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MICA History Book

MICA’s nearly two-century history is one of resilience, reinvention, and leadership, and one that will be told through 336 pages of flowing narrative and more than 450 images. The layers of history, from 1826 through the present and looking into the future, are written by Vice President for Development Emeritus Douglas L. Frost, who undertook this uncharted venture upon his 2006 retirement after 40 years of service to the College.


Opening essays for Making History / Making Art / MICA have been written by Baltimore Museum of Art Director Doreen Bolger, 1976 alumnus Jeff Koons, President Fred Lazarus, and Walters Art Museum Director Gary Vikan. Hundreds of alumni, faculty, trustees, staff , and friends provided invaluable information, recollections, memorabilia, and encouragement for the project. The oversized, full-color, hard-cover, Smyth-bound book—an artwork in itself—was designed by Pentagram, namely faculty member Abbott Miller and Jeremy Hoffman '00 (graphic design), and printed locally in Sparks, Md., by Schmitz Press.

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The book looks at how the visual arts and those who create them have an indelible influence on all of us as individuals and as members of the global society. So how do you prepare young creative students to become artist citizens who will contribute and make a difference today--and tomorrow? Told from the perspective of one of the nation's oldest art colleges, this is the story of how the education of the artist evolved over nearly two centuries at MICA--today's leading college of art in the nation.

From its roots as the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, the College's history spans the great advances in technology of the Industrial Revolution to the fast-paced, ever changing technology from the Digital Age. It is a story of a resilient institution that endured the upheavals of Civil, World and Cold wars, the Great Fire of Baltimore and the Great Depression, the politically tumultuous Sixties and the sobering realities of the 21st century-and not only survived but thrived. The threads of MICA's history are interwoven with those of America itself, with links to historical and cultural icons, including Noah Webster, Abraham Lincoln, Louis Kahn, Alistaire Cooke, Grace Hartigan, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Making History / Making Art chronicles how MICA's educational program has evolved from the strictly prescribed European Classical definition of "what art is" to a contemporary model that also embraces blurring the boundaries of "what is art?" Maintaining a balance that practices and celebrates both tradition and innovation is fundamental to the College's teaching philosophy and a central element to MICA's success-and the success of the students who are adept with a paint brush and a computer and equally comfortable creating with both. The book addresses how the art college of today must be a major player in the sustainability of our society, an incubator for creative problem solving on a global scale. MICA today reflects this and is a leader in shaping the educational process for tomorrow's creative class.

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