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Preservation Maryland Honors MICA President Fred Lazarus

Wednesday, Nov. 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Maryland Club

Posted 10.29.08 by MICA Media Relations

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) President Fred Lazarus IV will be honored with Preservation Maryland's Stewardship Award at the historic preservation organization's annual meeting and reception Wednesday, Nov. 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Maryland Club, One Eager Street.

Lazarus is being recognized for demonstrating exemplary stewardship of the collection of historic buildings that form a significant part of MICA's campus-a campus that has grown almost entirely through the acquisition and renewal of historic structures-during his 30-year tenure at the art and design College.

"Fred Lazarus has been a leader in historic preservation and urban design," said Tyler Gearhart, executive director of Preservation Maryland. "He has established MICA as a leading arts school nationally and as a major cultural institution in Baltimore by embracing preservation principles and creating an unique educational environment that has a real ‘sense of place' on MICA's campus."

Lazarus was nominated for the Stewardship Award by David Wright, a principal with Baltimore-based GWWO Architects. The firm shared the 2007 award with Historic Hampton, NPS, and Constellation Energy.

"Mr. Lazarus's commitment to enriching the environment of his community-both the historic and the modern-has spanned three decades and deserves hearty recognition," Wright wrote in the nomination letter. "The old architecture has been preserved with glorious results, and has been enhanced with new neighbors that not only complement the historic volumes and forms, but in fact make the entire ensemble sing."

Wright noted a number of preservation projects that Lazarus has overseen during his 30-year tenure:

• Exterior restoration and interior rehabilitation of the original 1905 Main Building.

• Renovations to an historic shoe factory building, now the Fox Building, into classrooms and studios. Completed in 1980, the renovations retained the industrial character of both the exterior and interior.

• The Mount Royal Station, built in the 1890s as a B&O station, was originally converted to a studio; classroom and gallery use in the mid-1960s, and was further preserved and renovated during Lazarus' tenure between 2004 and 2007.

• The historic Firehouse, flanking North Avenue, was fully restored on the exterior and rehabilitated inside in 2003 to house the College's operations and facilities management.

• Meyerhoff House, completed in 2002, was originally built as the Hospital for the Women of Maryland, and later converted into a nursing home until it closed in the 1990s. The property lay vacant for seven years until MICA purchased it for renovation. It houses more than 200 students and also includes food service, student affairs offices, and a fitness center.

• Bunting Center, completely renovated in the mid-1990s to open in 1998, converted an existing office building into a vital campus neighborhood complex, including coffee shop, classrooms, and the collegiate library facilities.

• The North Avenue Studio Center, an old manufacturing facility of the Joseph A. Bank clothier and Morgan Millwork prior to that, is receiving ongoing work to fulfill its purpose as a graduate-themed complex whose occupants include Hoffberger School of Painting, Mount Royal School of Art, and Photographic and Electronic Media.

Wright also praised new projects that, through thoughtful infill development of vacant land, have enlivened and energized the community around MICA's campus. These projects include The Commons, MICA's first student residence, completed in 1992; Brown Center, a center for digital art and design, which opened in 2004 and has won international recognition for its design excellence; and The Gateway, a residential and student life center that opened this fall. "The Gateway serves as an anchor and signpost for the north end of the MICA campus, the Art and Entertainment District, and the Mount Royal Cultural Corridor, and has become an instant landmark along the Jones Falls Expressway," Wright wrote.

Fred Lazarus joins two other leaders who have demonstrated excellence in preservation who are also being honored at this event. This year's President's Award will be presented to Eileen S. McGuckian for her leadership in preserving Montgomery County's rich and diverse heritage. For outstanding volunteer contributions to historic preservation in Maryland, the George T. Harrison Award will be presented to Mildred Ridgley-Gray, a retired educator and lifelong resident of Prince Georges County.

Pratt Cassity, director of Public Service and Outreach for the College of Environment and Design at University of Georgia, will be the keynote speaker at the Nov. 5 annual meeting and reception. Cassity will discuss "New Design in Historic Districts."

The cost of the annual meeting and reception is $50 for members, $60 for non-members. Call 410-685-2886 or e-mail pm@PreservationMaryland.org. The Preservation Maryland Web site is www.preservemd.org.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.