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Nanjing University of the Arts (NUA) is a century-old school with profound cultural and historical background. Located in the central areas of Nanjing, where history and modernity meet, the university is in an urban cultural circle where tradition and fashion are organically blended. As the earliest independent institution that offers higher art education in China, Nanjing University of the Arts is jointly built by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Jiangsu Provincial People's Government. In 1912, Mr. Liu Haisu, the founder of art education in China, founded the Shanghai College of Graphic Art (renamed the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts in 1930). In 1922, Mr. Yan Wenliang founded the Suzhou Academy of Fine Arts in Suzhou. In 1952, in the adjustment of colleges and universities across China, the two earliest private art schools in China merged with the art and music departments of the Department of Art of Shandong University in Sheqiao, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province to form the East China Institute of the Arts. The merger was completed on December 8, which is the anniversary of the founding of Nanjing University of the Arts. In 1958, East China Institute of the Arts moved to Dingjiaqiao, Nanjing; in June of the same year, it was renamed Nanjing Academy of Fine Arts; in 1959, it was upgraded to a university for undergraduates and renamed Nanjing University of the Arts; in 1967, it moved to No. 15, Huju North Road, Nanjing. In 1978, it was approved as one of the first institutions of higher education in China to admit master's students, and in 1986, it was granted the right to confer doctoral degrees. During a century of development, the university advanced with the times, thrived through hardships, and became an influential comprehensive institution of higher education in the arts at home and abroad.

NUA now has 14 secondary schools, namely, the School of Fine Arts, the School of Music, the School of Design, the School of Movie & Television, the School of Dance, the School of Media Arts and Communication, the School of Popular Music, the School of Industrial Design, the School of Humanities, the School of Cultural Industries, the School of Higher Vocational Education, the School of Adult Education, the School of International Education, and the School of Marxism; and nine directly affiliated units, which are the Art Research Institute, the Information Technology Construction and Management Center, the Journal Editorial Department, the Jiangsu Calligraphy Creation and Research Center, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Art Education, the Art Museum, the Affiliated Secondary School, the Library, and the Social Education School. NUA offers 39 majors for undergraduates, which are Art History, Art Management, Music Performance, Musicology, Composition and Composition Technology Theory, Dance Performance, Dance Studies, Choreography, Dance Education, Pop Music, Performance, Drama, Film and Television Literature, Radio and Television Editing and Directing, Drama and Film Directing, Drama and Film Art Design, Recording Art, Broadcasting and Hosting Art, Animation, Film and Television Photography and Production, Fine Arts, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Calligraphy, Traditional Chinese Painting, Cultural Relics Protection and Restoration, Art and Design, Visual Communication Design, Environmental Design, Product Design, Clothing and Apparel Design, Public Art, Arts and Crafts, Digital Media Art, Art and Technology, Advertising, Art Education, Management of Cultural Industries, and Public Affairs Administration.

NUA currently has more than 11,000 students, over 1,000 faculty members, 700-odd full-time teaching staff, around 300 full-time teaching staff with intermediate and senior titles, more than 60 doctoral supervisors, and 200-plus supervisors of post-graduates. There are more than one hundred visiting professors and part-time professors from home and abroad. Among them, one faculty member was selected into the Four Batches Talent Plan by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee; one distinguished professor of Changjiang Scholars awarded by the Ministry of Education; one young top talent in the Ten Thousand Talents Plan of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, and 21 experts enjoying special government allowance. There are three members of the discipline evaluation group of the 8th Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council and one convener, seven members and two vice-chairmen of the Teaching Steering Committee of the Ministry of education, and one member of the first National College Aesthetic Education and Teaching Steering Committee. One faculty member was selected for the Hundred Million Talents Project.. One teaching staff of NUA obtained the National Distinguished Teacher Award. Two faculty members received Jiangsu Zijin Cultural Medal; nine middle-aged and young experts from NUA made outstanding contributions to the development of Jiangsu Province; five talents were chosen for the five types of talents in Jiangsu Province. More than 100 people were selected for the provincial 333 High-level Talents Training Project, Qinglan Project, Six Talent Summits, Social Science Talents and Excellent Youth, Zijin Cultural and Creative Talents and Excellent Youth.

NUA is the only institution of higher learning in China that has the right to confer doctoral degrees in all five first-level disciplines of the arts with a post-doctoral research station. In the fourth round of discipline evaluation of the Ministry of Education in 2017, all five first-class disciplines of NUA ranked among the top six. Fine Arts was awarded “A” grade, Musicology and Dance Studies and Art Design were awarded “A-” grade, Drama and Film and Art Theory were awarded “B+” grade; the Grade “A” disciplines account for 60% of the total NUA disciplines, the largest proportion in Jiangsu Province; four disciplines ranked first in Jiangsu Province. In 2018, the five first-level disciplines of NUA were all selected for the Phase III Construction Project of the Superior Disciplines of Universities in Jiangsu Province. Since 2015, NUA has been approved for 33 national-level scientific research projects, including five major art projects of the National Social Science Fund (Research on Chinese Design Thought and Its Contemporary Practice, Research on Art Think Tanks with Chinese Characteristics, A Century of New Art Movement under the Leadership of the Communist Party of China, Research on Chinese Painting, and Research on Cross-category Art History Theory and Method) and seven key projects. NUA has 35 projects supported by the central government for the development of local colleges and universities and 106 research projects at provincial and ministerial levels. NUA has won five awards for outstanding achievements in social sciences from the Ministry of Education and 20 outstanding achievements in philosophy and social sciences in Jiangsu Province. Several NUA research institutions have been approved as provincial-level philosophy and social science research bases; some research teams have been approved as provincial-level outstanding innovation teams. The Fine Arts and Design of NUA was selected as the CSSCI source journal and the National Chinese Core Journal, and Music and Performance was selected as the 2020 National Chinese Core Journal.

NUA's Construction and Practice of Talent Cultivation Model in Fine Arts won the second prize in National Higher Education Teaching Achievement Award. Its Chinese Painting Techniques, Oil Painting Techniques, and Chinese Art History are listed as national quality resource-sharing courses. 16 majors of NUA, namely, Chinese Painting, Visual Communication Design, Product Design, Art Design, Fine Arts, Painting, Dance, Animation, Art History, Musicology, Environmental Design, Arts and Crafts, Radio and Television Editing and Directing, Digital Media Art, Drama, Film and Television Literature, and Calligraphy were selected as national first-class majors for undergraduates. NUA's five majors, which are Animation, Art Design, Painting, Musicology, and Music Performance , were selected as national-level featured majors. Two majors of NUA were selected as provincial first-class majors for undergraduates and 13 majors were selected as branded and featured majors in Jiangsu Province. The major of art design and the discipline of fine arts are the experimental areas for the cultivation of innovative talents in national colleges and universities. Digital Media Art Experimental Teaching Center is a national experimental teaching demonstration center. NUA has two key laboratories in Jiangsu Province, which are Art Materials and Crafts and Cultural Creativity and Comprehensive Design. NUA has eight provincial experimental teaching and practical education centers, which are Handicraft Experimental Teaching Laboratory, Digital Audio Teaching Laboratory, Printmaking Experimental Teaching Center, Film and Television Production Experimental Teaching Center, Industrial Design Experimental Teaching Center, Modern Sculpture Integrated Material Experimental Teaching Center, Virtual Reality Art Practice Education Center, and Media Art Interdisciplinary Comprehensive Training Center.  The two projects New Liberal Arts Major Course System and Construction of New Forms of Teaching Materials and A New Product Design Major and Curriculum Construction that Integrates Art and Technology were approved as the first batch of provincial key cultivation of new liberal arts research and reform practice of colleges and universities in Jiangsu Province. In 2014, NUA was approved to establish a project to build a collaborative innovation center for cultural creativity for colleges and universities in Jiangsu Province. In 2016, NUA's Purple Academy of Culture & Creativity became one of the new key high-end think tanks in Jiangsu Province and one of the national A-level think tanks. In 2018, the NUA Base of the Research Center of Socialism Theory System with Chinese Characteristics in Jiangsu Province was established to promote the theoretical interpretation, dissemination and teaching of new ideas. The Art Museum of the university has been rated as one of the top ten art institutions and top ten art museums in China by important Chinese media many times.

In recent years, NUA has achieved fruitful results in major artistic creation exhibitions at home and abroad. The cartoon Da Yu written by an NUA faculty member won the Best Works Award  of the 15th Central Publicity Department and the 26th TV Literature and Art Starlight Award Outstanding TV Animation Program Award. NUA obtained eight gold, silver and bronze awards at the National Art Exhibition, two gold awards in the Golden Bell Award, one gold award in the Wenhua Award, and one gold award in the National Vocal Competition. The TV series The Merchants of Qing Dynasty produced by NUA faculty staff  and screenwriters received the honorable nomination award of the 30th Flying Apsaras Award and the 28th Golden Eagle Award. NUA won a second prize in the National Dance Competition and the Chinese Dance Lotus Award Classical Dance Award. The 6th National Youth Musical Instrument Education and Teaching Achievement Exhibition saw 12 works of NUA selected. One work was displayed during the 12th National Dance Exhibition. Two erhu performers  earned the title of China Music Little Golden Bell Erhu New Star. NUA gained three first prizes in the 6th National College Student Art Exhibition Many awards were secured in the Chinese Book Flan Pavilion Award, the Tao Li Cup Dance Competition, and the Art Exhibition in Nanjing. NUA choreographed the large-scale anti-war opera Qiu Zi, created the Ode to Peace-Multimedia Sound Poetry and Painting Symphony Concert, the original dance drama Twelve Seconds, the original musical play The Ancient and the Present, etc. NUA took the lead in rehearsing the large-scale dance and poetry drama Stride in the New Era, which has produced a positive social impact.

NUA has actively engaged in national and local cultural construction and completed many design tasks, such as the National Memorial Tripod for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre, the new logo and the design of the starting device for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (General Secretary Xi Jinping personally unveiled the National Memorial Tripod and the Launching Device of AIIB). NUA designed the 70th anniversary of the National Day Jiangsu float Jiangsu Intelligent Manufacturing, the visual system of the International Conference on Language, the logo of the Jiangsu Development Summit, the logo of the 2018 Badminton World Championships, the official logo and emblem of China Healthcare Security, the logo of the medical team of Jiangsu Province to assist Hubei Province in combating COVID-19, the mural of Nanjing Metro, etc. Since 2016, NUA's 520 Graduation Show Carnival has been successfully held for six consecutive sessions, creating a strong artistic atmosphere of a show of NUA, a feast for Nanjing, and it has become a public cultural and art event with extensive influence.

In the course of running a school for more than a century, the university has upheld excellent cultural traditions and accumulated a profound cultural heritage. From the school-running concept of Being Knowledgeable, Special, Perseverant, and Perfect  established by Mr. Cai Yuanpei, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, to the school-running spirit of  Constant Change and Continuous Transformation  proposed by Mr. Liu Haisu, NUA has cultivated generations of outstanding artistic talents. Liu Haisu, Yan Wenliang, Chen Zhifo, Xie Haiyan, Zang Yunyuan, Huang Binhong, Fu Lei, He Lvting, Zhang Daqian, Zhu Qizhan, Pan Tianshou, Feng Zikai, Lyu Sibai, Huang Zhen, Wu Yinxian, Sha Fei, Dong Xiwen, Zhao Dan, Lyu Fengzi, Chen Baoyi, Yu Jianhua, Cheng Wujia, Liu Ruli, Wen Zhaotong, Chen Dayu, Huang Youkui, Sheng Xue, Gan Tao, Hong Pan, Liu Shaochun, Cheng Shifa, Luo Shuzi, Su Tianci, Lin Shuzhong and other celebrated masters once taught or studied at NUA. They made outstanding contributions to the rise of Chinese art education and laid a solid foundation for the development of the university.

Since the beginning of reform and opening up, NUA has seized development opportunities, complied with the strategy of future-oriented education, combined internal construction with external development, and realized the development from elite education to popular education. NUA has cultivated many excellent artistic talents who have made remarkable achievements and far-reaching influence in art education, art research, art creation, and the cultural industry.

In December 2018, the 10th Party Congress of NUA was successfully held, which sounded the clarion call for the continuous realization of high-quality development of NUA. Led by the new leadership, NUA adheres to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, fully implements the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the Plenary Session of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Central Committee of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and abide by the decisions of the National Education Conference. NUA is committed to fostering virtue through education and strengthening high-quality development. In the new era of higher art education and art creation practice, NUA will further demonstrate Chinese characteristics, pursue world-class, and highlight comprehensive advantages. NUA is  striving to make due contributions to cultivating talents with all-around development of moral, intellectual, physical, and aesthetic skills.

(Data as of June 2021)