Cornish College of the Arts 


Cornish College of the Arts embodies the highest ideals in innovation and creativity. Cornish educates emerging artists to be agents of change and are inspired to have meaningful impact in the world through art. A pioneer in arts education, Cornish College of the Arts sprang from the remarkable vision of Nellie Cornish, a woman determined to cultivate the arts in Seattle when it was scarcely more than a frontier town. Her philosophy of educating the artist through exposure to all the arts was progressive at the time, and continues to be innovative today.

Mission Statement
The mission of Cornish College of the Arts is to provide students aspiring to become practicing artists with an educational program of the highest possible quality, in an environment that nurtures creativity and intellectual curiosity, while preparing them to contribute to society as artists, citizens, and innovators.

Cornish realizes this mission by offering baccalaureate studies in the performing and visual arts and by serving as a focal point in the community for public presentation, artistic criticism, participation and discussion of the arts.
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Cornish College of the Arts
1000 Lenora St 
(206) 726-5064 

Nancy Uscher 


Cornish College of the Arts Programs

Cornish College of the Arts is one of only three private arts colleges exclusively offering undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts-fine art, design, dance, music, performance production and theater. Students enter Cornish already possessing gifts of creativity, imagination and innovation. Our programs of study-anchored in the liberal arts tradition-challenges them to find their own unique voice, think critically and teaches them to solve complex problems. This highly individualized learning teaches students agency-- how to go out in the world as leaders and innovators and shape their own lives and destinies. As part of their degree, students must complete 30 credits of study within the liberal arts and sciences through the Humanities & Sciences Department. Courses are offered in a variety of disciplines including writing, literature, history, physical sciences and social sciences.

Our location in the urban core allows students to bring their passion and training to the community and explore how to use art to solve society's challenges and what it means to contribute to the world as an artist, citizen and innovator. Students intern at a variety of organizations and collaborate with organizations on special projects.

Cornish also provides a summer program for teens that offers pre-college courses in Art + Design, Dance, Music and Theater for students ages 15-18. Summer at Cornish is a hands-on studio program in which students enhance their creative skills, gain a depth of knowledge about a particular arts discipline, develop a college portfolio, and experience a slice of college life. The program provides the critical skills, access to materials, technical training and focused study toward preparing high school youth for the rigors of college.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

With Cornish College of the Arts in the midst of its Centennial celebration, we look forward to a bright future with a host of exciting prospects. We are putting the final touches on the new Cornish Commons, a residence hall set to open in September 2015. A new generation of academic leadership is taking charge at the College, boldly forging a path of innovation that represents the latest  in pedagogic and programmatic practices in arts education. In the last year alone, we have seen the launch of a rigorous Foundations year for all of Cornish’s visual art and design students, the emergence of a new Film + Media concentration, and promising curricular reform/developments across the College. 

One area of need Cornish faces in its second century is that of a larger endowment. We are looking to significantly invest in the success of our students and the long-term health of the College by endowing faculty chairs, academic programming, and ongoing operational needs. We know that by building a stronger financial foundation for these areas, Cornish will continue to stand out as a place where our students can take risks, think big, and examine the world with the same bold, pioneering spirit that our founder, Nellie Cornish, embodied 100 years ago.


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