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Ontario College of Art & Design

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The Ontario College of Art & Design showing the Sharp Centre for Design

The Ontario College of Art & Design is Ontario's premier school devoted entirely to art and design. It is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. With a student body of approximately 2,200, the school is small, with a low student/faculty ratio (16:1).

Founded in 1876 by the Ontario Society of Artists, the Ontario College of Art & Design was originally known as The Ontario School of Art. In 1912, after various name changes, the school finally adopted the name Ontario College of Art. The school retained this name for another eighty-four years before changing to its present incarnation. The change was made in recognition of the integral role design plays in a visual art education.

Throughout its history, the OCAD community has been home to many of Canada's premiere artists and designers, including Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, Michael Snow, Burton Kraemer, and Barbara Aston.

The school has often found itself at the centre of Canada's cultural and artistic nexus. At the turn of the 1980s, OCAD was a major participant in the Queen Street West scene. A new generation of artists such as General Idea, Jeremiah Chechik and Isobel Harry helped transform the run-down neighbourhood into a "Canadian Soho". The scene evolved its own version of punk/new wave, featuring acts such as Parachute Club, Molly Johnson, and alumni Martha and the Muffins and Mary Margaret O'Hara. Students gathered at the nearby Beverley Tavern to discuss politics, enjoy music and consume masses of alcohol.

In the nineties, OCAD saw an explosion of creative talent in its design faculty. Its award-winning student periodical, White Space, drew nation-wide attention.

OCAD offers programs leading to either a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) or a BDes (Bachelor of Design); the school's most popular majors include Drawing and Painting, Graphic Design, Integrated Media, Industrial Design, and Advertising.

The school is located on McCaul Street beside the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 2004 work was completed on a new expansion. The "Sharp Centre for Design", deisgned by architect Will Alsop, has been called the "floating shoebox". It consists of a box several stories off the ground supported by a series of multi-coloured pillars at different angles.

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