President Mary K. Grant with Brenda Molife, our new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at a brunch the President hosted with current and former Trustees.  

President's Newsletter: Welcome to Fall Semester!

Dear MassArt Community,

I hope that over the summer weeks you’ve recharged, enjoyed a little rest, spent time with family and friends and had some fun. On the fun side of the ledger, just a few weeks ago I tried paddleboarding for the first time – it’s amazing how refreshing falling off the board is on a hot summer day!

Throughout the past few months there has been a full range of activities and programs on campus and across the community. MassArt’s robust summer youth programs had another banner season, hosting a total of 259 students of all ages! Artward Bound served 35 high-school students over six weeks, culminating in an exhibition of their work addressing climate change and sustainable futures. Youth Programs returned to in-person classes for the first time since 2019, with 224 students participating in Creative Studios, Summer Intensives, and Pre-College Studios. MAAM’s new event series, Art on the Plaza, welcomed community members with creative, free programming including artmaking for all ages along with outdoor activities and music. Thank you to all our students, faculty, and staff who made these innovative programs and activities a success.

Summer was also a very busy time for a full cohort of MassArt graduate students. Low-Residency MFA students spent six intensive weeks on campus and our third-year students presented their final work in the thought-provoking 2022 MFA summer thesis exhibition Where I’m Coming From, at the MassArt x SoWa gallery. Architecture students are nearing completion of the latest project of the Community Build program, now in its 14th year, working in partnership with the City of Newton to produce a multi-use butterfly pavilion and outdoor classroom in Cabot Park for visitors young and old. It’s always a pleasure to see the work of our talented graduate students who put their creativity to work and make such a difference.

In collaboration with King Boston, we hosted the closing day of the Embrace Ideas Festival, a 5-day festival of programming designed to amplify antiracism and transformative change in the City of Boston. We also welcomed for the first time “Women2Women,” a program including nearly 100 young women from 19 countries, who came together to build global networks and develop and deepen leadership skills. These programs all serve as important reminders of the many ways we engage with the community here in Boston, across the Commonwealth, the country, and the world, and how our mission and dynamic framework of education, art, creativity, design, innovation, equity, and inclusion enable us to have an impact and make a difference.

As we began the summer, back in June, we welcomed former MassArt Trustees, along with current board members and President Emerita Kay Sloan for a brunch at MAAM. This was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with colleagues who served the college for so many years and to update them on all that is going on, particularly as we look ahead to our 150th anniversary. The energy, passion, and warmth in the room was tremendous, as many of our guests were delighted to be back on campus for the first time in recent years.They had several excellent ideas to share for celebrating the 150th, and are eager to continue advocating for the College.

On July 14th, we hosted members of the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, to give them an overview of MassArt and its significance to higher education in the Commonwealth. Representative Mary Keefe (15th Worcester District), a MassArt alumna, was among our honored guests. We were delighted to learn that many of our guests had relatives who are alumni of MassArt – our graduates are everywhere! Many of the legislators had not been on campus in a long time, and for some it was their first visit. They all welcomed the chance to learn more about MassArt. I look forward to continuing to strengthen and deepen these important relationships.

Also on campus, throughout the summer many of our colleagues have been hard at work enlivening our environment with large-scale visuals. On the Tower second floor, you will find vibrant murals between the elevators and Public Safety created by Class of 2022 Illustration majors Karen West, Mollie Larum, Olivia Herlihy, and Josie Siegel. When you enter the DMC Atrium you cannot miss the stunning mural “Intrepid” produced by GN Crew Boston, who were our Adderley Public Artists in Residence this past April. See the “Intrepid” mural image below and a link to a September 29th reception celebrating the new installation. And as you move about in the Tower, you will note wonderful visuals going up on every bay of elevators, in a project conceived and led by Associate Director of Technology Clint Baclawski to feature artwork from faculty, staff, and alumni. We will gather as a community to officially unveil the impressive collection. Until then, you can preview the image from the 5th floor below.

I am delighted to spotlight several new grants received across the College in recognition of our colleagues’ outstanding work, including $100,000 Cummings Foundation grant to Artward Bound, $70,000 to support the Creative Economy Business Incubator funded by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and a grant of $101,260 from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education as part of the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI). Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on the recognition of their work.

Congratulations to our colleague Steve Locke, MassArt Honorary Degree recipient, former faculty member and alumnus, who last week was named winner of the prestigious 2022 deCordova Rappaport Prize. Steve’s wide-ranging practice - spanning painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation, and critically engages with the Western canon to consider the connections among desire, identity, and violence. It’s always a pleasure to learn about the stellar accomplishments of our alumni, and I am thrilled to see Steve’s moving and important work recognized in this way. 

Across campus our dedicated, creative team in Facilities has been hard at work – checkout the umbrellas on our picnic tables along Huntington Avenue, ceiling tiles have been replaced, in the Residence Halls we are updating some furniture, and clean-up is occurring throughout campus. 

A thanks as well to our Human Resources, Administration and Finance, and the Employee Engagement Group for their creative work organizing a couple of wonderful summer gatherings which featured some highly competitive games of Jenga and Cornhole, along with good food, fun, and, most importantly, a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues.

On August 31/September 1, we look forward to a revamped “New Employee Orientation” for faculty and staff. Our Academic Affairs and Human Resources teams have been working together for weeks to develop an integrated, robust program to welcome our newest community members and help them get a good start with this friendly crash course in “how MassArt works.” I can’t wait to see you all there and welcome you personally to MassArt.

As I reflect on all the inspiring activity around MassArt, I feel fortunate to be a part of this dynamic community! The year 2023 is going to be a memorable one, as we have the 150th Anniversary Celebration ahead. I am thrilled to reach this milestone together, to honor our legacy and achievements, and to work side by side with you to build our future. Anniversary plans are taking shape, and we will need every member of the College to move us forward, set our vision, and achieve our goals. 

To our faculty and staff, please save the date for Opening Day on Tuesday, September 6th, at 9:30am in the Pozen Center. This will be MassArt’s first fully in-person Opening Day since 2019, so I’m looking forward to a big turnout!

To our students, we have a lot planned for you as we kick off this academic year--and I am thrilled to welcome you all back to campus. Join me for a September “coffee open house” on Monday, September 12th from 1-2pm in the DMC Atrium – I'm looking forward to a chance to say hello, and to see how you are doing!

This year ahead brings with it new opportunities and renewed energy.  I am grateful to each and every one of you and appreciate all that you do and the talent, energy, experience and optimism that are so essential to the success and strength of MassArt.  I can’t wait to see you and to kick off a new year together!

My best,

Mary K. Grant, PhD
President Grant, along with Board of Trustees Chair Elisa Hamilton and Trustee Greg Stone, hosted members of the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development in July. Among the honored guests: Representative Mary Keefe, a MassArt alumna (pictured third from left). 
Artward Bound Receives Grant: The Artward Bound program was one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants through the Cummings Foundation $25 million grant program. Read more.
Artists in Residence: GN Crew Mural Reception, Sept. 29
Celebrate the unveiling of Intrepid, a mural designed for the MassArt community, and hear directly from the artists and students who brought it to life. View event details. 
Embrace Ideas Festival: MassArt hosted a day of programming in this week-long gathering that brought together leaders to amplify antiracism work and a vision for transforming Boston by 2030. Learn more.
MassArt Elevators Level Up
New visuals are currently being installed on the elevators of each level of the Tower. Stay tuned for more images of the installation and our plan to celebrate this new campus feature!
Office of the President

Photo Credits: Yukai Chen, Melissa Ostrow, Mike Ritter, MassArt Staff