Massachusetts College of Art and Design explained

Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Endowment:$9.6 million[1]
President:Dawn Barrett
Affiliations:Colleges of the Fenway

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (also known as MassArt) is a publicly-funded college of visual and applied art, founded in 1873. It is one of the oldest art schools, the only publicly-funded free-standing art school in the United States, and was the first art college in the United States to grant an artistic degree. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. MassArt is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design and the Colleges of the Fenway, a collegiate consortium in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area.


In the 1860s, civic and business leaders whose families had made fortunes in the China Trade, textile manufacture, railroads and retailing, sought to influence the long-term development of Massachusetts. To stimulate learning in technology and fine art, they persuaded the state legislature to found several institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1860) and the Museum of Fine Arts (1870). The third of these, founded in 1873 was the Massachusetts Normal Art School.


Massachusetts College of Art and Design is ranked among the top art colleges in the country. Businessweek recognized MassArt as one of the top global design schools and US News & World Report ranks MassArt’s MFA Program #1 in Massachusetts. Admission to The Graduate Programs is highly selective, ranking among the top three graduate programs in art and design in the country, as reported by the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

Massachusetts College of Art and Design offers a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, a Master of Science in Art Education, a Master of Fine Arts, a Master of Architecture (Track I & Track II - First and Post-professional), and in 2007 received Candidacy Status for a Master of Architecture. It also offers a number of pre-college (both credit and non-credit) programs for high school students. Students at MassArt have the option of majoring in Fine Arts (2D), Fine Arts (3D), Communication Design, Environmental Design, Media and Performing Arts, and Art Education. Within those majors they can choose to focus on disciplines such as Industrial Design, Art History, Fashion Design, Architectural Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Animation, Painting, Printmaking, Ceramics, Glass, Sculpture, Fibers, Metals, Photography, Film/Video, and in the Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM). MassArt's curriculum includes a foundation year, which provides compulsory exposure to the basics of 2D and 3D art and design, and requires an elective studio and multiple Critical Studies courses.



MassArt is located in Boston, Massachusetts near the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard Medical School, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Northeastern University. The college is currently headquartered at 621 Huntington Avenue in Boston, and occupies a square block of buildings it has acquired over the last two decades; its principal building was the former campus of Boston State College, acquired after BSC was merged with the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Previously, it held a number of buildings scattered throughout Boston's Fenway-Kenmore and Longwood neighborhoods, with its main campus located on the corner of Brookline and Longwood Avenues. That building was acquired by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the mid-1990s, which gutted and rebuilt the building's interior, but kept the distinctive facade intact. As of spring 2009, the Campus Center (located in the Kennedy building) is seeing major renovations, including a new, two-story glass facade on Longwood Ave.

Residence Halls

The campus includes two residence halls. Smith Hall houses only freshman and is located immediately across the street from MassArt's Kennedy building. The Artists' Residence (aka "The Rez") houses freshman, upperclassmen, and is located across the street from the Tower Building. It also has two floors reserved for School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston students. The Artists' Residence is the first publicly funded residence hall in the United States designed specifically to house art students, which includes studio spaces and a spray room on the top floor. The college is currently in the planning stages to build an additional residence hall, which is tentatively scheduled to open with the start of the 2012-2013 academic year. The new hall's location will be next to The Artists' Residence, and is being designed by the firm ADD Inc, of Boston.


Besides residence halls, MassArt is composed of six interlocking buildings—Kennedy, South, North, East, Collins, and Tower. There is also an enclosed courtyard located in the center of South, North, East, and Collins. The 13 story Tower Building dominates the campus, adorned with a dark glass facade, and prominent entry/lobby spaces along Huntington Ave.


There are nine galleries on campus available for student shows or more established exhibitions. These galleries include the Arnheim Gallery, Brant Gallery, Bakalar and Paine Galleries, Doran Gallery, President's Gallery, Student Life Gallery, Tower Gallery, and Godine Family Gallery.

MassArt’s galleries are always free and open to the public, showing cutting-edge exhibitions in a variety of media. Over the years, the Exhibitions and Visiting Artists Program has matured into one of the area’s most influential presenters, consistently ranked among the year’s top ten by The Boston Globe.


Available to MassArt's student body are common facilities located at many colleges including a full-scale cafeteria, a small café, school store, library, student center, gymnasium, counseling center, auditorium, computer labs, and fitness center. Some of the not-so-usual facilities include a letterpress lab, squash courts, art galleries, studio spaces, and the Pozen Center—an area built specifically to house larger scale events. MassArt students (with ID) also have free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—of which the MFA and ISGM are within walking distance from campus.


A coed basketball team named the Masstadons was formed at the beginning of the 2008-2009 academic year, and is in the process of scheduling games with several other art schools between Boston and New York City. The Masstadons first game took place on November 15 against RISD.

As part of the The Professional Arts Consortium (, students can play intercollegiate athletics on the Emerson College teams.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty (past and present)

See also

External links

Notes and References

  1. As of June 30, 2011. Web site: U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2011 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2010 to FY 2011. National Association of College and University Business Officers. January 17, 2012. 22. PDF. February 14, 2012.