In 1974, the Section of Artists-Decorators to the Club Industry Department of Klaipėda Faculty of the State Conservatoire of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic was established. The founder of the establishment, and the former Vice-Chancelor of the faculties V. Jakelaitis, has said to be glad about the section‘s foundation, particularly as it is in our city: “We have the pride of the founders left for us, and the City of Klaipėda has benefited out of it.“
In 1979, the Section was merged with the former State Institute of Arts of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic. After the merge, the Section was transformed into the Department of Klaipėda‘s Visual Activism, and in 1986 it was renamed the Department of Visual Communications. In 1990, after the higher school regained its former name of Vilnius Academy of Arts (hereinafter referred to as VAA), the Department has had the name of Klaipėda Department of Visual Design at VAA since 1991.
The Department has been led by a number of respectable professional artists and educators: Head Lecturers Algis Kliševičius (1974-1979), Vytautas Jakštys (1979-1981), and Vytautas Dūdėnas (1981-1982), Associate Professor at the time (1982-1983) Petras Šadauskas, later (1983-2010) – Professor Vytautas Jonas Kasputis, and since 2010, the Department has been headed by Professor Alvydas Klimas.
V. Jakštys, Aloyzas Banaitis, Giedrė Fledžinskienė, Jeronimas Pakriaušis, Antanas Paukštė, Alvydas Broga, and Adomas Skiezgelas were the first lecturers to have taught at the Department. The latter lecturer is still teaching today, and has self-proclaimed himself the “Mohican of the Department”. Architect Gytis Tiškus, jeweller Saulius Bertulis, painter Algimantas Jusionis, art critic V. Taurinskienė, and many others later taught at the Department. The current team of lecturers is comprised of Klaipėda‘s best known artists, designers, theorists, and humanitarians: Vakaris Bernotas and Alvydas Klimas, founders of one of the first design companies in Klaipėda, Arūnas Sakalauskas, sculptor and winner of the Lithuanian National Prize, Kristina Jokubavičienė, the Director of P. Domšaitis Gallery of the Lithuanian Art Museum, calligrapher and graphic designer Lidija Kuklienė, and many others.
2013 for the Klaipėda subdivision of the VAA was the year of crucial change. On 20 March 2013, the VAA Senate confirmed the establishment of the Klaipėda Faculty, and on 1 October, the Faculty began its first academic year.
Four Bachelor‘s study programmes were launched:
Contemporary Art and Media.
The Master‘s course for Visual Design is also available. With the launch of new Graphic and Interior Design curricula, admissions to the Bachelor‘s study programme for Visual Design were suspended. The final generation of Bachelor‘s students currently doing the course of this longtime study epic will be graduating next year.
The VAA Institute of Urban Development, Design, and Architecture (hereinafter referred to as UDDA), founded as part of the Klaipėda Faculty of the VAA is the base for research and practice for VAA students and lecturers.
Another significant change that occured was the opening of new premises in the Old Town of Klaipėda in November 2013. Klaipėda Municipality handed over the premises of the former Vydūnas High School (18 Daržų st.) to the Faculty. The costs of the renovation of the premises were covered by the VAA. The heating, water, and sewerage systems were repaired, windows and doors were changed, and the walls were repainted. The renovation helped to create good conditions for studying.