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Otis College of Art and Design is a non-profit (501(c)3 institution founded in 1918 by General Harrison Gray Otis, the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, who bequeathed his L.A. home to the city for "the advancement of the arts." The Colllege offers BFA and MFA degrees accreditated by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Otis is a member of the Association of Colleges of Art and Design. For almost eighty years, Otis remained at its downtown location. In 1997, the College moved to the Elaine and Bram Goldsmith Campus on the West side. From Spanish-Moorish mansion to seven-story cube, Otis has evolved. Designed by architect Eliot Noyes for IBM, the 115,000 square-foot Ahmanson Hall was renovated in 1997, using the concept of an artist's loft or a working studio rather than that of a traditional classroom. Ahmanson Hall's open plan encourages communication among the departments, as well as between students and faculty members.
The 40,000 square foot horizontal Galef Fine Arts Center, designed by Frederick Fisher Architects, opened in 2001. Its complex geometry and corrugated metal forms contrast with the "punchcard" vocabulary of Ahmanson Hall. Together, these buildings comprise the Elaine and Bram Goldsmith Campus. Fashion Design occupies one floor of the California Market Center in downtown L.A.; Graduate Fine Arts studios are in the nearby art community of Culver City, and Graduate Public Practice is at the 18th St Arts Center in Santa Monica.
Links related to Otis' history:
Nine Decades of Fine Art
Alumni Interviews (Legacy Project)
Publications (PDFs) on Otis' history:
Otis Story (1975) covers 1918-1970
1918-2008 illustrated timeline
THE Magazine article on Otis' first 90 years
OMAG Volume 1: Nine Decades of Fine Art