Opening Reception for DMC Mural, "Intrepid" on Sept. 29. Pictured left to right: JET Dean Lyssa Palu-ay, Associate Provost James Mason, JET Assistant Director Brenda Bailey, Carol Ndegwa (MassArt alumna), Laura Buscemi (MassArt student), Rob “Problak” Gibbs, Lee "SOEMS" Beard, Luis “Take 1” Taforo, President Mary Grant, Genaro “Go Five” Ortega ‘09, and in front, CPO Ibrahim Dumbuya.
President's Newsletter: Reflecting on Our Community

Dear MassArt Community,

It’s hard to believe we are already wrapping up the first month of Fall semester. It seems like just yesterday that we gathered for Opening Day, reconnected with colleagues on campus again, and set our sights on the bright new year ahead.

In our first days of the semester, I have been thinking about what it means to be a part of the MassArt community – the important work we create, the ways we support one another, and our engagement with the wider world. The importance of community is evident in hard times – such as the devastation wreaked by hurricanes Fiona and Ian in the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada. The people and places impacted are in our hearts and minds.
On the theme of community, I want to share some of the inspiring activities and conversations I’ve been enjoying across campus and beyond, and a few that I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks.

I was delighted to join our Center for Art and Community Partnerships (CACP) colleagues Ceci Méndez-Ortiz and Ekua Holmes at the annual Grove Hall in Color-Back to School event, and see MassArt’s sparc! the ArtMobile in action. With beautiful weather and a lively multi-generational crowd enjoying art making, food, and games, it was wonderful to experience the deep community engagement that our colleagues in CACP make happen every day. Thank you to everyone who made this special day happen, and for modeling the ways that everyone at MassArt can engage with our community.

On September 20th, JET hosted an important discussion with Dr. Tia Brown McNair, whose work explores what it means to be a student-ready campus. While we are all familiar with the phrase “college ready students,” Dr. McNair’s positive perspective encourages us to build a “student ready college,” with every one of us contributing to and generating ideas for better preparing our campus for all students. I’m still reflecting on Tia’s talk and thinking about her closing remark: “Every decision has an equity consequence.” Thank you to the JET team for organizing and hosting the virtual book talk, and the 50+ MassArt faculty and staff who were able to join us for a thoughtful discussion – I look forward to making continued progress on this critical work. 

Over the past few weeks, we’ve hosted State Representative Chynah Tyler and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll on campus and I had the opportunity to talk with U.S. Representative Jake Auchincloss at a recent meeting of the New England Council. I had the privilege of attending President Biden’s historic visit to Boston to discuss his “moonshot” plans to defeat cancer and found it to be truly inspiring. This event, and every moment I have with elected officials and community leaders, allows me to advocate for our institution and showcase our unique contributions to the greater Commonwealth and beyond. 

And I must tell you – talking up MassArt is easy when I look around at the richness of awe-inspiring activities on our campus. This month Cecilia Vázquez spearheaded a partnership between FA2D and the prestigious Clark Art Institute to host the Mexican Consul General in Boston, Alberto Fierro Garza, and to honor the iconic work of Mexican lithographer, engraver, and cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada. MassArt x SoWa hosted a pecha kucha (a storytelling-based slide presentation format) to explore The New Drawing Room, an exhibition that welcomes everyone to join artists in the sanctuary of the studio to explore and make sense of the world around us. On September 21st Student Development and MassArtVOTES collaborated to commemorate Citizenship/Constitution Day by inviting our community members to register to vote and learn about the Constitution. Our thanks to Luchiano Montero, Program Coordinator for Student Engagement for managing this important annual event, as we do our part to promote civic learning and democratic engagement on campus and beyond. 

MassArt alumni gathered at the 2022 Alumni and Friends Retreat at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, on Deer Isle, Maine. An ever-popular annual event, this year’s retreat drew 70+ registrations in just a few minutes! Thank you to longtime organizers FA3D Professor Janna Longacre and the Alumni Relations team: Darlene Gillan, Megan Cronin, and Olga Batyuk. This week, MAAM hosted a compelling and timely panel discussion, “All My Babies: Reproductive Justice for the Twenty-First Century,” followed by an opening reception for the Designing Motherhood exhibition. And, last night, we welcomed the GN Crew back to campus for a discussion and celebration of the large-scale DMC atrium mural “Intrepid.” The mural project has been a wonderful partnership between these talented artists and our talented students. 

As we look ahead, keep an eye on the MassArt events calendar for a Tower Elevator “Vertical Reception,” which will be a fun opportunity to view the incredible artwork on every floor, thanks to our generous community of artists. On October 27th, the 6th Alumni Biennial Exhibition (Re)Connect will host an opening reception in the Thompson Gallery. The show will spotlight works produced by alumni that explore the theme of “connections,” with special attention to the ways connection has been reimagined since 2020. In a moment when we are still marveling at the joy of coming together in person again, I am eager to see our alumni reflections on this timeless theme.

In the coming months, I am happy to say we will have many opportunities to gather and connect over our shared values and vision for the future. Looking to our 150th Anniversary celebrations in 2023, I am humbled and honored to begin this momentous year with my inauguration on January 20th. The rest of the year will offer an array of inspiring events, new projects, and community engagement opportunities – stay tuned to learn more! 

As we move into Fall, I hope that you will take time to look around you, appreciate our vibrant community, and seize every opportunity to support one another in our collective efforts to make a positive impact on our world. As always, my deep thanks to all of you for everything you do every day. You make MassArt the uniquely welcoming and supportive community that inspires me and fills me with hope for the future.  

My best,

Mary K. Grant, PhD
Grove Hall in Color - Back to School: MassArt's CACP hosted a fun-filled back to school art-making event. Pictured: CACP Director Ceci Méndez-Ortiz and Associate Director Ekua Holmes along with Robert Chambers, VP of Strategic Engagement and Chief of Staff.
President Grant, along with Associate Professor Cecilia Vázquez, Anne Leonard - Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Clark Art Institute, and Alberto Fierro Garza, Consul General of Mexico in Boston.
Sept. 28 MAAM panel discussion, "All My Babies: Reproductive Justice for the Twenty-First Century Panel" participants. Pictured: Lisa Tung, MAAM Executive Director; Michelle Millar Fisher, Designing Motherhood co-curator; Nashira Baril, Director of Neighborhood Birth Center Boston; Jennie Joseph, midwife and leading expert on women's health, Gabriella Nelson, Associate Director of Policy, Maternity Care Coalition, Philadelphia; President Mary Grant; Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts; and Brenda Molife, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. 
MassArt alumni Owen Roberts (‘15 BFA Ceramics) and Erica Hood ('14 BFA Ceramics) ran a workshop on the Japanese firing method of Raku at this year’s Alumni and Friends Retreat at Haystack.
Massachusetts Connections: 
While attending President Biden's "moonshot" speech, President Grant connected with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.  

Opening Reception: MassArt's 6th Biennial Juried Alumni Exhibition 
Showcasing the breadth of talent and excellence embodied by our alumni, this exhibition features the work of alumni artists whose work explores the theme of "connections." Learn more. 
Office of the President

Photo Credits: Olga Batyuk, Yukai Chen, Joyce Linehan, Melissa Ostrow.