Letter from President Lazarus
Never have I felt so energized about MICA’s leadership role in art and design education. The College is uniquely positioned to influence the world by producing artists and designers who are changing paradigms every day in countless ways. We are creators. We are builders. We are collaborators. In addition to our groundbreaking academic programming, the work of our students at every level, the singular insight of our faculty, and our ability to forge collaboration among diverse entities to solve problems have earned us a label that has particular meaning for us at this point in our history: innovators.
The world is struggling to awaken from the global trance induced by the recent recession and asking questions without obvious answers. With trust in government and corporations at all-time lows, where do people turn for inspiration? The rapid proliferation of technology has given us unprecedented ability to communicate and share, but how do we use this new power responsibly and ethically? Have the blue-collar and white-collar jobs that have traditionally formed the economic foundation of developed countries simply evaporated, and what will be the jobs of tomorrow? What products and services are relevant today? How will art and culture impact the vast majority of people around the world whose lives are changing right before their eyes? Thankfully, as the world resets itself, MICA artists and designers are singularly positioned to provide inventive answers to the questions that people everywhere are asking. We are leading the process of rethinking assumptions and creating a new normal.
Last year, MICA and our supporters worked together to set new academic, development, and visibility standards for our institution:
- We welcomed the largest gift in the college’s history, a $10 million investment in graduate programming by longtime trustee George L. Bunting, Jr. and Anne Bunting.
- The $2.3 million in annual giving by our dedicated donors is a new record.
- The number of graduate students enrolled in our programs was the largest ever.
- The more than 1900 mentions of mica in the press in fiscal year 2011 are double the number from the previous year.
- Our Facebook friend ranks grew by 68% and our Twitter follower numbers increased by 57%.
A tremendous number of students, alumni, and faculty members have been recognized for their genius through awards such as The MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Mary Sawyer Baker Award, the Meyer Fellowship, the Eisner Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Mellon Foundation Fellowship. Exhibitions curated by faculty and staff have garnered international recognition. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as you will see throughout this report.
We are building on our success—literally. Though we have been working with residents and organizations in the underserved East Baltimore area for years, we have now opened our first formal facility there, MICA PLACE (Programs Linking Art, Culture, and Education), to do just what the name implies. We have launched new graduate programs in illustration practice, curatorial practice, business for artists and designers, community arts, and social design, and are developing even more. To complement the expansion of our graduate programs, we have begun enlarging the academic and programming space in the Graduate Studio Center and anchoring the redevelopment of Baltimore’s North Avenue in the process. This truly has been a banner year.
As 2011 graduate Stephen Edmond said, “MICA doesn’t just encourage excellence and self-expression; we require it.” We don’t just hope that students will one day create transformative art and design; we expect students to make a real difference in the world right now. But they would not be able to receive the training, mentorship, exposure, and access to resources that are so critical to their growth as artists and designers without your support.
MICA has never been more globally relevant. We have never been more internationally visible. But we could not be successful if you were not a part of our family.
Fred Lazarus IV, President