RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences forms alliance with elite design school in China

RIT one of only five U.S. schools to partner with exclusive Central Academy of Fine Arts

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Robin Cass

Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) has formed a partnership with China’s premier art school, which has graduated some of the most famous and recognized contemporary visual artists in the world today.

Robin Cass, interim dean of CIAS, traveled to Beijing to finalize the partnership with the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), which operates under the direct charge of China’s Ministry of Education. CAFA is widely recognized as one of the most selective schools in the country, turning away more than 90 percent of its applicants each year.

“I’m thrilled to announce this partnership, which will be a mutually beneficial relationship for CIAS and CAFA,” Cass said. “These students represent the best of the best, and we should start seeing a number of them on the RIT campus starting this fall.”

Cass noted that the relationship between CIAS and CAFA’s International Foundations Course (IFC) program began through the glass program at RIT’s School for American Crafts, including Meng Du, an outstanding alumna of the glass MFA program who attended CAFA as an undergraduate student in graphic design.

She also recognized the instrumental involvement of CIAS faculty Regina Ferrari, Mary Golden, David Schnuckel and Michael Rogers—each of whom visited Beijing to critique students’ work and engage in student projects.

CAFA’s IFC program is a one-year immersive preparatory program on the CAFA campus that focuses on the arts, general education and English, with all courses taught in English. According to Cass, the program currently partners with only a few international, English-speaking arts and design institutions for students to transfer into at the conclusion of the foundation year.

Cass noted that CIAS is “both in great company and distinct” from CAFA’s four other U.S. partner institutions—the Cleveland Institute of Art, California College of Art, School of Visual Arts, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago—in that “RIT is part of a larger, comprehensive university, which sets us apart from this small pool.”

CAFA offers such majors as design and architecture and abundant courses in digital and video art. The school’s campus, located 10 miles north of Tiananmen Square, features innovative classrooms and art studios along with a 160,000-square-foot museum and art gallery designed by the prominent Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. The school’s alumni include some of China’s most successful artists, including Liu Wei, Fang Lijun and Zhang Huan.

About RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

Rochester Institute of Technology is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier universities for art, design, film, photography, media sciences and crafts. The six schools within the university’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences provide award-winning and innovative programs to give students a wide-ranging learning experience—from creating fine art using centuries-old methods to pushing the boundaries of digital creativity.

About the Central Academy of Fine Arts

The Central Academy of Fine Arts is an art academy under the direct charge of China’s Ministry of Education. The academy comprises six specialty schools: School of Fine Art, School of Chinese Painting, School of Design, School of Architecture, School of Humanities and School of Urban Design. A post-graduate education school and a high school of fine arts also are affiliated.