“In order for MICA to be competitive and to continue to attract the very best students, we have to invest in excellent facilities, offer exceptional teaching, and create a culture where young artists can thrive. We have to think ahead to what the world will be like in 25 years and how MICA students will play a role in that world.” Fredye Wright Gross
“Adam and I believe a great society requires great culture. We are lucky to have one of the highest-regarded art colleges in the world right here in Baltimore. For it to thrive, MICA requires leadership and support from the community.”
Perhaps no other couple is as uniquely positioned to understand how art, design, and culture impact Baltimore as are Adam and Fredye Gross. Adam Gross is a principal at the highly regarded architecture and design firm Ayers Saint Gross. Fredye Wright Gross, an arts advocate, has served on MICA’s Board of Trustees for 30 years and is the current chair.
They are tireless proponents of MICA, lending their ideas and expertise to advance the College’s strategic positioning. They have helped raise its visibility and bring more lovers of art and education into the ranks of MICA supporters. They are fixtures at MICA events year-round. Under the leadership of Chairwoman Gross, MICA has virtually doubled the number of graduate programs and brought in the largest freshman classes in the school’s history. But even though they commit their time and energy, Adam and Fredye see the need to make a financial contribution as well.
They wanted their gift this year to have a long-lasting impact and thought hard about how best to invest in the College’s future. After considering scholarships and other options, they zeroed in on the Graduate Studio Center renovation project. They felt that growth in graduate programming is critical to the College’s global leadership role in art and design education, and they wanted to support that growth in a significant, meaningful way.
Their financial gift, earmarked to support the Center, will be paid over the next few years, thereby tracking the annual growth now planned for graduate programming. The renovation of the Graduate Studio Center, located in Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District, will provide state-of-the-art instructional, studio, and work space for graduate students, and serve as a hub for graduate programming, admissions, and collaboration.
The Grosses are just as enthusiastic about the renovation’s design— one that physically connects the graduate students with the surrounding communities. The renovation of the Graduate Studio Center will feature street level galleries that will make free exhibitions accessible to the public; a café; an auditorium that will feature speakers and discussions open to the public; and space for engagement with community partners. Large windows at street level will replace those that have been covered with brick.
Since the riots following Martin Luther King Jr.’s death in the late 1960s, Station North has been a largely neglected and deteriorating area of Baltimore. Recently, however, thanks in large part to engagement by MICA faculty, staff, and students, the Station North Arts and Entertainment District has made a comeback as a haven for art, music, cuisine, and culture.
The Grosses have witnessed MICA’s meticulous budgeting and expense management firsthand and feel confident that their gift will be stewarded in a knowledgeable, efficient, and conservative fashion. “We can be certain that the gift will go to the very best use,” Fredye said. “Adam and I are excited to be giving to a project that not only enhances our graduate facilities but provides a catalyst for change in an up and coming urban neighborhood.”