The State Drawing School was opened on 1 October 1896 by Decree signed by Knyaz 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 Markvichka and Boris Shats and men of letters Konstantin Velichkov and Ivan Shishmanov.
In 1911 the teaching staff submitted a plan for development to the 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 Drawing School was renamed to Academy of Art.
Today the former Drawing School is called National Academy of Art, which till this very day is still considered to be 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 (in BA, MA and DA degrees).