The Atlanta College of Art (ACA), founded in 1905, was a four-year accredited private art college in the city until 2006, when it was absorbed by the Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). ACA was located in the Woodruff Arts Center, a multiuse art complex composed of the High Museum of Art, the Alliance Theater, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Midtown Atlanta.
In 1905 an art school and museum, later to become the Atlanta College of Art and the High Museum of Art, were formed as an outgrowth of the Atlanta Art Association. Ben Shute, a young alumnus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, came to teach at ACA in 1928. The art school was accredited in 1949 and incorporated into the Woodruff Arts Center in 1963. Notable graduates include Radcliffe Bailey (mixed media), Maia Kayser (computer animator), Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier (photography/painting), Maurice Novembre (animator), and Kara Walker (mixed media). ARTicles, an annual journal published by the college, focused on alumni news as well as general information about the college and its exhibitions. The ACA library’s holdings included more than 25,000 books, 180 periodicals, and 90,000 slides, as well as a rare books collection and an artists’ book collection.
Campus facilities included a library, electronic media center, studio and classroom spaces, photography darkrooms, two exhibition spaces, a student exhibition space, and the ACA Gallery, as well as dormitory housing and a store supplying textbooks, art supplies, and computer equipment. The ACA Gallery, located in the Woodruff Arts Center, continues to be open to the public at no charge; ongoing shows rotate between faculty and student, and international, national, regional, and local artists. Nationally acclaimed artists who have exhibited at the ACA Gallery include Layla Ali and Whang Inkie.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was offered in twelve specialized disciplines, including communication design, drawing, electronic arts, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Student activities included internships, volunteer opportunities, clubs, and student government. In fall 2003 there were more than 350 full-time students and more than 75 faculty.
Atlanta College of Art, with the support of the Fulton County Arts Council, the Georgia Council for the Arts, and the city of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs, also administered and housed the Georgia Artists Registry, a collection of images and information about six hundred Georgia artists. Membership in the Georgia Artists Registry, administered today by SCAD, is free, and acceptance is based upon slide review.