Sumarendra Nath Gupta became the first Indian Principal of this prestigious Art institution in 1930
The School had excellent crafts teachers. Hazi Saheb, Sarder Sunder Singh, Sadhu Singh were the most eminent. After the foundation course students opted for Painting, Clay Modeling, Wood Work, Lacquer Turning, Jewellery Designing and Copper beating. The school had a strong bias in favor of training craftsmen-designers in the fields of traditional Crafts in which painting and clay modeling played a subordinate role. The partition in 1947 saw India divided into Hindustan and Pakistan. The Mayo School of Art was left in Pakistan (now known as National College of Art, Lahore), The Government of Punjab was pleased to accord the administrative approval for setting of a School of Art, Shimla (Punjab) on the pattern of Mayo School of Art. The school was given a new name Government School of Art and Craft, Punjab. S.L. Prasher, an alumnus of the Mayo school of Art, was asked to organise the Art school. He was the Vice Principal of Art School in Lahore at the time of partition and was appointed as the first principal of this institution and was given free hand to work, His search for teachers continued and he succeeded in getting creative people of his choice to join hands with him. P.N. Mago, Satish Gujral, Baldev Raj Rattan, Kanwal Nain A.C. Gautam, Sunirmal Chatterjee, P. R. Trivedi, , N. K. Dey, were the illustrious teachers. They were trained by different teachers under different centres of Art, like Calcutta School of Art, Mayo School of Art Lahore, Viswa Bharti University Santiniketan, Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai and Delhi College of Art.
So many Master Craftsmen like Pritam Singh, Jit Singh, Master Hazara Singh, Master Sujan Singh, Maghar Singh, Beli Ram were recruited to impart training in allied courses like jewellery designing, repousse work, lacquer work, ivory and inlay carving, sheet metal work with the aim to maintain a sound tradition of craftsmanship. They were the celebrated masters of their trade.
The Art school started functioning in a modest way at the fairly large cottage just below the Rashtrapati Niwas (Now known as the Institute for advanced studies) at the Summer Hill with a beautiful surrounding of Red Rhododendron flowery trees. At Shimla the Art School became one of the important Art and Cultural Centres . S.L. Prasher retired in 1959 and Sushil Sarkar replaced him as Principal in the year 1960. He was an eminent Artist and a protagonist of the Bengal School of Art. He promoted Art and Culture through various artistic pursuits and activities. When Chandigarh came up as the new Capital of Punjab, the school of Art shifted here in 1962. Situated in the heart of the City, the campus has been beautifully designed as a composite Cultural Complex by the great French Architect Le-Corbusier. The building is surrounded by vast green lawns along side the leisure valley against the beautiful back drop of Shivalik Hills, adjacent to the Government Museum and Art Gallery
The Institution has big studios with a full-fledged lighting and infrastructure facilities. Where the students can be seen doing their creative exercises.. Following the reorganization of the Punjab State with effect from Ist November 1966 the control of this institution had come over to Chandigarh Administration with a new name Government College of Art and Craft Chandigarh.
After the retirement of Sushil Sarkar, in the year 1976 Prof. Jagmohan Chopra was appointed as a Principal of this Institution. He was earlier on the faculty of College of Art, New Delhi.The College of Art got affiliated to Panjab University in 1978 and 5 years Master Diploma was converted into professional B.F.A. Degree.
In the year 1989 Mr. V.N. Singh Director Government Museum and Art Gallery was given the additional charge of the post of Principal. Some young teachers who had zeal to produce result were appointed in different disciplines in the year 1990. Later in 1996 Mr. Ranbir Dev Lohtia, one of the faculty members was given the charge of the post of Principal of the institution. 1997 the college entered in to another chapter of technology, when the computer graphic was introduced for the students as one of the subjects. In 1999 Mr.Prem Singh, eminent educationist and recipient of Triennale India Award was given the charge of the post of Principal of this institution. New objectives, fresh teaching programmes and training schedules were chalked out to achieve an overall refinement of the students perception not confined to the skill of profession alone but also to create the right kind of intellect as well as emotional cultivation. After the retirement of Prem Singh charge of Principal was handed over to Mr.Brahm Parkash, who had been serving as a Faculty member in the College, is an eminent artist with National and Triennale India Award to his credit. Master degree (MFA) in all the discipline was introduced for the first time for the benefit of our students with his great efforts in the year 2004.Mrs. Archana Shastri from NIFT joined as a first lady principal in the year 2008. In the year 2009, Mr. D S Kapoor took the charge as Principal. He was the third generation of students and teacher in this institution. His contribution are launching of computer Graphics as one of the subject, introduction of Float making during Chandigarh Carnival, designing of College websites. Presently Mr. Manohar Lal is the Principal in Charge.
The staff and students of the college of Art have done well at the National and International level. The college has produced a good number of Artists, whose contribution in enriching the quality of life of our people through Art cannot be over overlooked. Since Art is the vehicle of social change it is the onerous responsibility of the growing Artists to take forward the precious legacy of this rich heritage through their artistic manifestation. Among the notables are Sohan Qadri, R.S. Rania, Shiv Singh, Surinder Bhardwaj, Prem Singh, Avtarjeet Singh Dhanjal, H.S. Kular, Gurcharan Singh, Viren Tanwar, Ranbir Singh Kalika , Sukvinder Singh. It is a matter of great pride for this institution that some of the students from this Institution like Jodh Singh, Shiv Singh, Gurchanran Singh, Ranbir Singh Kalika, Subhash Gupta, Sukhvinder Singh, The creative approach to learning at this institution should continue with a motto "we love nature and play with colours". Diwan Manna have won the National Award from Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.