles for the first time. Thomas Edison debuts the lightbulb to a crowd of onlookers in Menlo Park, New Jersey. 

And, having been prohibited from taking art classes alongside men, a group of women in Columbus, Ohio came together to form what was then known as the Columbus Art School—the place known today as Columbus College of Art & Design. 

The first graduating class

The first class—six students in all—graduated in 1885.


Classes were held in a number of buildings (including the YMCA!) before an official campus was established along Broad Street.

Joseph V. Canzani

Joseph V. Canzani joined the school in 1950 and became our first president. He retired in 1996 after 46 years at the helm. Under Canzani’s leadership, we expanded our programs, became accredited as a college, and officially became known as Columbus College of Art & Design.

Dean Mary Kinney

Dean Mary Kinney, after whom Kinney Hall is named, served CCAD for more than 40 years and was known for her commitment to the achievement of excellence.

Botticelli magazine

The first issue of Botticelli magazine, a literary and art journal produced and edited by CCAD students, was published in 1970 (and continues to this day!).

President Denny Griffith

President Denny Griffith (1998–2014) was a beloved leader who transformed CCAD (including the development of our first graduate degree, a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts) and helped to shape Columbus through the arts.

The iconic 10-story Art Sign sculpture

We installed the iconic 10-story Art Sign sculpture at the corner of Gay Street and Cleveland Avenue in 2001.

Dr. Melanie Corn

Dr. Melanie Corn was named the first female president of CCAD in 2016. Since then, we’ve introduced two new Master of Professional Studies degrees and opened the state-of-the-art Cloyd Family Animation Center.

Found Footage

Want a deeper dive into CCAD’s past? Take a trip back in time and experience vintage Fashion Show, Chroma, and student life.

"It was—or seemed to be—a wild and crazy time in my life. I was opening myself up to new things and I surrounded myself with like-minded creative people. It was inspiring. CCAD, to me, in short, was an adventure. Now that I look back, I learned so much, not only about art but about life. I’m thankful for the experiences I had. CCAD was tough, but it taught me to be the artist I am today."

Keelyn McIntyre Illustration, 2005
CCAD 20220320 Facilities and Teaching 198

Your Turn

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