Academy of Art University
|Academy of Art University|
|Motto||Built by artists for artists|
|Location||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Campus||Urban and online|
|Colors||Black and Red|
|Athletics||NCAA Division II for cross country, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, golf, tennis|
The Academy of Art University (formerly Academy of Art College), a for-profit university owned by the Stephens Institute, was founded in San Francisco, California in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens. With an enrollment of over 18,000 students, the academy is reportedly the largest art and design school in the United States.
In 1929, the Academy of Art University was established in San Francisco as the Academy of Art Advertising by Richard S. Stephens, a fine arts painter and the creative director for Sunset. Assisted by his wife, Clara Stephens, Stephens opened the new school in a rented loft at 215 Kearny Street to teach advertising art. Over the next few years, he hired a faculty of practicing art and design professionals and formulated the school's philosophy to hire established professionals to teach future professionals. In 1933, the curriculum was expanded to include Fashion Illustration, and a Fine Art Department was added in 1936.
Stephens' son, Richard A. Stephens, took over direction of the school after graduating from Stanford University in 1951. During the son's tenure, the academy expanded its enrollment from 50 to 5,200 students. Richard A. Stephens oversaw continued expansion of department majors, starting with the addition of a Foundations Department, which offered courses in the basic principles of art and design, along with other Fine Art departments. In 1966, the school was incorporated as the Academy of Art College, and the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education granted the school the authority to confer the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that same year. In 1977, the Academy of Art College added the Master of Fine Arts program to its degree offerings, marking the inauguration of its graduate school, with the state of California later approving the Master's program in 1983. In 1992, Elisa Stephens, granddaughter of the school's founder, succeeded her father, Richard A. Stephens, as president of the school.
Academic programs 
The Academy of Art University offers both on-campus (traditional instructor-led) and distance education (online) degrees and certificate programs in its fine arts programs. The university offers Associate of Arts (AA), Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) for undergraduate degree programs, Master of Arts (MA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Architecture (M.Arch) for graduate degree programs, and certificate programs for personal enrichment. The Academy of Art University offers degree and certificate programs in 21 majors:
- Animation and Visual Effects
- Art Education
- Art History
- Fine Art
- Game Design
- Graphic Design
- Industrial Design
- Interior Architecture and Design
- Jewelry & Metal Arts
- Landscape Architecture
- Motion Pictures and Television
- Multimedia Communications
- Music Production and Sound Design for Visual Media
- Visual Development
- Web Design and New Media
In May 2007, Academy of Art University received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of the six major regional accreditation commissions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Degree programs offered by Academy of Art University are also accredited nationally by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The Academy is also an institutional member of the Career College Association (CCA) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
The on-campus Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree programs offered by the Academy in Interior Architecture & Design is accredited as a Professional Level Program by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (formerly "FIDER," the Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research). Accreditation was extended by the Council for Interior Design Accredition in 2008 to the online BFA and MFA Interior Architecture & Design programs.
The on-campus Master of Architecture program offered by the Academy's School of Architecture has been accredited as a Professional Level Program since 2006 by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). In 2010, the Bachelor of Fine Art-Architecture program did not receive candidacy from the NAAB accreditation commission but remains accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The program applied again for candidacy in October 2012 and had a favorable on site visit by a NAAB evaluation team. The NAAB Board will decide at its January, 2013 meeting whether or not to grant candidacy. The Master of Architecture program has been accredited since January 1, 2006, and the next visit for evaluating continuing accreditation will take place in 2013.
The Academy of Art University holds classes in over 40 buildings located throughout the eastern and southern sections of San Francisco, making them one of the largest property owners in San Francisco. A handful of these buildings are significant historical structures bought by the Academy to preserve them from demolition or irreversible commercial redevelopment. As part of its goal to encourage education in the arts, the Academy purchased art studios that were once owned by the non-profit San Francisco Art Institute to keep them from being converted to other uses. Residence facilities and all academic buildings are linked by an extensive school shuttle bus system used by both students and employees of the school.
The Urban Knights are the athletic teams for the university. The university is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level and sponsors fourteen sports, six for men and eight for women. The Academy of Art University began its athletic program in 2008 and soon after applied to join NCAA Division II. It became a member of the Pacific West Conference in 2009 in the same year the university began its first year of NCAA candidacy membership a can. As part of the multi-year transition process, the Academy of Art was not eligible for the NCAA II postseason competition, it was eligible for the PacWest Championships and Commissioner's Cup. AAU became a provisional member for the 2011–12 academic year; and became a full member of the NCAA Division II in the 2012–13 academic year after the university met the required NCAA obligations. In 2013, the school's women's track team claimed the championship of the NCAA Division 2 indoor track meet. Its women's basketball team won the Pacwest Women's Basketball tourney and will play in the NCAA division 2 Western regional starting on March 16, 2013.
Men's sports 
Womens sports 
The Academy of Art University has been involved in a number of controversies, spanning from labor and student relations to its rapid growth and acquisition of numerous buildings throughout San Francisco. Most of the recent controversies have focused on debates about specific buildings, as well as city government investigations in 2007 and again in 2010 for allegedly deliberately ignoring building permit processes and signage regulations.
Eviction of San Francisco Flower Mart 
In 2007, the owners of the western section of the historic Flower Mart in San Francisco decided to sell their facility and placed it on the open market. Needing a facility to expand its fine art sculpture program, the Academy of Art University signed a contract to purchase the Flower Mart. The sale of the facility by its owners to the Academy would result in the relocation or closure of 30 businesses and jeopardize the employment of more than 300 people. The proposed purchase came at a time when the academy was already being scrutinized closely by San Francisco officials for a number of possible building permit violations. Because of accusations related to the alleged violations, the academy hired a land-use attorney to address issues related to the acquired properties. After extensive public outcry, the Academy pulled out of the deal to purchase the Flower Mart.
Eviction of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre 
After leasing space in the historic former YWCA building designed by Lewis Hobart on Sutter Street, the academy entered into an agreement to purchase the building from Sutter Taylor, the owner and seller of the building and real estate development company. Sutter Taylor originally planned to gut the historic building and construct high-end condominiums inside the shell of the exterior walls. Part of the purchase agreement included the provision that the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre would relocate within 2 years.
The Academy had already been leasing space for use as dormitories. With the purchase of the building, the university announced that it planned to reconvert the theatre space back to its original purpose as a gymnasium." The theater's lease with Sutter Taylor was scheduled to expire on July 31, 2007.
At the time of the purchase the Theatre was informed of the need for their relocation and entered into a new 2 year lease that included free rent. At the end of the 2 year purchase process The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre launched a campaign with the help of arts groups and politicians to retain its theater space within the building, complaining that the loss of the space threatened to cancel the already-scheduled 2007–2008 season, which the theater and its supporters alleged could lead to the theater's demise. According to the academy, Sutter Taylor promised that the building would be vacant at the completion of the sale, and the theater knew of the school's plans to purchase the building as far back as 2005. Back then, the theater chose to forego the option of renewing its lease with Sutter Taylor, receiving in exchange free rent of the space from 2005 until the expiration of its lease at the end of July 2007. The academy offered to help pay a comprehensive assistance and relocation package totaling up to $125,000 to the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, while the school awaited information from the theater about the costs of the move. In spite of the help offered by the academy, the theater wanted to revisit the agreement it made with Sutter Taylor about the space within the building to be purchased by the academy. The Theatre was eventually required to fulfill its original agreement to relocate.
Purchase of St. Brigid Church 
During Summer 2005, the Archdiocese of San Francisco sold the building that housed St. Brigid Catholic Church to the Academy of Art University. St. Brigid Church, which first opened as a parish in 1864 and survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, was closed in 1994 by the archdiocese as a cost-saving measure. The archdiocese closed the church because of declining attendance, repair costs for damage caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the need to pay court judgments resulting from the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. The Archdiocese of San Francisco plan for the property was for the building to be demolished and the land redeveloped for housing. The Academy entered into a purchase agreement so that the historic structure could be preserved. After a seismic restoration forecast showed that $7 million USD was needed to shore up the church building, the academy petitioned the City of San Francisco to remove the church from the historic landmark registry so that it could proceed with restoring the building. Several parishioners, who wanted to preserve St. Brigid Church, petitioned the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board to prevent the academy from making changes to the church's exterior and interior features and to preserve the whole of the church as a historic landmark.
During discussions about the landmark designation for St. Brigid Church, the academy agreed with the former parishioners that the exterior of the church should be preserved in its present form, although the academy continued to disagree with them regarding landmark status for the church's interior. According to the academy, "landmark status for the interior was never part of the plan," and it was caught in the middle of a dispute between the former parishioners and the Catholic Church over the closing and sale of St. Brigid Church.
Although the Archdiocese of San Francisco declined to preserve landmark status for St. Brigid Church and despite the academy's requests to remove the church from the historic registry, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to grant partial landmark status to the church. In its October 3, 2006 ruling, the board accorded St. Brigid Church historic landmark status for its exterior and left open the question about preserving the church's interior features.
The interior would later gain landmark status, but the Diocese had already removed important statuary by that time. The former church is now used for classroom space, and the large interior space is used as a lecture hall. Other than statuary removed by the Diocese, the interior remained intact. The Academy has since replaced the roof and repaired interior features that had been severely damaged by water infiltration.
Expulsion of student writer 
In December 2003, the academy expelled a student for writing a story in a creative writing class featuring a male serial killer who dismembered his female victims. The victims in the story happened to be the student's classmates and his instructor, information that was not made public. Jan Richman, the student's instructor and an award-winning poet and former recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, became concerned about the subject matter of the student's fictional story.
Richman referred the matter to her department's coordinator, seeking advice and guidance for how to handle the student's submission. The department coordinator suggested that Richman could recommend that the student read the first chapter of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold as a way to initiate discussion about the power of violence in artful storytelling. Richman also supplemented the academy-approved text books with reading assignments from Girl With Curious Hair, a short story by award-winning author David Foster Wallace. When the academy's administration office later learned of the student's graphic short story, the academy expelled the student. The academy also referred the student's graphic story to the homicide division of the San Francisco Police Department for criminal profiling. Richman lost her job after the academy accused her of violating school policy when she assigned textbooks not approved in advance for the course, although no official policy existed at that time to govern use of supplemental materials.
Alan Kaufman, another faculty member at the academy and author of Jew Boy and Matches, took up the cause of the student's expulsion and Richman's firing by organizing protests against the academy's response. Kaufman was later dismissed from his job at the academy because of his role in leading protests about the controversy. In support of Kaufman's protest against the student's expulsion, authors Stephen King and Salman Rushdie (at the time, Rushdie was President of the PEN American Center) wrote letters of protest concerning the academy's handling of the matter. The academy defended its actions to expel the student and to request criminal profiling of that student's story by arguing that its actions were a response to the Columbine High School shootings and the September 11 attacks. After the Virginia Tech Massacre in April 2007, the press pointed to the Academy of Art University as an example of a school that was assailed for expelling students for the use of threatening language. Sallie Hunting, the school's vice president for public relations, stated that the incident at Virginia Tech made evident that schools should observe with more alarm students' use of what she called threatening language. Hunting also noted that, although laws existed to protect a person's right to privacy, safety issues might sometimes present the need to look deeper to balance this issue with security concerns.
During the protests, Starving Artist, the academy's student newspaper, covered the story about the student's expulsion. After the student editor of Starving Artist approached the academy about covering the protests, the academy granted the student newspaper permission to cover the protests in two parts so that story could be reported with equal weight on both sides of the controversy. In its initial coverage of the protests, Starving Artist featured the headline "Safety from What?" on its front page, along with a photo of a student with a taped-over mouth who wore the sign "At the Academy of Art ... Students = Credit Cards." The student newspaper also printed an editorial that compared the academy's response to fears that erupted during the September 11 attacks. To quell the ongoing disruption of protests on the campus, the academy shut down the student newspaper after it seized the undistributed newspaper copies featuring the provocative headline and withdrew permission for the newspaper to cover and print the remaining story. After permission was revoked, students used their own funds to print another edition of the paper without the approval of the Academy.
Battling the faculty union 
During late 1970s-early 1980s, the faculty at the then Academy of Art College formed a union, certified by the National Labor Relations Board as the California Federation of Art Teachers. After many attempts by the school and a protracted legal battle to prevent the union from becoming active, the National Labor Relations Board prevailed in federal court and secured back pay for many instructors who were fired illegally in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
Notable alumni 
- Asencio, figurative painter represented by Crown Thorn Publishing, graduated from the Academy of Art University.
- Chris Milk, music video director for artists U2, Green Day, Kanye West, Gnarls Barkley, John Mellencamp, Modest Mouse, and Chemical Brothers, among others.
- Alejandro Lalinde, cinematographer of music videos for such talents as Ne-Yo, LL Cool J, Lil Wayne, and Nas, among others.
- Deanne Fitzmaurice, a BFA graduate of the Academy and a staff photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in feature photography for her photo essay of efforts by Children's Hospital Oakland to treat an Iraqi boy for life threatening injuries sustained in an explosion.
- Kara Laricks, fashion design
- Mari Matsumoto, an MFA School of Fashion graduate of the Academy who was mentioned by Forbes Magazine as one of "five future fashion designers to watch."
- The design works of the Academy's current and former students – Natasha Shah, Malia McGlothlin Pawsey, Jessica Thompson, Jennifer Bolanos, and Tianyu Li – were featured on the Home and Garden Television (HGTV) show Designer Finals.
- Lee Cheol-ha, a MFA School of Motion Pictures & Television, director of the feature films in South Korea.
- Jason Sperling – creator of the “Get a Mac” ads received an Advertising MFA (1998) from Academy of Art University.
- Kourtny Hicks – member of the iPod Nano Design team
- Ian Takahashi – Cinematographer on Sleeping Dogs Lie
- Chris Cortez – Winner of The Cut, Tommy Hilfiger’s CBS reality show
- Anna Sheffield – Creator of the Bing Bang jewelry line
- Moby Francke – Art lead at Valve Software; Team Fortress 2 art director
- Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag, of The Hills, became acquainted as freshmen at Academy of Art University in 2004
- Chris Morley - Visual Effects Supervisor at Tippett Studio, Emmy Award Nominated for Best Visual Effects in a Supporting Role 2012 for Hemingway & Gellhorn 
- Emily Allis- former track and field athlete and world famous physical therapy aide
Notable faculty and staff 
- Tsutomu "Tom" Matano, Director of the School of Industrial Design/ "Father" of the Mazda MX-5
- Diane Baker, Executive Director of the School of Motion Pictures & Television / Acting and veteran Hollywood actress
- Jan Yanehiro, Director of the School of Multimedia Communications and televisions first Asian-American broadcaster.
- Lanny Liu, illustrator of webcomic Single Asian Female
- Lindsey Yamasaki, former basketball player at Stanford and the WNBA who currently coaches the Academy's women's basketball team
- Terryl Whitlatch, illustration instructor who has worked extensively as a creature designer on the Star Wars prequels, where she worked directly with George Lucas
- Eli Harris, illustration instructor who was part of the Sketch Travel book project, along with Enrico Casarosa.
See also 
- College close-up: Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California. (2006). Peterson’s, a Nelnet Company. Retrieved December 15, 2006.
- Lloyd, C. (September 14, 2004). The creative landlord: The Academy of Art University runs a bustling dormitory business in downtown SF. The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 24, 2006.
- Academy of Art University: Majors & Degrees (2011). Academy of Art University. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- Statement of accreditation status: Academy of Art University. (July 19, 2007). Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Retrieved July 24, 2007.
- NASAD member list. (2006). National Association of Schools of Art and Design. (2006). Retrieved December 16, 2006.
- Database of institutions accredited by recognized U.S. accrediting organizations: Academy of Art University. (2006). Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Retrieved December 16, 2006.
- Accredited Program History. Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- Architecture programs: Academy of Art University. (2006). National Architectural Accrediting Board. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- "NCAA Division II Changes". St. Mary's University, Texas. August 1, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
- "NCAA gives PacWest, Academy of Art, Dominican vote of confidence". Pacific West Conference. August 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
- "Academy of Art Approved For NCAA Candidacy Year Two". Academy of Art University. July 13, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
- "New members for 2012–13 could include Association’s first Canadian school". NCAA. July 13, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
- Whiting, Sam (September 28, 2007). Making art pay. The San Francisco Chronicle, SFGate, September 28, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-26 from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/09/30/CMUVRHOG3.DTL and on 2012-08-08 from http://www.sfgate.com/magazine/article/Making-Art-Pay-2537804.php.
- Duxbury, Sarah (November 29, 2007). Art academy draws up big expansion. South Florida Business Journal, November 29, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-26 from http://southflorida.bizjournals.com/southflorida/othercities/sanfrancisco/stories/2007/12/03/story1.html?b=1196658000%5E1557724.
- Hurwitt, R. (June 23, 2007). Black theater company's home in S.F. threatened. The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 23, 2007.
- Hamlin, J. (June 27, 2007). Art academy offers to help pay theater to relocate: Lorraine Hansberry signed away lease options for free rent. The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 1, 2007.
- Herel, S. (February 3, 2005). Supes seek to save St. Brigid Church landmark status could thwart archdiocese plan to raze, sell land to pay abuse suits. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 25, 2007.
- Resolution 110-05: Resolution to initiate the designation of 2151 Van Ness Avenue, St. Brigid Church, as a landmark, File No. 050194. (February 11, 2005). Planning Department, City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Retrieved on June 6, 2007 (Adobe Acrobat Reader required for viewing).
- Supervisors vote to preserve part of St. Brigid Church. (October 3, 2005). ABC 7 News, KGO-TV (San Francisco, CA). Retrieved January 25, 2007.
- Marshall, C. (April 2, 2006). Their church shut and now sold, parishioners fight on. The New York Times. Retrieved on June 6, 2007.
- Ordinance No. 263-06: Ordinance to designate 2151 Van Ness Avenue, St. Brigid Church, as a landmark under Planning Code Article 10, Amendment of the whole in Board 10/3/06, File No. 051772. (October 24, 2006). Planning Department, City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Retrieved on June 6, 2007 (Adobe Acrobat Reader required for viewing).
- Final action minutes of the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board Meeting. (October 4, 2006). Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, City and County of San Francisco, California. Retrieved December 17, 2006.
- Brahinsky, R. (April 14, 2004). Expelling edgy writers. San Francisco Bay Guardian, 38(29). Retrieved December 24, 2006.
- Sullivan, J. (March 25, 2004).James Sullivan (March 25, 2004). "A work of art or a harbinger of violence? Grisly short story gets student expelled from S.F. academy – and costs teacher her job.". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 2, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
- Snyder, M.D. (2004, July–August). State of the profession: Dread risk in San Francisco. Academe Magazine, 90(4). Retrieved September 9, 2007.
- People profile: Alan Kaufman. (n.d.). KQED Arts & Culture. Retrieved December 20, 2006.
- Brahinsky, R. (2004). Censorship on campus: The Academy of Art University compounds its student-expulsion controversy by shutting down the student newspaper. San Francisco Bay Guardian, 38(38). Retrieved December 17, 2006.
- Benson, H. (April 8, 2004). Class takes to street to protest censorship: Academy of Art's expulsion of pupil angers authors, too. The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
- Stancill, J. & Clark, L. (April 18, 2007). Cho was a known psychological problem, but he'd broken no laws. McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved on July 4, 2007.
- Martin D. Snyder (July–August 2004). "State of the Profession: Dread Risk in San Francisco". Academe.
- MICHAEL CHABON (April 13, 2004). "Solitude and the Fortresses of Youth". The New York Times.
- Justin Hayford (January 26, 2007). "The Ethics of Self-Preservation". The Chicago Reader.
- Stephens Institute, d/b/a Academy of Art College, 241 N.L.R.B. 454 (1979).
- Stephens Institute, d/b/a Academy of Art College v. Nat'l Labor Relations Bd., 620 F.2d 720 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 953, 101 S. Ct. 358, 66 L. Ed. 2d 217 (1980). Retrieved January 21, 2007 from the Lexis-Nexis Academic database.
- "Artworks of Henry Ascencio". Crown Thorn Publishing. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- Chris Milk Official Site. The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
-  Alejandro Lalinde Official Site. Retrieved August 24, 2009.
- The 2005 Pulitzer prize winners – feature photography: Deanne Fitzmaurice. The Pulitzer Prizes, Columbia University. Retrieved December 17, 2006.
- Operation Lion Heart. (2005). The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 24, 2006.
- Dunhill, Heather. "Qs for Fashion Star's Kara Larick". Heather Dunhill's Fashion IQ. Sarasota Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- Tang, S. (September 15, 2006). Connoisseur's guide: Ones to watch. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved December 17, 2006.
- Designer Finals, Home and Garden Television (HGTV). See Designer Finals interviews of Natasha Shah (episode 105), Malia McGlothlin Pawsey (episode 108), Jessica Thompson (episode 110), Jennifer Bolanos (episode 205) and Tianyu Li (episode 209).
- IMDB:Cheol-ha Lee (June 16, 2008). IMDB. Retrieved March 5, 2007.
- 2009 Sonoma International Film Festival ScreenDaily. Retrieved Mar 28, 2009.
- Sonoma Film Festival Selections indiewire.com. Retrieved Mar 29, 2009.
- http://www.academyart.edu/news/academynews.jsp?type=CampusNews&article=/news/campus_news_0420.html Academy Alum's 'Get a Mac' Named Campaign of the Decade – Academy of Art University Website
- http://alumni.academyart.edu/assets/Alumni_Newsletter_FA_08v2.pdf Academy of Art Alumni Newsletter
- http://alumni.academyart.edu/assets/pdf/A_Journal_09_FALL_ISSUE.pdf Academy of Art Alumni Newsletter
- http://www.academyart.edu/news/mktg_news0070.html Jewelry Artist Anna Sheffield Featured in W Magazine Academy of Art University Website
- "Executive Director of the School of Motion Pictures & Television / Acting". Academy of Art University. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- Pang, Angela. "New Comic Strip Seeks Single Asian Female Perspective." AsianWeek. November 10, 2006. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
- "2008–2009 Women's Basketball Coaching Staff". Academy of Art University. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- "Highly Celebrated Terryl Whitlatch Joins Illustration Department". Academy of Art University. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
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