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School of Art and Art History Records

Identifier: U005


Collection contains papers, correspondence, reports, publications, newspaper clippings, copies of articles, diagrams, notes, forms, grants, policies, art exhibitions, publicity, plant operations, art collection inventory, budgets, curriculum, book orders, student grades, and graduation handbooks related to the School of Art and Art History at the University of Denver from 1948 through 2010. Some material in this collection remains unprocessed.


  • Other: 1948-2010


Biographical / Historical

The University of Denver taught art techniques, theory, and history in various formats since the University was first founded in 1864. While there was no dedicated department or program for art and art history at first, the University recognized the importance of “Academic Fine Arts” , and taught classes through the College of Liberal Arts and the later College of Fine Arts on studio art and art appreciation. In 1895, the School of Art was established to provide students a structured course of study in art. The School of Art was not officially incorporated into the University of Denver as a professional department until 1915. The first time the School of Art had its own building was when the University purchased the Chappell House from the Denver Allied Arts Association in 1928. The Chappell House accommodated DU’s School of Art and the Denver Art Museum. Not long after the purchase of the Chappell House, the School of Art was reorganized yet again when DU hired the influential artist Vance Kirkland as the Founding Director and Professor for the School of Art in 1929. DU did not count art courses towards students’ degrees at the time, which Kirkland disliked and was unable to change, so he left in 1933 to found Kirkland School of Art which was accredited by the University of Colorado. On June 5, 1946, Colorado artist Vance Kirkland returns as director of the School of Art when the Kirkland School of Art and the University’s School of Art combined into one . In October of 1946, the School of Art (among three other schools at DU) were granted $30,000 for remodeling purposes in the Clayton Plumbing Building . The School of Art started spreading to different locations, with studio and instruction space spread across several buildings on the Civic Center Campus and the University Park Campus. In 1950, the School of Art faculty voted to set the goal to move all School of Art activity to one campus. Moving all activity to one campus was not accomplished until 1961 when all School of Art classes and studio space moved into four temporary buildings on the University Park Campus. In 1965, DU purchased the old Post Office on University Boulevard and Wesley Avenue. This created 5,000 square feet of permanent instruction and studio space for the School. The Chappell House was demolished in 1970. Thanks to an endowment from Rose and King Shwayder, DU was able to provide a more permanent home for the School, the construction of the Shwayder Art Building began in 1977, and was completed in 1979. In 1994, the Board of Trustee’s agreed to change the school’s name to the School of Art and Art History .


12.25 Linear Feet


The collection is unarranged.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428