From its humble beginnings in 1982, Adelaide Central School of Art has played a pivotal role in the arts life of South Australia, producing artists, curators, art teachers and just fabulously creative human beings.
And clearly it is doing something very, very right, with its recognition this year in the annual Student Experience Survey. As well as “best art school”, ACSA was found to be first for Overall Quality of Educational Experience, first for Teaching Quality; first for Student Support and second for Skills Development.
ACSA’s CEO Penny Griggs is understandably proud and excited about this year’s achievements. Glam asked her what she thinks it is about ACSA that has led to these remarkable results:
“We know all our students. We have small class sizes. And all our teaching staff are working artists, so they are connected to the industry. Being an arts school, we are very much about face-to-face engagement.”
Griggs also sees strength in the amazing diversity of the student body.
“We currently have students ranging in age from 17 to 84, so there is a lot of cross-generational learning. And people come to ACSA for many different reasons.”
ACSA’s main offering is the Bachelor of Visual Arts, which is a three-year program, with an Honours option. “The first two years of the program are about the foundations”, says Griggs. “Students are taught drawing, painting and sculpture. They can also take some electives through UniSA, such as photography. In their third year, they are given their own studio in order to explore what they want to create.” Interestingly, many students come into their first year set on one media and end up going into a completely different one. Their studio years gives them a chance to move in their chosen direction.
The school also runs short courses throughout the year. These include drawing, painting, pottery, techniques of the Old Masters, and special courses for teenagers.
So, does Griggs think the art world has changed since ACSA was founded?
“I like to think that the value of artists has increased over the last 30 years. I believe that critical thinking and creativity are even more important in an increasingly automated world.”
ACSA is a South Australian success story worth celebrating.
The school will be holding an open day on August 18th, in conjunction with SALA, of which Griggs was previously CEO. This day gives the public a chance to see the work done by both staff and students, of this nationally lauded institution.
Short-course and mid-year intake enrolments close on June 14th.
The school is located in the Glenside Cultural Precinct.
Click here for more information on ACSA
Click here to read the short-course brochure.
Penny Griggs interviewed by Tracey Korsten