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

Since the Campaign for Cornish began in 2002, we have transformed the college by moving five academic departments to our new urban campus and added a theater and new classroom spaces. We have increased enrollment from 653 students at the start of the Campaign to 830 students today. We have transformed our role in the community through active partnerships with the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center and Virginia Mason Hospital to provide on-site visual art exhibitions of student work.

We recently partnered with the Behnke Foundation to steward the Neddy at Cornish Awards, an annual artist award program supported by the Behnke Foundation and housed at Cornish that awards two $25,000 unrestricted awards—one in painting and one in any medium or combination of media grounded in the visual arts—to artists living and working in the greater Puget Sound region.

A critical need for Cornish is to build our Annual Scholarship Fund, providing scholarship support for Cornish students—gifted emerging artists in the visual and performing arts. Support for emerging artists is truly an investment in the future of the arts and the future of this community.


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