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Massachusetts College of Art and Design

MassArt, August 2005
Established 1873
Type Public
President Kay Sloan
Students 1,653 [1]
Undergraduates 1,504 [2]
Postgraduates 149 [3]
Location Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Campus Urban
Nickname MassArt
Massart logo.png

The 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.


MassArt offers a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, a Master of Science in Art Education, a Master of Fine Arts, 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.


  • 1869: Fourteen prominent citizens petition the Massachusetts Legislature to provide drawing instruction "to all men, women, and children"
  • 1870: Legislation is enacted to make drawing a required subject in Massachusetts public schools
  • 1873: The Legislation appropriates $7,500 to establish Massachusetts Normal Art School
  • 1876: Student work exhibited at the U.S. Centennial Exposition is acclaimed by delegations from France, Austria, and Canada
  • 1880: MassArt relocates to the historic Deacon House and begins offering post-graduate education
  • 1886: The new Massachusetts Normal Art School building is constructed at the corner of Newbury and Exeter Streets
  • 1901: The first person of color graduates from MassArt
  • 1905: Alumnus and faculty member Albert Munsell develops what has become the world's leading color system
  • 1912: Courses are added in psychology, literature, and education theory
  • 1924: MassArt becomes the first art school in the country to grant a degree, the Bachelor of Science in art education
  • 1929: MassArt is renamed Massachusetts School of Art
  • 1930: Massachusetts School of Art moves to its new building at the corner of Brookline and Longwood Avenues
  • 1940: Faculty Member Cyrus Dallin's sculpture, Paul Revere, is installed in Boston's North End
  • 1950: MassArt grants its first Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in design and fine arts
  • 1957: The first African American is appointed to the faculty: alumnus Calvin Burnett ('42)
  • 1959: MassArt is renamed Massachusetts College of Art
  • 1969: Courses in environmental design are added to the curriculum
  • 1972: The Master of Science degree is awarded in art education
  • 1975: The Master of Fine Arts degree is awarded in two- and three-dimensional fine arts
  • 1981: The Master of Fine Arts degree is awarded in design
  • 1983: MassArt begins to occupy and renovate the eight-building campus at the corner of Huntington and Longwood Avenues
  • 1989: The college opens its first dormitory, christened Walter Smith Hall after MassArt's founding principal
  • 1992: The college completes a $14,700,000 project refurbishing the Huntington Avenue campus
  • 1997: Dr. Katherine H. Sloan, the first woman and tenth president of MassArt, is inaugurated
  • 2002: The Artists' Residence opens, guaranteeing housing for all first-year students
  • 2003: The legislature approves the New Partnership with the Commonwealth, a groundbreaking model for public institutions of higher education
  • 2007: The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approves the college's proposal to offer a Master of Architecture
  • 2007: Governor Deval Patrick signs legislation changing the college's official name to Massachusetts College of Art and Design


MassArt is located in Boston, Massachusetts near the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard Medical School 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 built an additional residence hall, which is tentatively scheduled to open with the start of the 2012-20013 academic year. The new hall's location will be next to The Artists' Residence, and is being design 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, adorn 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 15th against RISD, with amazing fan support.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty (past and present)


See also

External links


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