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MICA Launches the Office of Community Engagement

The Office Has Been Featured in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Catholic Review, Others

Posted 10.04.10 by MICA Communications

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BALTIMORE--MICA announces its new Office of Community Engagement (OCE), which will assess, strengthen and coordinate the College's academically based community partnerships. MICA has a strong history of engaging academic and community partners-locally and globally-to address issues, build community and facilitate change. The new office will provide oversight to existing initiatives on campus; develop and coordinate new programs; facilitate collaboration with external partners; and provide visibility and support for community engagement and service-learning initiatives that advance the mission of the College.

"The Office of Community Engagement is founded on the belief that art and design can strengthen people's experience of community and make a significant contribution to the quality of their lives," said Ray Allen, MICA's vice president for academic affairs and provost. "The new office will build upon the deeply felt commitment to community engagement that pervades the MICA campus by coordinating and integrating these many initiatives and providing a clear sense of mission and identity."

  • READ: Catholic Review's story covering MICA PLACE, with MICA director of community engagement in main photo.
  • READ: Diverse: Issues in Higher Education includes MICA program manager for MICA PLACE in On the Move roundup.
  • Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal and Daily Record all feature Karen Stults and Kristy Taylor in On the Move columns.


Examples of MICA's current initiatives include:
MICA PLACE (Programs Linking Art, Culture and Education), the recently opened center for community arts and social design in the former St. Wenceslaus School in East Baltimore;
Community Art Collaborative (formerly called Community Art Corps), the AmeriCorps program sponsored by MICA, which gives artists the opportunity to develop yearlong, arts-based programming within local nonprofit organizations;
• and the Gallup Student Poll partnership that will assess the impact of community arts programming on indicators of student success, including hope, engagement and well-being.

OCE comprises two new positions at the College-the director of community engagement, who will lead the office, and the program manager for MICA PLACE-along with the current coordinator and assistant of MICA's Community Art Collaborative (CAC).

Karen Stults, director of community engagement, has been providing strategic and programmatic leadership within nonprofit, arts and social change organizations for more than 20 years, including her recent role at MICA as director of corporate, foundation and government relations. Her experiences as an advocate, organizer, executive director and practicing artist inform her creative and issue-based approach to program administration. She holds a M.Ed. in Policy Development and Program Evaluation from Vanderbilt University, and certificates in ceramics and sculpture and museum exhibition planning and design from the Corcoran College of Art + Design and Georgetown University, respectively. Stults is a member of the Board of Directors and cast of Fluid Movement, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Conservatory Association and the development committee of Arts Every Day. She is an alumna of the Windcall Residency Program for social change activists and a recipient of the Tomorrow's Leaders Today award.

Kristy Taylor has joined the community engagement team as program manager for MICA PLACE. Most recently, Taylor served as community liaison for the City of Baltimore Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods. In that capacity, she worked with numerous communities, organizations and government agencies throughout the City, promoting partnerships and collaborations. Her sales and marketing background allows her to assist others while targeting problems with creative solutions. Taylor has served Baltimore communities as a Maryland Master Gardener organizing plant clinics and as a library board member, increasing local branch usage as a community center by promoting youth literacy activities and education. She holds a B.A. in liberal arts with a concentration in political science from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Dr. Francesca (Frankie) Gamber is the coordinator of CAC. She holds a Ph.D. in History from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a B.A. in Afro-American studies from Harvard University. Previously, Gamber served as assistant director of school and youth programs at Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC) in Baltimore. At GHCC, Gamber coordinated a college access mentoring program at three public high schools with Johns Hopkins University volunteers. She also participated in Baltimore City Schools' Community Support for Schools program, focusing on mobilizing parents and neighbors to support students at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. She has been published widely in playwriting, journalism and historical writing.

Julie Lin '99 (painting) is the assistant of CAC and a practicing artist. Her current project, Kitchen Stories, began while she was a resident community artist for Art on Purpose, and it continued this year while she was a Kresge Arts in Baltimore grant awardee. The project seeks to engage Baltimore immigrants and refugees in a series of artmaking workshops, exhibitions and special events by sharing stories about cooking, eating and memories. She has worked as an administrator and educator for many local nonprofit organizations.

OCE was launched with a generous grant from a MICA alumna. That grant, and another from the Genevieve McMillan-Reba Stewart Foundation, is providing seed funding for the office.

Startup funding for the MICA PLACE program manager position has been provided by the Goldseker Foundation. Upgrades and renovations to MICA PLACE are being made with support from The Rouse Company Foundation and a MICA trustee.

Government support for the Community Art Collaborative comes from the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Maryland Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism. CAC receives local support from PNC and The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation through its Cultural Excellence Grants program.

A portion of a two-year grant from the Kresge Foundation supports a partnership, to be managed within the OCE, between MICA and the Gallup Student Poll.

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 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, 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.