Funen Art Academy is an independent, state-recognised institution of higher education, financed with support from Odense Municipality and the Danish Ministry of Culture. The Academy offers a five-year degree programme in visual arts aiming to educate and train artists at the highest level. In addition, the Academy hosts cultural events such as exhibitions and lectures open to the public. Funen Art Academy is the second-largest art academy in Denmark and offers the only higher education in visual arts in the Region of Southern Denmark. The Academy is led by a rector and a board.
Funen Art Academy was founded in 1944 by artist Kaj Kylborg (1916 – 1997) under the name Odense School of Drawing and Painting, and was located in an apartment on Vestergade. Ten years later, the school changed its name to Funen Art Academy, and in 1984 it was relocated to more suitable premises at a former textile factory, Brandts Klædefabrik, where the Academy was housed until 2018. As of 1988, financing for Funen Art Academy was included in the government’s annual budget proposal.
Today, Funen Art Academy is located at Jernbanegade 13, in a building designed for art. The beautiful neoclassical building from 1883 was Odense’s first museum building and housed the former Funen Museum of Art. The building was designed and built by local master builder Anders Frederik Andersen and his son Frederik Emil Andersen, together with architect Emil Schwanenflügel as a museum for the city of Odense. The facade is adorned with sculpture, relief and painting, which – along with the architectural references to Classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance – emphasise the building’s function as a place for science and art. Particularly notable is the painted frieze with imagery from Nordic history and mythology. On the top of the pediment stands the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena. The building was renovated in 1997 with respect for its original design and is today a listed building.