In the early 1980s, when MICA first started using computers in classrooms, far off was today’s technological context and the complementary resurgence of narrative, critique and the hand-made. We have come a long way. We have a powerful reach and personalized news, on-demand artisan brands, exquisitely detailed images and every opportunity for commentary. With great speed, we digitally stitch, hand-knit, speak, tell stories, listen, observe, research, think and respond.

With this is mind, MICA is proud to announce the inauguration of two, one-year immersive Master of Arts (M.A.) programs — one in graphic design and one in illustration. Both build on decades of pioneering work at the College, and both are tooled to rapidly equip today’s multidimensional students. In fall 2018, a select group of new students will begin their preparation for further unpredicted and unprecedented shifts in our cultural and technological landscape. These students will define and pursue individualized and forward-looking goals in supportive, expansive environments.

The faculty for these new programs exemplify the dedication, approachability and expertise of the MICA community. They helpfully distill ideas and technical approaches to their essence, and they are inspiring. Their depth of experience is evident in their extensive publication records, and their work has taken them all over the world, from Brazil to England, from China to India.

M.A. in Illustration Graduate Director Rebecca Bradley and M.A. in Graphic Design Director Sandra Maxa will lead the focused study of visual fundamentals and arrange individual meetings, critiques, lectures, presentations, discussions and workshops. Every student will have access to eminent visitors and advanced printing and fabrication studios.

Bradley describes the M.A. in Illustration, “The curriculum is thoughtfully structured so that students develop the vocabulary and conceptual, observational, and handcrafting abilities to launch professional initiatives or pursue more specialized study.”

Students might develop sequential illustrations, 3-D typefaces or concepts for product lines. They might stretch disciplinary boundaries by exploring puppetry or motors, poetry or social design. They will write critically and creatively, think and engage across disciplines, and take advantage of course offerings in history, ceramics, printmaking, photography, animation, education, critical studies and literature. Some projects will rely on the careful study of advertising, comics and user experience to convey complex ideas to diverse audiences; some will address areas such as public health and education. In essence, these one-year experiences will be the equivalent of many years in the field.

Maxa adds, “Projects in the M.A. in Graphic Design build typography and visual communication skills yet encourage experimentation with media and content. Additionally, assignments help students hone their personal process while creating a portfolio of compelling work.”

Alumni from MICA credit their experiences in school for nurturing the conviction, peer networks and focus they rely on in their work with industry leaders including Google, Dropbox, Paperless Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Under Armour, Nike and IDEO. The new M.A. students will be no different.