SOURCE: Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University

June 23, 2010 11:46 ET

Academy of Art University "Comes Out" for LGBT Community

$25,000 Gift From Academy Sponsors Pride Party at LGBT Center; Float From AAU's "Outloud" Student Group Joins Pride Parade for First Time Ever

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - June 23, 2010) -  They're out, they're proud and they're on parade for the first time as San Francisco's esteemed Academy of Art University (www.academyart.edu) shows its support for its hometown's LGBT community by sponsoring a float in the annual "Pride Parade" on Sunday, June 27. Designed and staffed by "Outloud" -- the Academy's LGBT student group -- this year's float is the proud punctuation point to a season of philanthropy. This past Saturday, the City's LBGT Community Center held its annual "Pride Party" underwritten by a $25,000 donation from Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of the Academy of Art, the largest private university in the country.

"As a native San Franciscan, I am proud to have been raised in a family of artists, and in a family who has always nurtured and understood the unique and exportable qualities of San Francisco values," said Dr. Stephens, whose grandfather founded the Academy in 1929. "At the Academy of Art, we celebrate art and creativity -- a celebration that would, literally, be impossible without the contributions of our Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, children and colleagues, friends and lovers, and yes -- husbands and wives. So yes, here in San Francisco and at the Academy of Art, we do understand the meaning of family."

San Francisco's annual Pride Parade is the largest LGBT event in the world, and the second largest parade in California, with total attendance exceeded only by Pasadena's Rose Bowl Parade. With more than 500,000 expected attendees, and a global audience of millions via television and social media, it has become the most popular public event in San Francisco.

"At the Academy of Art, we don't just celebrate diversity, we embrace it with students from over 100 countries," said Sue Rowley, the Academy's Executive Vice President for Educational Services, speaking at this past Saturday's event at the Community Center. "Diversity, as exhibited by the LGBT Community, is what keeps art fresh and alive. At the Academy we have a similar mission to the Center: No one should be left behind. We are both in the business of making the dreams of today into the reality of tomorrow."

The San Francisco LGBT Community Center serves as the nexus for the Bay Area's diverse LGBT community, providing community building and leadership development opportunities. Its critical safety net of programs serve the most vulnerable members of the community, while providing a welcoming gathering place for all LGBT and allied people. Each month, The Center serves over 9,000 visitors and hosts more than 400 events.

"The San Francisco LGBT Community Center is very grateful for the support of its many community partners, including the Academy of Art University," said Center Executive Director Rebecca Rolfe. "Working together, we are building a stronger, healthier and more just world for LGBT and allied individuals."

"The Academy of Art has a diverse student population and strongly supporting the LGBT Center ensures services and programs meeting their needs," said San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

With nearly 16,000 students, Academy of Art University is the nation's largest private art and design university. Established in 1929, the school offers accredited AA, BA, BFA, MA, M.Arch and MFA programs in 16 different majors, as well as continuing art education, with classes in Advertising, Animation & Visual Effects, Architecture, Fashion, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Motion Pictures & Television, Multimedia Communications, Photography and Web Design & New Media. Game Design and Music for Visual Media and Art Education are the school's newest majors, offering AA, BFA and MFA degrees. Students can also enroll in flexible online degree programs in most majors. Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (BFA-IAD) and NAAB (M-ARCH).

"We're looking forward to debuting a new rainbow hued Academy look and logo this Sunday," said David Lynam, President of Outloud and Screenwriting and Directing Major at the Academy. "It means a lot to know that the place that supports our educational and artistic aspirations also supports our human rights ones as well."

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