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CCAD Begins Celebration of its 140th Year

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman CCAD Begins Celebration of its 140th YearCCAD catalogues from 1886, to 1930, and 2001, via CCAD Archives Facebook page.
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From Jan. 3-25, the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) is running “140 Years of Creative Excellence,” a survey show highlighting the school’s student exhibitions over the years. On view are student exhibition posters, flyers, catalogs, and other archival materials from over the years. A reception takes place Tuesday, Jan. 15, and will double as a “birthday” celebration with cake and champagne.

CCAD first opened its doors on Jan. 6, 1879 as one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the U.S. The show looks back to CCAD’s formative years with an exhibition catalog from 1886. The most recent piece on display is a catalog from 2016.

CCAD president Melanie Corn says the show represents how students’ exhibitions have come together over the years, and how visual identity has changed with each class.

“Catalogs and other materials are often works of art themselves,” says Corn. “It’s an interesting way to look at student exhibitions, not so much looking at the artwork that is in the exhibition, but the actual display of exhibiting. And I think that’s just kind of a unique perspective.”

Invitation to CCAD annual student exhibition from 1979. Photo via CCAD Archives.

In addition to the survey show, in February CCAD will also celebrate its anniversary with a “Found Footage Screening,” featuring archived video from the 1980s to the present day. The clips will include backstage preparations at the CCAD Fashion Show from the 1980s, classroom footage from the 1990s, and new interviews with CCAD faculty.

Ric Petry, director of graduate studies at CCAD, began teaching at CCAD in the fall of 1981. He hasn’t yet seen the footage, but expects much of it was produced by media studies students. He was the dean of the media studies program for 10 years.

“There has been a remarkable range of film and video work done at CCAD over the years — everything from amazing promotional videos to a student film featuring a berserk giant student destroying the ART sign in a ‘Godzilla’ parody.”

To curate the footage, CCAD used old VHS tapes and DVDs from faculty members and student films, says archivist Chloe Kie.

“I don’t want to give it all away, but there are some hilarious promo pieces from the past, some older clips of CCAD’s first president, and some excellent retro fashion from the annual CCAD Fashion Show in the ’90s and 2000s,” says Kie. “There are some real gems in the mix.”

CCAD will continue to celebrate its anniversary throughout the year with Chroma, the school’s annual student exhibition, and the CCAD Fashion Show. CCAD alumni around the city will also participate in “CCADs Grads in the Galleries” this fall.

Corn says the fact CCAD is in its 140th year says a lot about the longevity and impact it’s had on Columbus and around the world.

“We have educated thousands of students who, as alumni, have gone on to fuel the creative economy here in Columbus. We like to say if you’ve seen something cool in Columbus in the past 140 years, it’s probably because of CCAD,” says Corn. “It’s a big impact today, but I think the story we’re trying to tell is that it’s been a significant player in the culture here in Columbus for this entire time, this whole 140 years.”

The opening reception for CCAD’s 140-year survey show will be held Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 6:30 p.m. The CCAD “Found Footage Screening” will be held at the school’s Canzani Center Screening Room on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit ccad.edu.

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