President Mary K. Grant enjoys the recent Giving Thanks event with Brenda Molife, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs; Maureen Keefe, Vice President of Student Development; and John Intoppa, President of Student Government Association (SGA).
President's Newsletter: MassArt Students Lead the Way

Dear MassArt Community,

As we return from Thanksgiving break, I hope you found time for rest and relaxation, for reconnecting with family and friends, and for recharging your spirit. The final weeks of the semester are always busy and exciting, with lots of creativity and energy surrounding us.

I have been touched and inspired by the ways our students, faculty, and staff are marking this season of gratitude and togetherness. At our second annual “Giving Thanks” event it was so great to connect with faculty and staff, and enjoy some good food and fun. Our dedicated colleagues in Advancement successfully led this year’s MassArt Giving Tuesday, and as of this writing, they have raised a record-breaking $85,257 from 379 donors. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s campaign a success and to all of you who donated and helped spread the word. Through December 9th, Student Development is running the annual Fall Food Drive for The Shelf, an initiative that offers free non-perishable food and toiletries to any MassArt student who may need them. Clay for Change is in its 15th year, raising over $140,000 for the Attleboro and Roxbury communities to date, and earlier this fall I had the pleasure of stopping by the pottery studio and seeing some of the fun! 

During this busy time of year, I am delighted to hear of the many recent accomplishments and extraordinary projects of our inspiring students. This month, Fashion Design Certificate student Shahnoor Shafqat showed great initiative and helped lead her team to win the 2022 Biodesign Sprint Competition. Another Fashion Design student, Alana Locke, recently won the Muji 15th anniversary “My Bag” design competition, and her work will be featured on the store’s branded bags in Boston. I am pleased to announce that MFA 3D student Hadis Karimi has been awarded a scholarship established by former faculty member Jill Slosburg-Ackerman. We are grateful to Jill for her generosity and her commitment to expanding scholarship opportunities for MassArt students. Our Art Education students are currently collaborating with middle school students at the Umana Academy in East Boston to produce a public ceramic tile mural exploring climate change, resilience, and adaptability. Janna Longacre and Ben Ryterband are firing the 600+ tiles for the project - I can’t wait to see the final results. I also want to note that the work of Izzy Phillips (Illustration '24) has just been selected for use on social media by the JFK Foundation Earthshot Prize Committee, an initiative established to generate bold solutions to combat climate change in the next decade - congratulations to Izzy!

As always, student exhibitions bring our campus to life every day. This month, I hope you got a chance to enjoy “Birds of a Feather” in the Tower West Lobby gallery. Our thanks to Haley Johnson (‘23 Painting) and her fellow exhibition organizers for curating this unique and impressive show. At MassArt x SoWa, the inaugural Design Biennial exhibition features student work from the Dynamic Media Institute, the Master of Design Innovation and Master of Architecture programs, and professional certificate programs in Communication Design, Fashion Design, and Furniture Design. The show will be on view through January 8th, and you can attend a First Friday reception on December 2nd or January 8th. 

MassArt students also continue to impress me with their community-oriented approach to campus life. I am pleased to report that this Fall the Student Government Association (SGA), led by President John Intoppa, has seen increased engagement across our student body, particularly among first years. There has been a wave of new student organizations, such as the MassArt Sewing Machine, The Sunrise Movement, and the Garment Printing Club, with several more prospective groups currently seeking SGA recognition. In reflecting on this surge of activity, John noted that following the difficult past few years, “it's been awe-inspiring to see the SGA be filled with so many new organizations.” And just yesterday, the Migration Committee (focused on course and credit restructuring) hosted a Student Town Hall, offering an opportunity for our students to voice their opinions and share their MassArt course experiences. Thank you to our students for their leadership and initiative in gathering this group.

Our remarkable students are always on my mind as I engage with the broader higher education community. Recently we hosted a Board of Higher Education (BHE) retirement party celebrating the outgoing Commissioner Carlos Santiago. Like us, the BHE consistently focuses on student success, and we look forward to working closely with the new Commissioner Noe Ortega, in the years to come. I am also honored to join the Boston Public School volunteer leadership’s School Committee Nominating Committee, as well as the Chamber of Commerce Higher Education Leadership Council. I feel privileged to represent our institution across the city and the Commonwealth in these important spaces, especially when I serve alongside other MassArt leaders. Just this week Governor-elect Maura Healey announced her transition team policy committees, and Brenda Molife, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, will represent the creative sector by serving on the committee focusing on jobs and building a flourishing economy for all.

As we launch MassArt’s 150th anniversary year in January 2023, there will be many opportunities to highlight MassArt as a leader in the Commonwealth, and to shine a light on our incredible students, alumni, faculty, and staff. We have a lot to be proud of as we mark this important milestone together, and a lot to continue striving toward as we look ahead and map out our future.

But before we can bring in the New Year, we have a busy semester to finish! I hope that each of us can take small moments amid the deadlines and long hours to take care of ourselves and one another, to rest and make time for fun and play. We are all so incredibly lucky to live, work, and learn together as members of this special community. 

To our students: we are all here to support you, to cheer you on in your successes, and to help you achieve your goals. You inspire us with your talent and drive, your caring spirit, and your enthusiasm for the creative futures you are bringing to life. 


Mary K. Grant, PhD
HR Team at Giving Thanks event on Nov. 22: Stephanie Drakes, HR Assistant; David Quiroga, HR Generalist; Christine Lumbres, HR Generalist; Tony Brooks, Interim Sr. HR Generalist; Sandra Knight, Interim Executive Director; and Jack Giarusso, Sr. HR Consultant.
President Grant in the ceramics studio as students participate in "Clay for Change." Pictured here are also Professors Janna Longacre and Ben Ryterband, ceramics; Elena Belle White, Associate Director of the Center for Art and Community Partnerships; Rylie Paul and Kylie Marden, 2022-23 Clay for Change student leaders; and Reggie Jean, Director for Haley House. 
Local art teacher Ardis Tennyson-Loiselle of the Umana Academy in East Boston with MassArt Art Ed student Anna Cristel Saldana Romo, working together on a community tile project on climate change.
"Together We Thrive" by illustration student Izzy Phillips, selected for the JFK Library Earthshot Prize social media. 
MassArt x SoWa is pleased to present the gallery’s inaugural Design Biennial, a juried exhibition featuring select work from faculty, students, alumni, and staff of the college’s graduate and professional certificate programs in Design.
President Grant at the MassArt-hosted retirement party for retiring Commissioner Carlos Santiago. Pictured left to right:  Luis Pedraja, President of Quinsigamond Community College; Pam Eddinger, President of Bunker Hill Community College; Christina Royal, President of Holyoke Community College; David Podell, President of Mass Bay Community College; Carlos Santiago, retiring Commissioner of Higher Education; President Grant; Ellen Kennedy, President of Berkshire Community College; Barry Maloney, President of Worcester State University; Nancy Niemi, President of Framingham State University; and John Keenan, President of Salem State University.
Office of the President

Photo Credits: Yukai Chen, Janna Longacre, Melissa Ostrow.