The Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) is a non–profit consortium of 43 leading art schools in the US and Canada. It was founded in 1991 by a group of 25 presidents who felt a need for the similarly structured art schools to come together so as to mutually develop their schools and programs. Our mission is to help strengthen the member colleges individually and collectively, and to inform the public about these colleges and the value of studying art and design.

AICAD colleges educate more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year, plus many thousands more in summer and continuing education programs. Our students are drawn from all 50 US states and more than 60 foreign countries. Over 70% of these students receive financial aid to support their education.

Programs and Activities

AICAD achieves its mission of strengthening and connecting its member schools through a variety of programs and activities, including:

  • distributing information about AICAD and its members, and about art and design education and careers, to students, parents, teachers, and others;
  • conducting regular conferences and symposia on contemporary academic and administrative subjects;
  • operating an independent studio and internship program in New York City (New York Studio Residency Program);
  • overseeing student exchanges and mobility among the member schools and international affiliates;
  • gathering and analyzing substantial institutional data annually, accompanied by analysis and forecasts to assist in future planning efforts;
  • providing members with information about current art and design education issues, and about relevant legislation and government policies;
  • working with other educational and cultural groups on various policy issues and mutually beneficial programs; and,
  • maintaining a communication and information exchange system for senior staff and faculty of the member schools, including frequent meetings to discuss timely issues.