The Art Institute of Boston

The Art Institute of Boston

infobox University
name=The Art Institute of Boston

established= 1912
type= Private
president= |president= Joseph B. Moore
dean= Stan Trecker
affiliations = Lesley University
undergrad = 660
postgrad = 130
city = Boston
state =
country = U.S.
campus= Urban
website= []
publictransit= Kenmore Station, MBTA Green Line

The Art Institute of Boston (AIB) is a private, non-profit art school in Boston, Massachusetts, and a part of Lesley University. Undergraduate degree programs include animation, design, fine arts, illustration, and photography. Graduate degree programs focus on fine arts and photography, with an art history component. The school reports a faculty–student ratio of 1:10.

History and governance

Founding and evolution

Founded by Roy Davidson in 1912 as the School of Practical Art, AIB's early philosophy was based upon John Ruskin's words that it is "in art that the heart, the head, and the hand of a man come together" and Davidson's own belief that "beauty comes from the use." [cite book |author=Roy Davidson. |title="Prospectus, The School of Practial Art" |year=1918 |publisher=The School of Practical Art, Boston, Massachusetts |pages=p. 4-5, 8-9 |isbn=] Through the mid-twentieth century the school increasingly embraced the fine arts and developed a growing liberal arts curriculum. In 1967 the school was renamed The Art Institute of Boston to acknowledge its increased focus upon fine art as well as design, illustration, and photography. In 1999 an animation program was begun within the Department of Illustration. AIB is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a consortium of thirty-six leading art schools in the United States.

Merger, and the emergence of a university

In 1998, the Art Institute of Boston merged with then Lesley College, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and founded in 1909. The addition of AIB's baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate degrees qualified Lesley as a university. In 2001 the two colleges emerged as Lesley University. Today AIB is one of four colleges within the university. The Art Institute of Boston is governed by the Lesley University Board of Trustees, and the larger university administration. The school and university are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.



AIB is located in the Kenmore Square neighborhood, within downtown Boston. Most AIB facilities are located in two five-story early twentieth century buildings located within two urban blocks of each other. Buildings are located at 700 Beacon Street and 601 Newbury Street. Both buildings include substantial computer labs, studio spaces, instructional rooms and faculty offices. The AIB Library, Office of the Dean, Office of Admissions, the Department of Photography, animation studios, and café are located at 700 Beacon Street. Individual studio spaces for baccalaureate Fine Arts students are located at 601 Newbury Street. Dormitories are located at the Lesley University campus in Cambridge.


AIB has galleries at three locations. The main gallery is at 700 Beacon Street. This gallery is used for traveling exhibitions, B.F.A. and M.F.A. graduate exhibitions, and the Faculty Biennial Exhibition. Additional exhibition space is located on two floors of the 601 Newbury Street building. The Newbury Street gallery is used for student exhibitions, particularly in the department of Fine Arts. A third gallery, located in the Porter Exchange building in Cambridge at AIB's parent institution Lesley University, hosts a variety of faculty, student and visiting exhibitions. Admission to all galleries is free and open to the public.

Curriculum and degree programs

As of fall semester 2006 there are approximately 650 undergraduate and 150 graduate students pursuing degrees at The Art Institute of Boston. The Art Institute of Boston B.F.A. baccalaureate degrees are intensive four-year programs in Animation, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Photography. Five-year dual baccalaureate degrees in design and illustration, and illustration and art history are also offered. A two-year design certificate degree is offered for students having already earned either a B.A. or B.S. degree. AIB offers a two-year post-baccalaureate Master of Fine Arts degree in visual arts. The M.F.A. degree is low residency with 5 ten-day residencies over a two year program.

International study at AIB

International study in all degree programs is encouraged, and AIB has study programs with colleges in Ireland, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. Students can study studio art, humanities, and Italian language and culture at the Italian Language and Art Institute in Florence. Fine arts and French language and culture courses are available at the Pont-Aven School of Art, France. Students with a Fine Arts major, or Fine Art/Illustration major can study at the Burren College of Art in Ireland for a single semester, or full year. Students in AIB's department of Design and Department of Illustration can attend the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands for their junior or senior years.


External links

* [ The Art Institute of Boston web site]
* [ Lesley University web site]
* [ AIB's Design and Illustration coöperative exchange with the Willem de Kooning Academie]
* [ AIB's Fine Arts and Illustration coöperative exchange with Burren College of Art]
* [ "USNews" ranking, go to "T" for The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University]

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