The University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts (UPCFA) is the oldest arts and design educational institution in the country. In 2008, the CFA celebrated its centennial.
Its history can be traced back to the early 19th century, when the country's first art school, the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura, was founded on October 8, 1823 by Damian Domingo in Binondo, Manila with the help of the Sociedades Económicas de Amigos del Pais (Economic Society of Friends of the Country). It was closed in 1834 but was reopened by the Spanish government eleven years later in 1845 with the support of Queen Isabela II.
The second Academia brought over Spanish art professors who introduced European Classical traditions in art-making. It produced artists such as Simon Flores, who won a silver medal at the Philadelphia Universal Exposition of 1876—the first Filipino of native blood to win a prize from an international exhibition—and Juan Luna, whose Spoliarium won a gold medal at the Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts in 1884. In 1891, the Academia became the Escuela Superior de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado.
In 1908, the Philippine Assembly under the American colonial administration enacted Act No. 1870, establishing the University of the Philippines. The existing School of Fine Arts became one of UP's three original founding units, along with the Philippine General Hospital and the College of Agriculture.