The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

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The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
Ai logo large.png
The universal Art Institute logo
Type Nonprofit institution [1][2]
Established 1968
Chairman John R. McKernan, Jr.
President Carolyn Pierce
Dean Eric Watson
Founder Mark. K. Wheeler
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 1,000+
Undergraduates 1,000+
Location Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
26°06′00″N 80°07′19″W / 26.100°N 80.122°W / 26.100; -80.122Coordinates: 26°06′00″N 80°07′19″W / 26.100°N 80.122°W / 26.100; -80.122
Colors Red and Black          
Affiliations The Art Institutes

The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (AiFL) is a nonprofit institution owned and operated by Dream Center Education Holdings (DCEH), LLC[3][4] in southeast urban Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Founded in 1968 by the late Mark K. Wheeler, it is the second Art Institute of a current 50 to be established in North America. The campus is composed of 16 art departments, two applied-art schools, The International Culinary School, the Chef's Palette restaurant and one dormitory complex. Nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the college is licensed to award Bachelor of Science and Associate of Science degrees, and diplomas. Courses are taught by industry professionals.



The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale was realized by Mark K. Wheeler and officially opened for admission in September 1968 in eastern Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. It would be the second Art Institute establishment following the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, founded in 1921; initially only offering diplomas in Commercial Art, Interior Design, and Fashion Illustration and remaining unaccredited. This status would span a duration of 18 months until in April 1971 when the college would be granted accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Trade and Technical Schools of the Career College Association. Two years later, in November 1973, the school was purchased from Wheeler by the Education Management Corporation.[5]


In February 1975, two years after its purchase by the EDMC, the school became licensed by the State Board of Independent Postsecondary Vocational, Technical, Trade, and Business Schools. It wouldn't be for another four years in 1979, however, that the State of Florida officially recognized the school and gave it authorization to award Associate of Science degrees. For the next seven years, the college did not see any significant changes, until in May 1986 when the decision was made to relocate the school from Las Olas Boulevard to 1799 SE 17th Street. The following year, the State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities granted the school authorization to award Bachelor degrees and in 1989, the college broadened its facilities at 1650 SE 17 Street; establishing the modern campus it has today.[5]


The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale campus offers programs in Design, Media Arts, Culinary and Fashion, has a student-run restaurant the Chef's Palette, and has two, off-campus housing establishments. The school's library is the Nevin C. Meinhardt Memorial Library.

Student activities[edit]


The college has a variety of art groups for students to participate in or become members of in; most of which respectively involve students and their particular field of study.

Student government[edit]

There has been no student government for years. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale offers student government participation and voting rights to all enrolled students at the college. Students are given the opportunity to help the faculty plan and organize social activities and events for recreational or educational purposes.[6]

Radio station[edit]

There has been no station for over 10 years. WAiF is the college's radio station for The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale run by the students and faculty of the broadcasting department.[7]

Nevin C. Meinhardt Memorial Library[edit]

The library is a vibrant, single location for students to access the resources they need to succeed as a student and to develop as a knowledgeable industry professional. The library contains over 19,000 books, 250 magazine titles, 8900 visual references, and thousands of unique items. The library also subscribes to a core of online resources including digitized journal articles, fashion forecasting resources, stock images, software training tutorials, market research reports, company information, and art information. Access to these resources and the library's online catalog are available to students through their campus portal account and the library's website.

Chef's Palette[edit]

'The Chef's Palette Café & Grill', is the public campus restaurant, operated by the students and faculty of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.


The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale offers housing for students who prefer to live on campus. Supervised 24 hours a day, these facilities are located about five miles from the college and are available for students who prefer a more traditional and residential student life. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale is a member of the International Association of College and University Housing Officers.

Accreditation and licensing[edit]

Institutional accreditation[edit]

"The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale is a senior college accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to award diplomas, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees." [8]

Programmatic accreditation[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Roy Rossello – singer and former member of Menudo.
  • Paula DaSilva – chef at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach and first running-up contestant on Season 5 of Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series).
  • Julie Ruiz – Director of Off-Air Design for VH1
  • David Diaz (illustrator) – children's book illustrator.
  • Tony DiTerlizzi – fantasy artist known for his work in the Spiderwick Chronicles.
  • Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, owners of 2 Dudes Catering and former hosts on Food Network.
  • Sam Fogarino – drummer of Interpol.
  • Carol Guzy – three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist.
  • Cecil Hayes – published Interior Designer whose clients have included Samuel L. Jackson and Timbaland.
  • Donald Hansen, Jr. – 1998–2000 Suncoast Emmy Award winner, 2000 PROMAX Award Winner, 2007 Suncoast Emmy Award nominee – broadcast Engineer and Video Editor.
  • Rey Alonso – industrial designer, founder and design director of Nocturnal Rooster Design
  • Erin Lee – South Florida Radio Personality: 101.5 LITE FM and Magic 102.7
  • Raul De Molina – photography – on-air personality for daytime Gossip/Talk show on Univision.
  • Jorge Dominguez – broadcast creative director/set designer. 13 Emmy Awards, 19 nominations, BDA/Promax Awards: 8 Bronze, 5 Silver, 4 Gold.
  • Edward Porter – Emmy Award-winning VFX Artist,Actor, Animator and Illustrator. Best known for his portrayal of "Daniel" on the hit reality show "Parco P.I."
  • Jonathan Prentice – industrial designer / ADEX Design Award Winner: Reflex Design, Inc. Decolav, Inc., Suite Simplicity, LLC., Twin-Star International
  • Jaime Ledesma, Jr – broadcasting – on-air personality for morning radio show, actor and director.
  • Lisa Pickens Quinn – actress, author and set designer.
  • David "Contigo" Roman – South Florida Radio Station Mega 94.9 disc jockey.
  • Pedro Sostre – dntrepreneur and author of Web Analytics for Dummies.[9]
  • Venus Williams – fashion designer and professional tennis player.
  • Keven Norris – visual effects artist.
  • Dean Velez – two-time Emmy Award-winning Motion Graphics Artist.[10]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Official websites[edit]

Other websites[edit]