The Insitute had its roots in 1888 when artist J. Otis Adams began teaching art classes in Fort Wayne once a week. In 1892 property was given by Margaret Hamilton, and in 1897 the official name became the Fort Wayne Art School. In 1922 articles of incorporation were passed and Theodore F. Thieme willed his home at 1026 West Berry street for the school. It opened in March of 1923. In 1940 plans for a building were designed by the architect Eliel Saarinen, but World War II intervened and the project was dropped until the mid-sixties when the architect Louis Kahn included plans for a new art school, but again the plans were scrapped. In 1949 negotiations were completed that allowed students at the Indiana University Center At Fort Wayne to combine art school courses with college courses that would fulfill requirements of the A.B., B.F.A. and B.S. degrees. In 1966 the Fort Wayne Art School became the Fort Wayne Art Institute. In 1976 the General Assembly of Indiana approved the merger of the Institute with IPFW. In the summer of 1991 the Berry Street Campus was closed and the faculty, studios, classrooms and library were moved to the new Visual Arts Building at the main campus on Coliseum Blvd.
Sources: Current (February 1990), 14-15; The News Sentinel (May 27, 1958), 13E; Current (December 1990), p. 14.