Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts（GAFA），the only one of its kind in South China, is the predecessor of Central South College of Fine Arts, a merger of South China Institute of Art and Literature in Guangzhou, Central South Institute of Art and Literature in Wuhan, and the Guangxi Institute of Art. The merger, which was initiated in 1953, moved to Guangzhou in 1958 and was renamed as Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. In the same year, the school began to enroll undergraduate students. The Academy, which once operated under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, is now directly under the provincial government of Guangdong.
In 1981, it was authorized to award master’s degree and began to matriculate graduate students.
In 1987, it began to enroll overseas students and those from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.
In 2005, it was chosen as one of the first academies in China to offer the Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
In 2010, it was chosen as a candidate for PhD program by Guangdong Provincial Department of Education.
The Academy consists of School of Traditional Chinese Painting, School of Fine Arts, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, School of Industrial Design, School of Visual Communication and Media Design, School of Art Education, School of Arts and Humanities, College of Continuing Education, and Section of Political Science. The bachelor degree education includes 11 disciplines and 38 directions, such as painting, sculpture, fine arts, art design, industrial design, architecture, photography, animation, fashion design & engineering, museology, and the like. The Master degree studies boasts three degree programs (Fine Arts Studies, Design Studies, and Art Studies), and one professional Master degree program. Fine Arts Studies belongs to the province’s core disciplines, and Art & Design Studies is one of the Academy’s core disciplines and a candidate for the province’s core disciplines. Art & Design, Painting, Industrial Design and Sculpture belong to the special State-level disciplines promulgated by the Ministry of Education, and the Fine Arts Studies and four others are special province-level disciplines. Watercolor Painting, Sculpture Making, Oil Painting, Design Basics, and Advertisement Creation belong to the Province’s special courses. The school has been presiding over Guangdong Colleges and Universities’ Special Commission for the Education of Fine Arts and Design, and Guangdong Colleges and Universities’ Special Commission for the Teaching of Industrial Design. Also, it is the Province’s art training base and the Province’s fine arts and design center. Moreover, it is center for the research of the visual design & integration for the 16th Asian Games. Last but not least, it is a center for the research and development of the province’s creative industries.
The Academy, which consists of Changgang Campus and University Town Campus, occupies an area of 564mu and the floor space totals 362,500 square meters. The library houses an abundance of art books, journals, replicas, rubbings of ancient bronze and stone carvings, and rare thread-bound Chinese books. It boasts a collection of more than 400,000 books, 157,000 electronic books, and 15 databases. The school has three galleries with the displaying running line totaling 2,000 meters and an sculpture exhibition lot of 1,015 square meters. The library treasures up more than 10,000 pieces of rare works of art dating back to the Tang Dynasty, and includes some modern works.
The Academy boasts a host of renowned masters in the history of contemporary Chinese art: Hu Yichuan, Guan Shanyue, Li Xiongcai, Wang Zhaomin, Gao Yongjian, Chen Shaofeng, Pan He, Yang Zhiguang, Chi Ke, Guo Shaogang, Chen Jinzhang, Liang Mingcheng, Yin Dingbang, Wang Shouzhi, Zhang Zhi’an, Li Ming, Zhao Jian, Fang Chuxiong, Guo Runwen, and the like. Now the school has 54 professors and 116 associate professors. Among the staff members, some are entitled to a special allowance from the State Council, and some work as chief or deputy chief of the art committee of the Chinese Artists’ Association, and some are members of the Chinese Fine Arts and Design Council.
Altogether there is a student population of more than 7,600, which consists of 5,127 regular undergraduate students, 462 full-time graduate students, 60 serving graduate students, and 1,960 students of adult education. The Academy stresses the students’ creative power and their capability for hands-on practice. There are 38 fieldwork bases, 3 experimental teaching centers (including 29 laboratories), 1 base for the model joint training of graduate students, 1 base for the model combination of production, study, and research, and 2 centers for model experimental teaching. All the said bases have provided excellent conditions for the teaching and fieldwork of the school.
The school attaches great importance to academic research and artistic creation. In the past five years, the staff members won hundreds of top national prizes, including Chinese Fine Arts Award—Lifetime Achievement Award, Chinese Fine Arts Award —Theory-Review Award, Chinese Fine Arts Award—Creation Award, the first prize of the National Physical Art Exhibition, the excellent prize of academic research by the Ministry of Education, the first prize of China Lanting Calligraphy Award, and so on. Also, it gained several art research projects from the National Social Sciences Fund, and a few Humanities and Social Sciences Research Projects from the Ministry of Education.
All the students of the Academy have done their part to develop the economy of Guangdong. The Academy has created a host of impressive art works, such as Shenzhen’s sculpture Pioneering Bull, the Changsha Orange Sandbar’s Statue of Mao Zedong in Youth, Guangdong Provincial Government’s gifts for the commemoration of Hong Kong and Macao’s return to the Motherland, the Great Hall of the People’s Guangdong Conference Hall, Xin Hai Concert Hall, Guangdong Art Galley, 2005 World Exposition’s China Hall, 2010 World Exposition’s Theme Hall, 2010 Asian Games’ mascots, core figures, color system, and the like. The Academy has entered into strategic partnership with three cities – Guangzhou, Xiamen and Zhongshan. And it has established close contacts with Guangdong Jimei Design Engineering Company, Guangdong Center for the Research and Development of Innovative Industry, and Guangdong Guangmei-Yulan Institute of Research on the Art Innovation of Soft Furnishings. The school’s social services, which involve all the areas of visual & cultural industry, will play an increasingly important part in the Pearl River Delta Region’s development in the future.
The Academy has formed ties with more than 40 institutes of fine arts from over 20 countries and regions, including Britain, Italy, the United States, France, Germany, Austria, Russia, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and so on. We send excellent teachers and students to study abroad, and invite top experts from the above countries and regions to teach, give lectures, and do research at the school.
After 58 years’ development, the Academy has formulated its guiding principles — keep up with the times, cater for social demands, integrate production into teaching and research, develop art and design education so as to serve the region’s economic, cultural, and social development. Now the school is working toward a distinctive teaching-over-research art university with its distinctive characteristics, striving for excellence at home and respect abroad.