The predecessor of Guangzhou Academy ofFine Arts (GAFA) was Central South College of Fine Arts, a fine arts schoolestablished in Wuhan, Hubei Province in 1953 in response to the then nationalhigher education plan. It represented the merger of the Central South Instituteof Art and Literature in Wuhan, South China Institute of Art and Literature inGuangzhou and Guangxi Institute of Art. The first president of the College wasHu Yichuan, a famous revolutionary artist who participated in the renownedYan'an Literature and Art Symposium in 1942, and the first vice presidents werefamous oil painter Yang Qiuren, and famous painters of Chinese painting GuanShanyue and Yang Taiyang.
In 1958, the College was moved from Wuhanto Guangzhou and renamed Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (GAFA). In 1981, GAFAbecame one of the country’s first institutions authorized to confer master’sdegrees; in 1987, it began to recruit international students and students fromHong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. In 2005, it was approved as one of the firstpilots in China to launch Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program. In 2021, it was authorizedby the State Council Academic Degrees Committee to confer doctor’s degrees intwo first-level disciplines (Fine Arts, Design). Currently GAFA is also authorizedto confer master’s degree in three first-level disciplines (Theories of ArtStudies, Fine Arts, Design) and four majors (Art, Landscape Architecture,Cultural Heritage and Museology, Education).
GAFA adheres to Xi Jinping Thought onSocialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in its educationundertaking, and implements CPC’s education policies in fulfilling the fundamentaltask of nurturing talents with morality. Upholding the education philosophy of“being upright and innovative with an open and inclusive mindset, an insightinto the reality and an aspiration for serving the society”, GAFA has developedits own educational characteristics following over six decades of evolution.Specifically, it focuses on developing students’ innovative ability in finearts and design to meet the needs of the era and the society, and, based on thetheories of art studies and humanistic education, promotes multidisciplinaryintegration, enables interaction between professional practices, education andresearch, and actively serves the social and economic development. The motto ofGAFA is thus established as “learn morality before art”.
In the new era, GAFA is determined todevelop high-caliber talents and boost academic research and artistic creationat a higher starting point through new initiatives. To make this happen, itwill leverage the strengths of Guangdong Province as the pioneer, pilot andexperimental field of the reform and opening up policy and those of theGuangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) in historical,geographical, economic, cultural and intellectual resources. In this way, GAFAwill better serve the social development in the new era, play an active role inimplementing the national strategies like GBA development, and work towards amore promising future as driven by the country’s Belt and Road” initiative.
Enrollments: With Changgang Campus,University Town Campus and Foshan Campus (under construction), GAFA currentlyhas 12 schools and one affiliated secondary art school, which enroll a total of6,158 undergraduates and 1,124 graduates, among whom, 14 are internationalstudents.
Disciplines and Majors: Three disciplines(Fine Arts, Design, Theories of Art Studies) of GAFA were selected as KeyDisciplines under the Provincial Discipline Improvement Program, of which two first-leveldisciplines (Fine Arts, Design) were rated A and Theories of Art Studies wasrated B in an evaluation held upon expiry of the discipline construction period(2018-2020). In the fourth round of the national discipline evaluation organizedby the Ministry of Education in 2017, two first-level disciplines of GAFA, i.e.Fine Arts and Design, were rated B+ and the discipline of Theories of ArtStudies was rated B, topping the province in said disciplines and ranking highamong its peers nationwide.
In recent years, GAFA proactively respondedto the needs of national and regional socioeconomic development and pursuedknowledge innovation, S&T progress and discipline development. In view ofits positioning and actual conditions, GAFA has worked to further promote theintegration of disciplines and majors, constantly optimize the mechanism fordiscipline construction and improve talent training quality. Now it offers 29pathways in 28 majors, including Fine Arts, Painting, Sculpture, Photography,Calligraphy, Chinese Painting, Experimental Art, Art Design, VisualCommunication Design, Environmental Design, Product Design, Clothing andApparel Design, Public Art, Arts and Crafts, Digital Media Art, Art andTechnology, Ceramic Art Design, Design for Theatre, Film and Television,Animation, Film and Television Photography and Production, Art Education,Clothing Design and Engineering, Industrial Design, Architecture, LandscapeArchitecture, Art Management, Cultural Relics Conservation and Restoration, andPackage Design. Among them, twelve undergraduate majors (Animation, IndustrialDesign, Arts and Crafts, Fine Arts, Experimental Art, Calligraphy, ChinesePainting, Painting, Sculpture, Visual Communication Design, EnvironmentalDesign, and Product Design) were recognized as National First-class Majors andanother six majors (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Photography, Clothingand Apparel Design, Digital Media Art, Art and Technology), ProvincialFirst-class Majors under the country’s “Double Ten Thousand Plan”, aninitiative launched by the Ministry of Education to develop the first-classundergraduate majors and revitalize the undergraduate education in China. Otherhighlight majors include:
- One major as national Pilot forComprehensive Syllabus Reform;
- Four national and eight ProvincialCharacteristic majors;
- Two Provincial Key Majors;
- Six provincial discipline reform pilotprojects; and
- Two Provincial Demonstrative Majors forPractice-oriented Talent Training.
For undergraduate majors, GAFA hasgradually developed a new pattern that emphasizes the demand of the society,first-class majors, multidisciplinary integration and dynamic adjustment.
Faculty :GAFA benefited greatly from ahighly accomplished faculty in its nearly 70 years of development. Manyrenowned artists of epoch-making significance in art history once taught here, includingHu Yichuan, Yang Qiuren, Yang Taiyang, Guan Shanyue, Li Xiongcai, Wang Zhaomin,Gao Yongjian, Chi Ke, Chen Shaofeng, Yang Zhiguang, Pan He, Zheng Canxia, LiuQimin, Chen Xiaonan, Chen Tiegen, Zhang Xinrang and others. Today, GAFA againgathers a number of well-established faculty members who have taught here foryears, such as Guo Shaogang, Chen Jinzhang, Liang Shixiong, Yin Guoliang, ZhengShuang, Liang Mingcheng, Zhang Zhi’an, Yin Dingbang, Pan Xingjian, Wang Ren,Wang Shouzhi, Yang Yao, Li Ming, Zhao Jian, Quan Sen, Wu Weiguang, FangChuxiong, Guo Runwen, Tong Huiming, Li Jinkun, Huang Qiming, Lin Lan, Fan Bo,Cai Yonghua, etc. GAFA currently has 974 faculty and staff members, including558 full-time teachers. Among them, 72 hold senior professional titles and 181,associate senior professional titles. It brings together an outstandingcollection of talents and teams, including National Huang Danian-styleUniversity Faculty Team, vice-chairman of China Artists Association, chairmanand vice chairman of Guangdong Artists Association, members of the DisciplineAppraisal Group of Academic Degrees Committee under the State Council, expertsentitled to special government subsidies from the State Council, deputydirector of the Teaching Steering Committee under the Ministry of Education,board members of China Artists Association and directors and deputy directorsof its arts committees, as well as board members of various specialized art anddesign associations in China.
Talent training: GAFA has been proactivelydeepening reforms in education and teaching to improve their quality followingthe guiding principle of “adhering to socialist education and nurturing talentswith morality”. In the evaluation of the last three sessions of TeachingAchievement Award, GAFA was awarded one special prize, four first prizes andthree second prizes by Guangdong Provincial Government. In 2021, it was awardedthe special prize of Guangdong Provincial Teaching Achievement Award for“Integrating Morality with Art for Grand Beauty -- Research and Practice ofOriginal and Creative Art Talent Training Mode from the Perspective of GreatAesthetic Education in the New Era”. In recent years, GAFA students haveachieved outstanding results in various important competitions and events. Theyhave won more than 100 important art/design prizes, including Bronze Award ofthe 12th National Exhibition of Fine Arts, Excellence Award of the 4th NationalYouth Art Exhibition, Gold Awards of Art Exhibition (Chinese Painting) inNanjing China, Art Exhibition (Oil Painting) in Nanjing China, Best Works Awardof China First Illustration Art Exhibition, China Habitat Environment Award,Asian Design Award, CIDA China Interior Design Award (Academy Award), and manyinternationally recognized awards including Red Dot Award, iF Design Award,Braun Design Award, IDEA Award of the United States, SPAPK Award, China RedStar Design Award, Gold Award of China Universities Industrial DesignCompetition (CUIDC) of the Ministry of Education. In 2016, GAFA was recognizedas one of the third batch of Demonstrative Education Institutions forUniversity Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Guangdong Province. Inrecent years, the initial employment rate of GAFA graduates has remained above94%, ranking high among universities in the province. Its average undergraduatesalary has been ranking among top 100 in China, or top three among fine artscolleges, for five consecutive years.
Academic Research and Artistic Creation: GAFAfaculty members have won hundreds of awards on academic research and artisticcreation at provincial level or above, including Lifetime Achievement Award,Creation Award and Theoretical Review Award of China Fine Arts Awards, Gold,Silver and Bronze Award of National Exhibition of Fine Arts, MeritoriousPersonage Gold Award of China Design Contribution Award, Chinese CalligraphyLanting Award, Outstanding Achievement Award of Academic Research in HigherEducation of the Ministry of Education, Guangdong Provincial Philosophy andSocial Science Outstanding Achievement Award, Lu Xun Literary and Arts Award(Art) of Guangdong Province. Many of their works have been included in major nationalthemed art creation Project or government projects, such as Art CreationProject of Ancient Chinese Civilization, Art Creation Project in celebration ofthe 100th Anniversary of the Founding of Communist Party of China, MajorNational Theme Art Creation Project on Communist Party of China and the GreatRejuvenation of the Nation, etc. They have received grants for their researchesand creation efforts from various high-level national research programs,including National Social Science Fund (major and key projects), NationalScience and Technology Support Program, and the New Century Talent SupportProgram.
Research Platforms: with a focus on theacademic forefront, GAFA gathers superior resources and high-level talents, andvigorously promotes platform construction centering on talent cultivation andscientific research. In recent years, it has successively established nationalplatforms such as the “National Experimental Teaching Demonstration Center ofDesign Skills Education” and “Guangdong Modern Advertising Creative Center”,and 16 provincial research platforms including Guangdong Provincial KeyLaboratory, Guangdong provincial key research bases of humanities and socialsciences in universities, Guangdong provincial social sciences research bases,Guangdong provincial intangible cultural heritage research base, GuangdongProvincial Collaborative Innovation Center, a cooperation and innovation platformbetween Guangdong universities and their international, Hong Kong, Macao andTaiwan counterparts, and excellent Chinese traditional cultural heritage. Theseefforts have given full play to the cooperation of governments, industries, universitiesand research institutes, comprehensively improved the independent innovationcapacity of the Academy,and provided effective support for regional socialeconomy and culture.
Professional Services: With a focus on majornational strategies, GAFA is profoundly involved in regional development. Followingthe principle of “integrating of art with science, science with education, and industrywith education”, it proactively serves regional economic and cultural development.In recent years, GAFA has undertaken more than 600 creation and design projectsfrom governments, enterprises and public institutions, creating a great numberof impressive art works, including Shenzhen’s city sculpture Pioneering Bull,Zhuhai’s city sculpture Zhuhai Fisherwoman, the statue of Mao Zedong in Youthon the Orange Island in Changsha, thedesign of Guangdong Provincial Government’s gifts in the commemoration of HongKong and Macao’s return to the motherland, the design and engineering of theGuangdong Hall of the Great Hall of the People, the PLA Naval Museum, ChinaPavilion of World Expo in Japan, as well as the Urbanian Pavilion and ShanxiPavilion of World Expo Shanghai, Maritime Silk Road Museum, China Ceramics andGlass Museum, the Changjiang Civilization Museum, etc.; and the design of BingDwen Dwen, the mascot of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, and city logoof Guangzhou. All these efforts have rendered strong support for culturalcommunication and industrial transformation and upgrading of the region andbeyond.
International Exchanges: GAFA has forgedclose ties with more than 50 fine arts colleges from countries and regionsaround the globe, including the Great Britain, France, Russia, Canada, theUnited States, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea,Thailand, and Taiwan of China. Its sister universities include the GlasgowSchool of Art, I.E. Repin St.-Petersburg State Academic Institute for Painting,Sculpture and Architecture, V.I. Surikov Moscow State Academic Art Institute,the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp of Belgium, Zurich University of theArts, L’École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs - Paris, University ofToronto, Chiba University, Tokyo University of the Arts, National TaipeiUniversity of the Arts. It has been a common practice for GAFA to arrangeexcellent teachers and students to study, exchange or conduct academicresearches in other countries or regions, set up exchange programs andcooperative training programs with overseas sister universities, launchinternational workshops and lectures, high-level art and design exhibitions,and high-level international academic seminars, and invite renowned overseasexperts and scholars to hold lectures and academic conferences. GAFA also vigorously promotes education for international students, advances cooperationin running schools with high-level international universities in an orderlyfashion, actively expands the opening of higher education to the outside worldto enhance the internationalization of its education programs. Based on itsacademic and disciplinary advantages, GAFA plays an active role in the culturalexchange programs between China an other countries. By presenting its academicresearch achievements and the excellent works of its faculty members and studentsto the outside world, GAFA is dedicated to telling China story well and havingthe country’s voice heard.
(Updated in December 2021)