Overview

The Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Arts and Design was founded in 1958 under the former Ministry of Education and Fine Arts.  The School has been the only school of its kind in Ethiopia where talented students were trained to become professional artists and art teachers.  The subjects taught were limited to the basics of drawing, painting, sculpture, commercial art and art education.

In 1975, major changes to its program were made, especially in the curriculum, in order to include specialization in graphic art.  At the same time, the School upgraded its entrance requirements by admitting only students who completed 10th grade and above, and also passed the art aptitude test of the School.

The most significant change, however, occurred in 1998 when the School has upgraded and subsequently affiliated to the Addis Ababa University.  A new curriculum for BFA program was designed. The degree program started in 2000, and consisted of five departments, namely Painting Department, Sculpture Department, Printmaking Department, Industrial Design Department and Art Education Department.

Under the University’s general institutional restructuring which took place recently, Alle School of Fine Arts and Design underwent an all-rounded transformation process in the amalgamation of the Yared Music School and the Theatrical Arts Department under one college named SkunderBoghossian College of Performing and Visual Arts.  Besides changing the name, it heldrelevant discussions and conducted needed research on the critical needs of stakeholders in various related industrial sectors and educational institutions including universities and colleges across the country and other sectors such as leather and textile industries, tourist trading enterprises, printing presses and different service-offering companies. Consequently, in consultation with the abovementioned major stakeholders and further analysis of recent understandings in visual art teaching processes, the school revised its curriculum to train more qualified and better-equipped professional artists, designers and art educators in a way that they could balance and satisfy the urgent need of professionals.

The rationale behind modularizing the curriculum was the urgent need in the shift away from the traditional method of instruction to enable and maximize student learning and performance. Accordingly, the school changed its teaching-learning methodology to a modular format in the year 2012.

Currently, the School has been highly engaged in exploring possibilities to refine the quality of art education and create critical platforms in which local and international creative, educational and professional thoughts can be discussed and performed through the understanding of contemporary arts. The School has two graduate programs in Fine Arts and Film Production fields, both of which have been approved to be launched in 2014/15 (2007 EC) academic year.

The College of Performing and Visual Arts was formed comprising the School of Theatre Arts, the Yared School of Music and the School of Fine Arts and Design, the Cultural Center and Modern Art Museum, Gebre-KirestosDesta Center in 2010. The units under the College had been functioning separately for decades. Their independent contributions to the advancement of arts in Ethiopia have been enormous. However, it was studied and decided that the units should be placed together under an umbrella of a College which can strengthen the already-existing activities and integrate them. The amalgamation of the units under one college is strongly believed to integrate artistic activities in the University.

Since its establishment, the College has done extraordinary artistic activities. Staff and students of the YofthaheNigussie School of Theatre Arts and Yared School of Music, for instance, have collaborated in the presentation of more than three musical drama productions in the last two years. There are also a number of artistic ventures going on.

The College has also extended its collaboration with national and international institutions which are promising in the area of research, artistic production and other collaborations. Relationships have been forgedwith the University of Illinois, USA, Tshwane University of Science and Technology, South Africa, The Ethiopian National Theatre, Goethe Institute and the House of Federation.