PSA students in 1982

Our History

The College's purpose and history provide testimony to Central Pennsylvania’s longstanding value for the arts

PCA&D began as the York Academy of Arts and from 1952 until 1982, was located in York, Pennsylvania. After closing as the York Academy of Arts it reopened in Marietta, Pennsylvania as the Pennsylvania School of the Arts (PSA) in 1982. At that time, PSA offered a three-year diploma program with classes in fine art, interior design, and communication arts. 

In 1984, the school became an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design. 

In 1985, a class of 35 aspiring artists and designers became the first to graduate from PSA.

PSA Fine Art - 1982

The first Expansion

In 1987, the school moved to its current location in Lancaster City and changed its name to Pennsylvania School of Art & Design (PSAD). The move from Marietta provided students and staff with more space (from 14,000 to 37,000 square feet), better facilities, room to expand, and plentiful city housing.

In the fall of 1999, PSAD was approved as a college and awarded degree-granting privileges by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Prior to this time, the school functioned under the authority of the Private Licensed School Board of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

In the summer of 2001, the College marked another milestone when it purchased the property at 202-204 North Prince Street, making its home a permanent one. This purchase provided the College with an opportunity for expansion in the future and established PSAD as a major cultural and economic anchor in downtown Lancaster.

In 2003, the school received final approval to operate as a 4-year college and changed its name to Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (PCA&D). 

PSAD 2012
PSAD 2006
PCAD 2013

the second Expansion

In the fall of 2006, the College expanded into an additional 12,500 square feet of space in the 202 North Prince Street building. 

In 2008, PCA&D’s accreditation was reaffirmed by NASAD, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) granted initial accreditation. 

In 2010, the Schrotberger Design Center opened to consolidate the information technology functions of the College. In the same year all senior students were provided with individual studio spaces as part of that year’s Strategic Plan. 

In the spring of 2012, the College entered into an agreement with the city of Lancaster to purchase the property directly across the street from the school – now the Art Garden.

PCA&D Art Garden


More than 350 students are enrolled at the undergraduate level, and we also serve thousands of students through the Center for Creative Exploration, with classes for primary and secondary students through retirees. The College’s bachelors of fine arts degrees include Animation & Game ArtFine ArtGraphic DesignIllustration, Live Experience Design, and Photography & Video.

The future remains bright for artists, creatives, designers, and design thinkers and we look forward to jumpstarting their creative life.  

PCA&D Class of 2026

PCA&D Class of 2026