Hubei Institute of Fine Arts (HIFA) is the only top institution of higher learning in fine arts in central China. Founded by Jiang Lanpu, Tang Yijing and Xu Ziheng in 1920, it was first named Wuchang Fine Arts School and later renamed Private Wuchang College of Arts. In 1938, the school moved west after being bombed by the Japanese troops. The school settled at Wushisanti, Deganba Town, Jiangjin County in Sichuan Province, after taking refuge in Gulaobei of Yidu and Dingshengquan Temple in Jiangjin County. In 1945 when the Anti-Japanese War was over, the school moved back to Wuhan. In 1949, the school was taken over by Zhongyuan University. Since then, it had been known as School of Literature and Art of Zhongyuan University, South Central University of Literature and Art, South Central Academy of Fine Arts, Art Department of Hubei College of Education, Painting and Mapping Department of Central China Normal College, before it was established as Hubei Art Institute in 1958. In 1985, Hubei Institute of Fine Arts became an independent school with the approval of Hubei Provincial People’s Government and the National Education Commission.
Mr. Cai Yuanpei once inscribed the words “Promote Art Education” for the school, and many famous artists and educators have taught here. As one of China’s earliest art colleges, HIFA is an important cradle of modern higher art education in the country. Over the past years, HIFA has developed an “inclusive” academic spirit and the “compatible and interactive” teaching principle, cultivating generations of outstanding students who are in sincere pursuit of “Morality, Academic Progress, Action and Beauty” and dedicate their talent to the society, making unique contributions to the development of fine arts in China.
With two campuses，Canglongdao and Tanhualin, HIFA covers an area of more than 470,000 square meters, including up to 60,000 square meters in Tanhualin Campus and 410,000 square meters in Canglongdao Campus. Currently, there are over 600 faculty members, and more than 7,600 students at all educational levels.
HIFA has 15 undergraduate faculties, 24 undergraduate degree programs and 34 majors, covering the fields of Fine Arts, Design, Art Theory, Theater and Film & Television Media Studies, Pedagogy, Business Administration, Mechanical Engineering and Architecture. It has set up a curriculum system with art-related disciplines as the majority, and Pedagogy, Engineering as well as Management disciplines supporting each other. HIFA awards a master’s degree in three first-level disciplines i.e. Fine Arts, Design and Art Theory, all of which are key disciplines of Hubei Province. In 2005, approved by Office of the State Council Academic Degrees Committee, HIFA established the Master of Arts (MFA) program as one of the first 32 higher education institutions awarding this professional degree. Since 2010, it has been training doctoral students jointly with partner universities. In 2018, HIFA and its first-level discipline “Fine Arts” were selected for the “Domestic First-Class Discipline Construction” plan by the Hubei Provincial People’s Government. In 2019, six programs including Painting, Sculpture, Visual Communication Design, Environmental Art & Design, Product Design, Fashion and Apparel Design were listed among National First-class Undergraduate Program Development Centers (the First Batch), accounting for one fourth of the programs offered by HIFA; eight programs includingChinese Painting and Art History and Theory were listed among Provincial First-class Undergraduate Program Development Centers (the First Batch), making up one third of the total number.
Currently, HIFA has 14 staff enjoying special allowance from the State Council, nine Young and Middle-aged Experts with Outstanding Contributions, 18 staff enjoying special allowance from the provincial government, three candidates for the Hubei New Century High-Level Talent Project, two “Professors in Hubei Industry”, three chair professors appointed as “Chutian Scholar”, as well as 262 guest (adjunct) professors and candidates of high-level special lectures. For undergraduate education, HIFA has three Characteristic Disciplines granted by the Ministry of Education, two National Quality Courses, one National Talent Cultivating Mode Innovation and Experimental Zone, one “Pilot Project for Discipline Reform" of higher education institutions under the Ministry of Education, one National Project of Off-campus Practice Education Base for college students, two projects approved as National Quality Resource Sharing Courses, one project for support and cooperation between Higher Education Institutions(HEIs) under Central Ministries & Agencies and HEIs under Local Authorities, 85 National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Projects for College Students, and 67 projects under the provincial “Quality Project” and “Undergraduate Education Project” construction.
HIFA practices the “1+3” visual arts undergraduate cultivation mode consisting of one-year basic education in general arts and three-year education in respective disciplines (majors), and has been approved by the Ministry of Education for the construction of Innovative Experimental Zone for Talent Training Modes. The school has set up an “Experimental Plan for Cultivating Top-notch Innovative Artists” at provincial level and practices a training model of “Basic Education in General Arts + Interdisciplinary (Major) Education + Major Discipline Education + Specialty Education”. Taking full advantage of the resources of the ten universities in Nanhu District of Wuchang, HIFA provides an interdisciplinary learning platform for students.
At present, HIFA has one provincial-level Collaborative Innovation Center, three provincial-level Humanities and Social Science Research Bases, one provincial-level Intangible Cultural Heritage Research Center, and nine provincial-level Scientific and Technological Innovation Teams. In the past five years, the school has set up more than 400 research projects at all levels, including 20 national projects, winning more than 1,000 prizes for various creations and designs. In the selection of the “China Fine Arts Awards” which has been held for three times, teachers from HIFA won gold medals for three consecutive times, including two in the Creation Award (China National Exhibition of Fine Arts) and one in the Theoretical Review Award. In addition, 57 people were selected for the Hubei Fine Arts Talent Training Project, and 55 works are supported by the Provincial Key Project of Fine Arts Creation.
HIFA has signed cooperation agreements with over 20 institutions in more than 10 countries in Europe, North America and Asia, as well as in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan to carry out such activities as lectures, academic visits by young and middle-aged teachers, artist residence, study exchange programs, short-term study tours, workshops and international exhibitions. With the Ministry of Education’s approval, HIFA has cooperated with Hanseo University of South Korea to hold an undergraduate program on animation since 2013. Every year, the school organizes more than 30 large international and domestic conferences, professional exhibitions, exhibitions of works by famous artists, exhibitions of works by teachers and students, such as “Waves on the Grand River – International Printmaking Invitation Exhibition”, “‘East + West’ College Students’ International Poster Biennale” and “Wuhan Design Biennale”. In recent years, a total of HIFA art collection exhibitions have been selected for China Museums Classic Collections of Fine Arts Exhibition Season Project under Ministry of Culture and Tourism, two have been selected for China Museums Outstanding Exhibition Project, and one has been nominated for the China Museums Outstanding Exhibition Project.
HIFA actively serves the local economy and society and provides ideological, artistic and talent support for the development of Hubei and Wuhan. The school strengthens cooperation with local governments at all levels, and has achieved fruitful results in expanding cooperation areas and projects, deepening cooperation, and promoting the conversion of scientific research achievements. HIFA has worked on a series of award-winning design projects, including the artworks of the Chinese embassy in Chad, a number of major projects in the main stadium of Wuhan Sports Center for the 7th World Military Games, rail transit public art projects in Wuhan and Nanchang, artworks at Wuhan Garden Expo, as well as the art wall of Beijing Daxing Airport. The school has been awarded the title of Meritorious Service Unit and Advanced Unit of Wuhan Metro Construction for six consecutive years, and HIFA Cultural Development Co., Ltd. has been granted the National Labor Award. Tanhualin Art Zone has been awarded “Hubei Cultural Industry Demonstration Base” and is the training base of the “China Intangible Cultural Heritage Inheritance Research Program” under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. It has set up many professional training programs for art teachers and comprehensive senior training classes in Hubei and Henan, and undertook the “African Young Designer Training Program” in 2019. As the vice-chairman unit of China Wuhan Engineering and Design Alliance and City of Design Promotion Center, the school actively participates in Wuhan’s cultural and artistic construction and offers intellectual and artistic support to the endeavor of building Wuhan as the City of Design.
A hundred years of glorious history has endowed HIFA with good school discipline and enormous artistic potential. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, HIFA actively plays a role in the “Belt and Road” Initiative, carrying out the strategy for the development of Yangtze River Economic Zone, accelerating the rise of Central China, and realizing the vision of building Wuhan as the City of Design under UNESCO. The school will stride forward on the road of culture and art inheritance, and keep on imparting knowledge to students. Following the “inclusive” academic spirit and the “compatible and interactive” teaching principle, the school will spare no efforts to meet the requirements for a “First-rank University with First-rank Disciplines”, deepen the reform in higher art education, accelerate the opening up of education in the new era, and vigorously promote the reform of diversified visual arts talent cultivating mode. HIFA will strive to build itself into a top art school with “distinctive characteristics, international academic influence and nationwide reputation”!