College for Creative Studies

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College for Creative Studies
Type Private
Established 1906
President[5] Richard Rogers
Undergraduates 1,339
Location Detroit, Michigan,  United States
Campus Urban
Colors PMS 109 (Gold), PMS 276 (Deep Purple)
Mascot Watson Peacock
Website CCS Website

College for Creative Studies (CCS) is a private, fully accredited college, that enrolls more than 1,400 students, pursuing Master of Fine Arts degrees in Color and Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design and Transportation Design and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Advertising: Copywriting, Advertising: Design, Art Education, Crafts, Entertainment Arts, Fashion Accessories Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design and Transportation Design. The College also offers free art education for more than 4,000 Detroit youth annually through its Community Arts Partnerships program. In addition, the College’s Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies is a public charter middle and high school enrolling more than 800 students in a high-performance academic curriculum with a special focus on art and design. [1][2]

Early years[edit]

The College for Creative Studies traces its heritage back to 1906 when a group of local civic leaders, inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement, formed the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. The Society’s mission was to keep the ideals of beauty and craftsmanship alive in what was rapidly becoming an industrialized world. At their original location on Farmer Street, Society members began teaching informal classes in basic design, drawing and woodcarving. In 1911, they opened a gallery where students as well as prominent modern artists displayed and sold their work.

As Detroit’s creative community continued to take root, the Society recognized the need to expand. They moved to a larger location on Watson Street (1916),[3] and 10 years later became one of the first arts and crafts organizations to offer a formal, four-year program in art (1926). Within a year, the Art School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts grew to an enrollment of 280 students.

Much of the school’s success was attributed to its close integration of rigorous courses with progression of the art and design movements and world-class, contemporary exhibitions. In addition to hiring talented, local artists and designers, the school sought renowned painters, sculptors and craftspeople from around the world to teach courses. In 1933, the Society’s gallery garnered national media attention as one of the first art institutions to recognize the automobile as an art form. This was around the same time that programs in industrial design and commercial art were introduced to the school’s curriculum.


The school relocated for a third time in 1958 to its current location near the city’s cultural center. The move provided students with more convenient access to the Detroit Institute of Arts. All classes and offices were initially housed in the Arts & Crafts building designed by Minoru Yamasaki.[4]

In 1962, the school officially became a college when the Michigan Department of Education authorized the institution to offer of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in industrial design. Eight years later, the College was awarded the right to provide degrees in all of their major programs. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) granted original accreditation in 1972, and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) granted regional accreditation in 1977.

The next four decades brought about several significant changes to the campus. In 1975, construction of the architectural award-winning Kresge-Ford Building was completed, and the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts changed its name to the Center for Creative Studies—College of Art and Design. The school acquired an apartment building adjacent to campus (the Art Centre building) in 1988 that serves as the main dormitory on campus and the building that formerly housed Detroit’s African American Museum of History in 1997 that was later transformed into the Academic Resource Center (now the Manoogian Visual Resource Center), which contains the Center Galleries and library. A parking structure was added to the campus in 1999, and in the fall of 2001, the college inaugurated the Walter B. Ford II building for design and technology-driven disciplines. The donation to fund this project was the largest ever given to an art college at the time. That year, two historic homes on the northern side of campus were also renovated to accommodate administration and admissions offices.


In 2001 CCS changed its name to the College for Creative Studies to more clearly communicate its identity as an accredited, degree-granting “college.”

The Josephine F. Ford Sculpture Garden[5] was added in the fall of 2005 to provide a gathering place for the campus community, and in 2007, the College renovated another home on historic Ferry Street to house the Institutional Advancement and Human Resources offices.

In 2008, CCS embarked on a $145 million redevelopment of the 760,000 sq. ft. historic Argonaut Building (formerly General Motors’ first research and design studio). Located in Detroit’s New Center district (about a mile from the original Walter and Josephine Ford Campus in Midtown), the building serves as the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education. The Taubman Center is home to the College’s five undergraduate design departments, graduate degree programs and the Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies, an art and design charter school for middle and high school students. This second campus site has enabled CCS to expand its curriculum to include new areas of the creative industries, improve facilities for all of its departments and connect with the local community through the Detroit Creative Corridor Center.

The original Ford campus continues to house arts and crafts disciplines as well as the majority of administrative offices. In 2007, Bloomberg Business Week listed CCS among the top design schools in the world.[6]



The College for Creative Studies is a nonprofit, private college authorized by the Michigan Education Department to grant Bachelor’s and master's degrees. CCS is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Documents regarding accreditation are available in the Executive Office upon formal request. In order to make the accreditation process responsive to a broad range of constituents, the accrediting agencies invite the public to provide written comments about the College's qualifications for continued accreditation. If you wish to comment, please contact either agency by letter or email.[7]

Bachelor of Fine Arts[edit]

Currently CCS offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in 13 majors: Advertising: Copywriting, Advertising: Design, Entertainment Arts (Character and Experimental Animation, Video and Live Action, and Game Art), Art Education, Crafts, Fine Arts, Fashion Accessories Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design, and Transportation Design.[8]

At CCS, first-year students can enter their chosen department and concentrate their studies in one area or spend their first semester undeclared and take an orientation class to learn about the 13 studio majors. While students are immersed in their chosen area of study immediately upon entering CCS, they are also encouraged to take classes outside of their major to broaden their skills. Students are required to take courses in our foundation program to help establish the basics and give students a taste of the different paths they can follow. Additionally, students will take courses in liberal arts to help make their studies as well rounded as possible and have the option to choose an academic minor or the business concentration.

Each department emphasizes four distinct components of a visual arts education: technical skill, aesthetic sensibility, conceptual ability, and practical experience, combining studio and academic classes with more individualized instruction. The College also offers noncredit courses in the visual arts through its Continuing Education programs and opportunities for youth through Community Arts Partnerships.[9]

Master of Fine Arts[edit]

The College's MFA degrees in Color & Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design and Transportation Design are terminal degrees that prepare students for leadership in industries that rely on design. The MFA degree programs share core curricula, with variations in technology components, and the focus and content of industry sponsored projects.

The MFA degree requires completion of 60 credit hours. Distinctive among MFA programs in the United States, CCS's graduate programs are grounded in the conviction that the most effective designers are those who have a firm grasp of the business world.[10]


CCS is located in Detroit's Midtown, where students will find a variety of activities near campus to enrich their studies and provide entertainment. The Detroit Film Theatre and the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of the largest art museums in the country, are both located next to CCS's Walter and Josephine Ford campus. Admission to the DIA is free for CCS students. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the largest of its kind in the country, is also located next to campus. University and public libraries, galleries, great restaurants, and live music venues showcasing indie rock, hip hop, techno, folk, jazz and blues also can be found close by.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Hermidas Atabeyki – yacht designer, Atabeyki Sarl[11]
  • Kevin Beasley - Artist
  • Emily Berger – travel photographer and owner ee berger photography[12]
  • Harry Bertoia - Italian-born artist, sculptor, and modern furniture designer.
  • Michael Bush – puppetry, sculptor, co-writer and co-creator at Flying Boy Productions[13]
  • Jackson Cavanaugh – owner, Okay Type and Design[14]
  • Doug Chiang - American film designer and artist
  • Kevin T Chin – senior concept artist, Kingsisle Entertainment[15]
  • Donald Crum – animator, Pixar[16]
  • Stephen Dinehart – designer
  • Rob Elrick – owner, Elrick Bass Guitars[17]
  • Wendy Froud - doll-artist, sculptor, and puppet-maker
  • Marc Gabbana – concept artist and illustrator[18]
  • Courtney Gaff- artist[19]
  • Jennifer Gave – co-owner, Capacity[20]
  • Ellery Gave – co-owner, Capacity[20]
  • Serge Gay – illustrator, Grammy Nominee[21]
  • Ralph Gilles[22] - President and CEO of the Street and Racing Technology/Motorsports and Senior Vice President of Design at Chrysler Group LLC
  • Tyree Guyton - Noted artist behind the Heidelberg Project
  • Dave Hardin – senior character animator, DreamWorks[23]
  • Chris Houghton – comic book artist and character designer, Disney[24]
  • David Lyon - designer, Pocketsquare Design[25]
  • Jason Mayden – senior global design director, Nike Brand Jordan[26]
  • Paul Mobley – photographer and owner Paul Mobley Studio
  • Richard Nicolson – co-owner, Nicolson and Associates[27]
  • Craig Paul Nowak – artist, ArtPrize Entry[28]
  • Joel Piaskowski – director of design, Ford Motor Company[29]
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub-known for playing Chloe O'brian in the Fox action-thriller 24
  • Teckla Rhodes – executive director, global industrial design, General Motors[30]
  • Derek Richmond – freelance photographer[31]
  • Jenny Risher – fashion photographer, owner Jenny Risher photography[32]
  • Melissa (Endress) Rodriguez – interior designer, Studios of Melissa Rodriguez[33]
  • Patrick Schiavone[34] - Vice President, Design, North America Region for Whirlpool Corporation
  • Veronika Scott[35] - 2012 New Frontier Award winner
  • Jay Shuster – art director, Pixar[36]
  • Greg Shamus – sports photographer and owner, Greg Shamus Photography[37]
  • Kevin Siembieda - co-founder of Palladium Books
  • Sarah Strader – owner, Sarah Strader Textiles[38]
  • B. K. Taylor - Illustrator and writer noted for his Odd Rods trading stickers, illustrations for Sick magazine and National Lampoon, and his writing for Home Improvement


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  2. ^ "Our History". Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
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  4. ^ "Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts Building". Michigan State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
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  7. ^ "Accreditation". College for Creative Studies. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  8. ^ "Undergraduate Programs (BFA)". College for Creative Studies. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  9. ^ "About Detroit Community Arts Partnerships". Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "Graduate Programs (MFA)". College for Creative Studies. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
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  34. ^ "Pat Schiavone, Ford Flex and F150 designer, resigns". Autoblog. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  35. ^ "Veronika Scott wins JFK New Frontier Award". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  36. ^ "Jay Shuster from Pixar". 21 July 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  37. ^ "Portfolio - Gregory Shamus". Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  38. ^ "Welcome". Sarah Strader Design. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 

External links[edit]