A nationwide chain of career-focused art schools is preparing to open the doors this month at its new Detroit-area campus in Oakland County.
The Art Institute of Michigan expects to have 10-15 students when it opens Nov. 8 in its 38,000 square-foot home in the Haggerty Corridor Corporate Park in Novi.
The school, which is equipped with a $1 million kitchen facility, has the capacity for 1,000 students and hopes to have "a couple hundred students in the first couple years," said President Ted Blashak.
"We've looked at the unmet need, and we'd be happy with a couple hundred students," he said.
The school initially will offer curriculum in the design, media arts, fine arts, fashion and culinary arts and offer a mix of 10 bachelor's and associate's degrees, including advertising and graphic design. It will start with an abbreviated, five-week term until January, when it begins enrollment for its regular 11-week quarterly terms, Blashak said.
The new school is a branch of the Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago, which is providing funding and regional accreditation, and will operate under the umbrella of The Art Institutes, which has 37 campuses nationwide and claims more than 125,000 alumni. The Art Institutes is the largest of four regional educational institutions owned by Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp.
Officials would not say how much the Chicago school invested to open the new Novi campus.
The school system has been considering opening a school in the Detroit area for several years, said Blashak, a 14-year veteran of higher education and former state vice president for the University of Phoenix in Michigan.
"Our programs are designed to deliver education, but there is a career focus to it," he said, adding that professional work completed during internships with local businesses will be factored into students' graduation portfolio. "In our most recent year, within six months of graduation we helped 90 percent of students find employment within their fields."
The school will start with 15-20 faculty members and anticipates growing to between 50 and 75 mostly part-time faculty of working artists, chefs and designers, Blashak said. It will draw the bulk students from the Detroit area but also some from across Michigan.
"We will be looking for a partner to offer student housing with," Blashak said. "And that's typically where our out-of-city, out-of-immediate-area students will stay, at the dorms."
Tuition will be $433 per credit hour or nearly $7,000 per quarter for 16 credits. That compares with between per-credit-hour rates that start at $70, or $840 per semester for the culinary arts program at nearby Schoolcraft College in Livonia. At the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, tuition is $841 per credit hour or $12,615 per semester for full-time enrollment.
The Art Institute's $1 million kitchen will have separate a la carte and skilled kitchen labs. "They're actually fully wired ... to a high-definition camera that shows them cooking and is hooked to a large television screen that links to the classroom," Blashak said.
The Art Institute of Michigan signed a 10-year lease in the 400-acre Haggerty Corridor Corporate Park and is renting previously vacant space in two adjacent buildings, said Matt Sosin, president of Northern Equities Group, which owns the park. The school joins existing tenants including Trinity Health, Magna International Inc. and Citizens Bank.
Education Management Corp. was acquired by private investors in June 2006 for $3.4 billion. Annual revenues reported at the end of June was $1.3 billion.
The Art Institute of Michigan can be reached at (800) 479-0087 or www.artinstitutes.edu.
Author: Sven Gustafson, MLive