Begun in 1914, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in the performing and visual arts and a Bachelor of Music degree, multiple public programs, and extension courses. 

The College’s founder Nellie Cornish, and the many teaching artists who have followed her, believed in education through exposure to all the arts. This approach continues to inform the College’s curriculum and community involvement today. Our holistic approach to education promotes experimentation, discovery, and innovation, giving artists the creative intelligence they need to thrive in their disciplines and beyond. We have been inspiring artistic and academic excellence for more than 100 years.

Cornish is accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design

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.

Core Themes

  • Student Core Competencies
  • Student Agency as Artists and Citizens
  • Experimentation and Innovative Practice
  • Environment Conducive To Learning and Positive Growth

Core Values

Cornish College of the Arts is committed to the following core values:

  • Providing an educational environment that offers personalized attention and acknowledges the whole person, cultivating artistic potential and individual voice.
  • Supplying a rigorous and balanced arts education that encourages experimentation and innovation while providing a solid grounding in technique and craft.
  • Providing a fine arts education that develops imaginative and critical thinking capacities grounded in knowledge, producing not just trained, but educated artists.
  • Creating a college environment that demonstrates respect for equal opportunity for all persons and the inclusion of diversity in the curriculum and in the ranks of the student body, faculty, staff and Board of Trustees.
  • Offering a faculty of practicing artists whose accomplishments serve to inspire and inform students seeking a professional career in the arts.
  • Contributing meaningfully to the cultural vitality of the community.

Statement of Difference and Inclusion

Cornish College of the Arts is enriched by a diverse population of students, bringing their unique personalities and voices to their art forms. Placed in the vibrant city of Seattle, artists thrive among the wide variety of people and broad spectrum of creative thought that surrounds us. The college supports and engages the many cultural, personal, and spiritual facets of our community.

Cornish commits to demonstrating respect for individual expression and integrity; to promoting the equality of opportunity and rights of all persons within the community and to actively encouraging and maintaining the representation and inclusion of diverse cultures and backgrounds within the student body, faculty, staff and curriculum.

We believe that diversity refers to a number of human qualities and characteristics. National origin, race, gender, age, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation and disabilities are characteristics that combine in unique ways, forming the multiple identities we all hold. Those diverse characteristics contribute positively to the environment of Cornish and to an education that accurately reflects and contributes to the complex interplay of art, culture and society.

We hold ourselves responsible to fulfill the mission of Cornish by preparing students “to contribute to society as artists, citizens, and innovators,” and believe that the mission is best served by actively cultivating a positive environment in which to explore and express the diverse perspectives of a pluralistic society.