The State School of Drawing was opened on 14 October 1896 by decree signed by Prince Ferdinand. This act made legitimate the oldest institution for higher education in Bulgaria. The archive documents for the setting up of the present Academy reveal the names of outstanding public figures–artists Anton Mitov, Ivan Mrkvička and Boris Schatz, and the men of letters Konstantin Velichkov and Ivan Shishmanov.
In 1911, the teaching staff submitted a plan for development to the Bulgarian Ministry of Education in which they also put forward their request the School to be renamed to Academy of Art. Ten years later, in 1921, following a proposal by Stoyan Omarchevski, Minister of Education, the State School of Drawing was renamed to Academy of Art.
Today, the former School of Drawing is called National Academy of Art, which until this very day is still considered the most prestigious Bulgarian institution for training professional artists in the field of fine and applied arts, design, conservation and restoration, and history and theory of art (BA, MA and DA degrees).