Higher education institution for art studies was establised in Poznań in 1919 as School of Decorative Arts (Szkoła Zdobnicza). Initially it focused on handicraft. In 1921 the school was put under state government and renamed State School of Decorative Arts and the Art Industry(Państwowa Szkoła Sztuk Zdobniczych i Przemysłu Artystycznego).
Along with new name changes were introduced in school’s structure. In 1925 Karol Zyndram Maszkowski, a former student of Jan Matejko, became the director. The Faculty of Interior Designed was opened. In the inter-war years Zdobnicza (as the school was widely known) was the country’s leading institution educating artists and designers. It also integrated the small artistic community of Poznań.
After the War, Jan Wroniecki was granted a permision from the authorities to open a higher school of fine arts in Poznań. State Higher School of Fine Arts was created. It comprised of two faculties: Faculty of Painting and Graphic Arts and Faculty of Interior Design and Sculpture.
The 1950’s were not a a favourable period for the school. The authorities assigned each school one specialization and so graphic arts, painting and weavery were abolished. Furniture design and interior design became main disciplines. After the political thaw of 1956 Stanisław Teisseyre and Piotr Potworowski joined the faculty. The school relocated to the former seat of Starostwo Krajowe. In the 1960’s many new artists joined the school.
Throughout the years, independent galleries sprung up in Poznań: starting from odNowa to Wilka 19, Akumulatory 2, ON,AT. Those galleries were strictyl related with the school. They gave an impuls to a different way of thinking about art and unleashed new creative energy. This energy along with a new curriculum intorduced by Jarosław Kozłowski, who serves at the recotr between 1981 and 1987, contributed to schools specific character. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s the galleries provided an opportunity to instantly check the concepts of curriculum in artistic practice. Recognising the importance of space in artisitc activity became the school’s trademark.
In 1996 the school was granted the status of Academy of Fine Arts. The school constantly developed, increased the number of students, gained new buildings and opened new degree programmes.
Joining the European Union open new financial perspectives. During the term of rector prof. Marcin Berdyszak the historical seat of the univeristy was renovated. A new building opened in 2016 raised the standards of studying and is fully adapter to the needs of persons with disabilities. The last few years have also been a periodof opening the school for international students: degree programs in English were opened and the Eramsus Programme has been operating well.
In 2010 the school met all criteria to be granted the status of Univeristy of the Arts.
Prof. Wojciech Hora was elected the new rector in 2016. Since then, five univerisy galleries have been opened in cooperation with the city of Poznan –the UAP Municipal Galleries. The school has been opening to many audiences and workshops have been taking place. The UAP Cafe student club has been opened and new space in UAP Atrium has been opened where concert, events and lectures take place. In 2017 The end of year exhibition became a part of the first edition of Poznan Art Week.
In 2019 the school will celebrate its 100th anniversary.