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LOS ANGELES, CA, July 31, 2012 - Founded in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design was the first independent professional school of art in Los Angeles. Remarkably, Otis was also the first art college on iTunes U. In keeping with its long-standing commitment to serve diverse students of art and design, Otis offers a treasure trove of free online resources for nascent artists and designers.
“It all started in 2006 with a grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation to create learning objects for the freshmen students,” says Kathleen Forrest, Assistant Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at Otis. “I think there were only sixteen schools in total back then, and we were the only art college.”
Since then Otis has amassed an impressive collection of videos and podcasts covering a range of subjects related to art, fashion, and design. From overview courses in art history to how-to videos covering anything from three-dimensional drawing to sewing an invisible zipper, there is something for everyone. Get tips from famed Hollywood designer, Bob Mackie, as he mentors students in fashion design, or learn structured life drawing from a live model with Otis faculty Gary Geraths and Chris Warner. Listen to members of the artists’ collective My Barbarian discuss their performance/video projects, or critic Dick Hebdige’s discourse on popular culture and the Internet. For those considering a career in the arts, the Otis Annual Report on the Creative Economy, an extensive annual survey of the creative industries and their impact on the market, provides real data on how artists and designers are thriving in today’s idea-driven world. Lectures by visiting scholars, pioneering artists, and innovative designers can be downloaded to an iPad or iPhone and enjoyed anywhere.
“We have always striven to create quality content,” says Forrest. “While other colleges were videotaping hour-long lectures from the back of the room, we were scripting and editing. We have had international exposure, and several institutions have used our learning objects as course material, from ESL audio lessons to art history timeline mini lectures. ”
There are currently 23 collections and a total of 430 videos and audio files. Subjects include Communication Arts, Art History, Illustration, Product Design, Instructional Technology, Photography, Fine Arts, Ceramics, Fashion Design, Architecture, Cultural Studies, and Writing. Otis also maintains an active YouTube Channel of similar content with nearly 3,000 subscribers.