Jun 15, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2017-2018 
Academic Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About MassArt


Mission Statement

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is a public, independent college of art and design. The college’s professional baccalaureate and graduate programs prepare students to participate in the creative economy as fine artists, designers, and art educators, and to engage in the well being of their society. As a national leader in visual art and design education, the college influences contemporary culture through the accomplishments of its alumni and the creative activities of its faculty and staff.

We base our priorities on a set of shared values:

  • We affirm the inherent value of the arts as a life enhancing force.
  • We recognize the power of art and design in many spheres of public life.
  • We take pride in our unique heritage as the only publicly supported freestanding college of visual arts in the United States.
  • We are committed to being an educational and cultural resource for the citizens of Massachusetts.
  • We believe that academic excellence is fundamental to professional education in the visual arts.
  • We believe that diversity-in background, status, culture, and viewpoint-is essential to a vital and creative community.
  • We respect the roles and views of all members of our college community and operate our institution in a spirit of collegiality.
  • We aspire to an ideal of service to the wider community and of advocacy for the value of the arts.

As artists, designers, and educators, we are committed to the following priorities:

  • We provide rigorous professional programs in the visual arts, grounded in the broader context of liberal learning and designed to encourage individual creativity.
  • We challenge students to develop their talents to their highest potential, questioning the traditional boundaries of disciplines.
  • We work to build diversity and inclusiveness in our faculty, staff, and student body.
  • We foster community-building both inside and outside the college.
  • We educate students to examine critically the form and content of art, both their own and others’, to understand it in historical, social, and global contexts.
  • We choose faculty who are practicing professionals in their disciplines and whose work reflects the level of excellence we promote for our students.
  • We seek students with excellent potential, regardless of limitations in their opportunities for preparation.
  • We nurture the development of students as artists and as individuals, through services which meet their academic, personal, and social needs.
  • We embrace new technologies as opportunities to advance the creative potentials of our disciplines, and we promote innovative and responsible uses of technology in the realization of artistic concepts.
  • We recognize that artists and individuals educate themselves over a lifetime and are dedicated to serving that need.

History of Massachusetts College of Art and Design

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. MassArt was created to satisfy two imperatives - a business demand for industrial drawing skills, and the belief of educators that training in drawing could promulgate both manual and intellectual skills, and yield even spiritual benefits. As crafted by its two founders, English art educator Walter Smith and Boston Brahmin arts impresario Charles Callahan Perkins, the new institution would produce drawing teachers required in schools throughout the Commonwealth, while at the same time educating professional artists, designers, architects, and scientists. The goal would be to educate men and women in the creative process, not merely train them to draw. It would “impart knowledge,” Smith wrote, of “how to draw, not how to make drawings.” He explained, “The process of drawing makes ignorance visible; it is a criticism made by ourselves on our perceptions, and gives physical evidence that we either think rightly or wrongly, or even do not think at all.” Its roots in the economic and cultural dimensions of the Commonwealth ensured that the college would evolve with the times.

Size and Scope

Massachusetts College of Art and Design provides state-of-the art facilities and studios housed in nine buildings along Huntington Avenue in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, close by the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The college offers twenty-two areas of concentration in fine arts, design and art education, and awards one undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Fine Arts, and graduate degrees including the Master of Fine Arts, the Master of Art in Teaching, Master of Design Innovation, and the Master of Architecture. The college also offers certificate programs in Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Furniture Design, and Industrial Design. The Fall 2016 undergraduate enrollment was 1648, graduate enrollment was 132 and continuing education enrollment was 260.  MassArt is a Massachusetts state university and receives support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There are differentiated tuition charges for in-state and out-of-state students. Massachusetts College of Art and Design holds accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.