Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is an art and design college in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. It was founded in 1826 as the "Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts", making it one of the first and oldest art colleges in the United States. In 2008, MICA was ranked #2 in the nation among fine arts programs by U.S. News and World Report, and its Graphic Design Master of Fine Arts program tied for #6 among graduate schools for Graphic Design. MICA is also a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a consortium of thirty-six leading art schools in the United States, as well as the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The school is located in the Bolton Hill neighborhood, along Mount Royal Ave. The main campus is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from downtown Baltimore.
MICA hosts pre-college, post-baccalaureate, continuing studies, Masters of Fine Arts, and Bachelors of Fine Arts programs, as well as weekend young peoples' studio art classes.
The "Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts" was established in November 1825, by prominent citizens of the city of Baltimore, such as Fielding Lucas, jr., (founder of Lucas Brothers - office supply company), John H. B. Latrobe, Hezekiah Niles (founder of national newspaper "Niles Weekly Register"), Thomas Kelso and others of whom Mr. Latrobe was a long-surviving influence on the early years of the Institute because of his activities as a noted local writer, lawyer, civic leader and inventor. Other leaders and officers in that first decade were William Stewart-president, George Warner and Fielding Lucas, jr. - vice presidents, John Mowton - recording secretary, Dr. William Howard - corresponding secretary, and Managers James H. Clarke, D.P. McCoy, Solomon Etting (local Jewish merchant/political leader), Benjamin C. Howard, William Hubbard, Thomas Kelso, John H.B. Latrobe, William Meeter, Hezekiah Niles, William Roney, William F. Small, S.D. Walker, John D. Craig, Jacob Deems, William H. Freeman, Moses Hand, William Krebs, Robert Cary Long, jr. (famed architect), Peter Leary, James Mosher, Henry Payson (founder of First Unitarian Church), P. K. Stapleton, James Sykes, P. B. Williams. The General Assembly of Maryland incorporated the Institute in 1826 and in the following years during November beginning that year (Tuesday, November 7, 1826), exhibitions of articles of American manufacture were held in the "Concert Hall" on South Charles Street. A course of lectures on subjects connected with the mechanic arts was inaugurated and a library of works on mechanics and the sciences was begun to be collected.
After about its first decade of being located at "The Athenaeum" (the first one of two structures to bear that name, a noted landmark for educational, social, cultural, civic and political affairs) at the southwest corner of East Lexington and St. Paul Streets. This was west from along Lexington Street from the facing the second Baltimore City Courthouse between North Calvert and St. Paul Streets from 1805/09? (and site in the entire block of the current third city courthouse of 1900 - now re-named 1985 for national civil rights leader Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr.. Because of the financial panic and economic dislocation caused by the failure and "run" on several collapsed Baltimore banks which closed during the subsequent "bank riot", this first "Athenaeum" was destroyed by fire on February 7, 1835 and the emergent Institute lost all of its property and records and subsequently was almost dissolved.
After over a decade when the need for a continuance of the type of educational training and opportunities became more apparent and with the founding of additional private educational institutions during the intervening time span and the beginnings of public education in the city in 1829. In November 1847, Benjamin S. Benson and sixty-nine others (among whom were a large number of the original founders of the former Institute, issued a call for a meeting of those favorable to the formation of a mechanics' institute, which was held and resulted in the organization of the further continuing of the present Institute on January 12, 1848. The first exhibition was held at "Washington Hall" in October 1848, a second and third later at the same place and month in 1849 and 1850, which were remarkably successful. The officers for the reorganized Maryland Institute in 1848 were John A. Rodgers - president, Adam Denmead - first vice president, James Milholland - second vice president, John B. Easter - recording secretary, and Samuel Boyd - treasurer. The Institute was re-incorporated by the state legislature at their December session in 1849 and was endowed by an annual appropriation from the State of Maryland of five hundred dollars. In 1849, the Board of Managers extended the usefulness and broader appeal of its programs to ordinary citizens by opening a School of Design and an additional Night School of Design was extended two years later in the new hall and building, under William Minifie (lately from the old Central High School, later Baltimore City College) as principal.
The City Council of Baltimore, in the summer of 1850, passed an ordinance granting the Institute permission to erect a new building over a reconstructed "Centre Market", of which the cornerstone was laid on March 13, 1851John H. B. Latrobe, and son of famed national architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. ((designer of the "United States Capitol" and the "Old Baltimore Cathedral" - [now the "Basilica of the Assumption" - on Cathedral Street] and the old "Merchants' Exchange" [or "Baltimore Exchange"] which faced South Gay Street, between Second (later Water) and East Lombard Streets, [low - domed 'H'-shaped building with various wings containing Federal offices, customs house, courthouse, general city post office and the local branch of the Bank of the United States, another wing with various lawyers, brokers, shipping companies and maritime businesses, and several city offices, including one of the early City Halls - until 1830, and a Western Wing containing the "Exchange Hotel" of five stories along Commerce Street (razed 1870, replaced by Post Office annex); forming the largest commercial structure in America and one of the most important landmarks in 19th Century Baltimore).
The first home of the Institute was located in a building called "The Athenaeum", and was situated at the intersection of St. Paul and East Lexington Streets in downtown Baltimore (across from the present-day (third) Baltimore City Circuit Courthouses of 1900 (now re-named Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. City Circuit Courthouse). This "first" Athenaeum was destroyed by fire caused by a bank riot due to the financial panic following the collapse of several Baltimore banks on February 7, 1835. A "second Athenaeum was rebuilt a few years later, a block north at the northwest corner of East Saratoga Street at St. Paul Street (facing later "Preston Gardens" after the 1920s), and was later occupied by 1844 by the new Maryland Historical Society and the Baltimore Library Company and the Mercantile Library (early "membership/subscription" paid library societies which pre-dated free public libraries by the 1860's and 70's). It was razed in the 1920s to be replaced by the city's first parking garage for "horseless carriages", and later surplanted in the 1950s by the Commercial Credit Company skyscraper.
Classes resumed 12 years later in 1849 in rented space over the downtown Baltimore Post Office in the "Merchants Exchange". In 1851, the Institute moved from the Merchants' Exchange building along South Gay Street to its own building, built above the old Centre Market on Market Place between East Baltimore Street (to the north) and Water Street (to the south) alongside the western shore of the Jones Falls stream which led to the Patapsco River and the Baltimore Harbor. The building covered an entire block and had two stories built on a series of brick arches above the market, with two clock towers at each end. The second floor with the Institute, housed classrooms, offices, shops and studios and one of the largest assembly halls/auditorium in the state.
During this period the Maryland Institute added a School of Chemistry, thanks in part to philanthropist George Peabody (for which the Peabody Institute and Peabody Library is named) and the B.& O. Railroad President Thomas Swann, and also a School of Music. Night classes for Design are added for men who work during the day but would like training in Architecture and Engineering at night. In 1854, a Day School of Design opened for women—one of the first arts programs for women in the country. In 1860, the Day School for men opened, and in 1870, the Day school became co-ed, offering instruction in the fine arts for both men and women.
For 79 years the Institute was housed in the same location above the Centre Market, and its "Great Hall", large enough to accommodate 6,000, attracted many famous speakers and lecturers. It not only hosted events and shows related to the Arts, but being one of the largest halls in Baltimore, it hosted important events to the city and the region as well. In 1852, it hosted both of the National political party conventions to nominate presidential candidates of both U. S. Army Gen. Winfield Scott (Whigs) of New Jersey and his opponent Franklin Pierce (Democrats) of New Hampshire - (who was later elected 14th President of the United States).
During the American Civil War, the Institute served briefly as an armory for the Union and a hospital for soldiers wounded at the Battle of Antietam. On April 18, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous speech known as the "Baltimore Address" (or "Liberty Speech") during a "Sanitary Fair" held in the Great Hall to benefit Union soldiers and families by the United States Sanitary Commission (an early charitable organization and cause similar to the later American Red Cross and the USO - United Service Organization ).
On February 7-8, 1904, the "Centre Market" and the Maryland Institute building of 1851 burned down along with 1,500 other buildings in downtown Baltimore during the Great Baltimore Fire. Temporarily, classes are moved to spaces above other covered municipal markets in the city, while construction begins in two locations. Michael Jenkins donated the future site of the "Main Building" on Mount Royal Avenue near the new Bolton Hill neighborhood in the northwest, which opened in 1908. It was to house the School of Art and Design, and the City of Baltimore offered the old site and funding to rebuild the "Centre Market" building location for the Drafting school and "mechanical arts".
Upon opening, the "Main Building" had spaces for pottery, metal working, wood carving, free-hand drafting, and textile design, as well as a library, galleries and exhibition rooms. The galleries and exhibition rooms were important, because at the time of construction, Baltimore still did not have a public art museum (institutions such as the Walters Art Gallery were not founded and opened for regular public viewing until 1909 and acquired by the city in 1934, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, in 1914).
In 1923, the Institute's galleries hosted the first known public showing of Henri Matisse's work in the United States, brought over from Europe by sisters Claribel and Etta Cone. In 1928, the new Centre Market building, now known as "The Market Place" building, offers a course in Aeronautics theory and drafting following the great excitement and increase in interest in the industry following Lindbergh's flight over the Atlantic Ocean to Paris.
The Institute legally changed its name to the "Maryland Institute, College of Art" in 1959, and the "Market Place Building" was razed to make room for the extension south of the Jones Falls Expressway (Interstate 83). The consolidation of MICA to the Mount Royal campus is furthered by the purchase of the Mount Royal Station, a former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) train station, in 1964. In 1968, MICA was forced to close for the first time in its history since its first fire in 1835 due to the Baltimore riot of 1968 that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1972–1975, MICA was graced with the presence of a number of famous artists and critics of the period, including composer John Cage, poet Allen Ginsberg, photographer Walker Evans, master printer Kenneth E. Tyler, painter Elaine de Kooning, and art critic Clement Greenberg.
In the following years, MICA expanded rapidly along Mount Royal Avenue, adding the "Fox Building" in 1978, the "College Center" (now the "Art Tech Center") in 1986, a renovation of the "Main Building" in 1990, "The Commons" (added 1992), "Bunting Center" (1998), the "Meyerhoff House" (2002), the "Brown Center" (2003), the "Studio Center" (2007), and "The Gateway" (2008). During that time, the College focused on increased interaction with the international art world—offering study abroad programs and residences in numerous countries around the world.
MICA's campus is a milieu of diverse buildings from different periods of Baltimore's development.
Construction began on a new Maryland Institute campus in Bolton Hill when its Centre Market building on East Baltimore Street at the Jones Falls was destroyed in the Great Baltimore Fire of February 7-8, 1904, and construction was completed four years later in 1908. The State of Maryland, the Carnegie Foundation, and a number of local benefactors contributed funds to build the "Main Building". Michael Jenkins donated the land on which the "Main Building" was built, stipulating that the new building not clash with the nearby Gothic Revival Corpus Christi Church. The "Main Building" was the first building designed by New York-based architects Pell & Corbett, who were awarded the contract when they won a $500 design contest sponsored by the New York Association of Independent Architects. Otto Fuchs designed the interior studio plans. The architecture was designed to evoke a feeling of the Grand Canal of Venice, c. 1400. The exterior marble is carved from "Beaver Dam" marble, excavated from the famed Baltimore County quarry near Cockeysville, Maryland. It is the same marble used to build the Washington Monument in Baltimore designed by Robert Mills, and part of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C..
Important architectural features include the impressive main entrance, with large marble staircase, stained-glass skylight and the names of Renaissance masters surrounding the entrance to the second floor. The exterior of the northeast façade features four stone memorial medallions: one for the city, one for the state, and two others honoring Institute benefactors Andrew Carnegie and Michael Jenkins. Throughout the "Main Building" there are also plaster replicas of Greek and Roman statues that students are often required to make studies of their Foundation year.
In 1908, the New York Association of Independent Architects awarded the building a gold key, the highest award in architecture at the time.
From 1990 through 1992, the building underwent a major, $5.1 million renovation under the direction of architects Grieves, Worrell, Wright & O’Hatnick, Inc. The renovation upgraded the building’s facilities and created additional academic and office space while retaining much of the original design and décor. The Main Building houses painting and drawing studios, undergraduate photography department, foundation department, two departmental galleries, undergraduate admissions and the President's Office.
Built in 1896, the Mount Royal Station (now known as The Station Building) was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's showcase passenger station until it ceased its operations at the Station in 1961. MICA purchased the building in 1964 and renovated the building in 1966 under the direction of architect Richard Donkervoet, who took pains to retain as much of the building’s exterior appearance as possible, and also preserved much of the interior character, including vaulted ceilings, columns, and mosaic floor. Architectural Forum recognized the Mount Royal Station renovation for "sensitivity by later architects to the initial conception by the original," and Margaret Mead, in a lecture given at the Station, commented that the renovation "is perhaps the most magnificent example in the Western World of something being made into something else".
On December 8, 1976, the Station was added to the register of National Historic Landmarks, granting it full protection as an historic site. The Mount Royal Station’s train shed, one of the country’s last remaining such structures, was renovated in 1985 due to advanced deterioration of the shed’s materials. In 1992, the AIA's Baltimore chapter honored the Maryland Institute and architects Cochran, Stevenson & Donkervoet with a 25 Year Award for Excellence in Design of Enduring Significance for their adaptive reuse of the Mount Royal Station.
Between 2005–2007, MICA accomplished a two-phased, $6.3 million renovation of the building by the architectural firm Grieves, Worrall, Wright & O’Hatnick, Inc. The first phase, renovation of the interior, was completed in Fall 2005: interior finishes, such as the mosaic tile flooring, marble columns, tin ceilings, wood wainscot, and trim were cleaned and restored. Classroom space was also increased, as well as the quality and quantity of studio space. The second phase, restoration of the building's exterior and train shed, was completed in Spring 2007: stonework and wood were cleaned, repaired, and repainted, the slate canopy restored, and the drainage system fixed; clerestory and structural timbers in the train shed were replaced and the steel roof framing was reinforced. In keeping with the pedestrian landscaping and streetscape that MICA has created along Mount Royal Avenue, a new plaza with benches, bike racks, shrubs, and ornamental grasses and ground cover was added.
The Mount Royal Station currently houses the undergraduate departments of fiber and interdisciplinary sculpture, 3-D classrooms, and the Rinehart School of Sculpture, as well as senior studios. The railroad tracks underneath the train shed remain active as CSX Transportation's freight mainline to New York City.
The Dolphin Building at 100 Dolphin Street houses MICA's Printmaking department and Book Arts and Printmaking concentrations, as well as the independent Dolphin Press. It has 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) of working space divided into three floors. The building houses lithography and intaglio / etching studios on the first floor, screenprinting, and letterpress studios with photo printmaking facilities on the second floor, and a papermaking studio, lecture/computer lab and Senior studios on the third floor.
The acquisition and renovation of Bunting Center increased MICA’s academic space by 20% when it opened in 1998. The new building was named for trustee George Bunting, who was instrumental in the development of the Fox Building among other projects.
Bunting Center houses Liberal Arts departments (art history and language, literature, and culture), academic advising and the registrar. Bunting Center also houses one of the four places to eat on campus, Java Corner. The first and second floors house the Decker Library, which houses a large collection of artists' books in a climate-controlled room called "The Cage". Students are allowed to look at any book in the collection. The remainder of the library is divided into the Quarto, which hold oversized books, and the Stacks, which hold normal-sized books. Adjacent to the Decker Library is the Media Resources Collection, which has more than 120,000 slides for teachers to use in presentations, as well as videos and audio tapes.
Additionally, Bunting Center contains the Pinkard Gallery and Student Space Gallery.
The Bunting Center received the Grand Design Award and Honor Award from AIABaltimore in 1998. In 2007, architect Steve Ziger headed the building’s $5.5 million renovation, seeking to create “a real sense of neighborhood” for the college.
MICA purchased a historic Firehouse along North Avenue in 2001 and renovated the building in 2003 to house the College’s operations and facilities management department. The building has 7,224 square feet (671.1 m2) of space. As part of the redevelopment agreement, MICA maintained the station’s front façade in accordance with Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation standards. Renovation architect for the project was Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc. Kajima Construction Services was the contractor. The Firehouse won an award from the Baltimore Heritage Foundation for preservation in 2004.
Built in 1915 as the Cannon Shoe Factory, the Fox Building was purchased in 1976. After two years of planning by architects Ayers/Saint/Gross, work began in 1979 and the newly renovated building opened in 1980. This renovation retained most of the warehouse character of the building, including exposed ductwork and framing and the original exterior—providing more than 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of usable space. The renovations cost $2.5 million, and the building was named for architect Charles J. Fox, a 1965 graduate of MICA whose family contributed over $1.5 million of the renovation cost. After the conversion, the Mount Royal Improvement Association granted MICA an Award of Merit for its contribution to the community.
In 2005, a second renovation of the Fox Building added Decker Gallery and Café Doris. The building also houses Meyerhoff Gallery, Center for Art Education, Division of Continuing Studies, as well as Ceramics, Illustration, Environmental Design, GFA, Drawing and Painting departments, the woodshop, and the nature library.
MICA purchased the former Jos. A. Bank sewing plant on North Avenue in August 2000. The all brick building dates back to the early 20th century and was home to Morgan Millwork for most of the century until Jos. A. Bank Clothiers bought it for a sewing plant. The 120,000-square-foot (11,000 m2) building houses the post-baccalaureate certificate program, Hoffberger School of Painting, The Mount Royal School of Art, the Graduate Photographic and Electronic Media program, and Senior student studios. Although the official name is The Studio Center, many students know it as The Bank Building.
The first newly constructed academic building for the College in nearly a hundred years, Brown Center was dedicated on October 17, 2003 and became fully operational in January 2004. Bolstered by a $6 million gift from Eddie and Sylvia Brown, the largest gift ever received by the Institute, the Brown Center houses MICA’s digital art and design programs, as well as the 525-seat Falvey Hall, which, in addition to hosting school-related functions, has also played host to events like the Maryland Film Festival and National Portfolio Day. The building was designed by architect Charles Brickbauer and Ziger/Snead LLP.
In addition to Falvey Hall, the Brown Center houses the Video, Interactive Design, Animation, and BFA and MFA Graphic Design departments. Most of the computer labs in the Brown Center are Macintosh computers, though there are two labs with PC computers for 3D animation. It also has an art gallery, a secondary hall for lectures ("Brown 320"), and a "Black-Box" area for Interactive Media installations.
The 61,410-square-foot (5,705 m2), five-story contemporary structure has garnered wide acclaim as an architectural landmark. Awards have included the AIABaltimore 2004 Grand Design Award, AIA Maryland 2004 Honor Award of Excellence, regional award of merit in 2004 in the International Illumination Design Award competition, and several awards for excellence in construction. In addition, MICA President Fred Lazarus traveled to Italy in June 2006 to receive the Dedalo Minosse International Prize for Brown Center. Brown Center was the only American project among the finalists.
Additional buildings making up MICA's campus include the Maryland Institute College of Art shop (known simply as "The MICA Store") at 1200 Mount Royal Avenue, where most of the students get supplies for their projects and books for their classes, and where visitors can purchase official MICA merchandise.
The Art Tech Center at 1206-1208 Mount Royal Avenue has facilities for large-format printing (up to 44" x ∞"), laser-cutting and 3D printing. Additionally, it houses the Tech Desk, for students to rent out technology like digital cameras, projectors and computers.
Other facilities include the Jewelry Center at Meadow Mill, Kramer House, Main Building Annex (administrative offices and alumni relations), and The Center for Design Practice and Dolphin Press & Print @ MICA archives at 1210 Mount Royal Ave.
MICA's first official student housing facility, The Commons is a three-building, four-story student apartment complex. Among the first student residences to be constructed on the apartment-living model, it houses approximately 350 students. When MICA proposed purchasing a lot on McMechen Street that had been vacant for more than 30 years to build the Commons, the Bolton Hill neighborhood not only approved the purchase, but also gave $50,000 in donations. Built in 1991, inside the Commons is MICA's largest green space and above the Gatehouse is an area for Student Organization meetings.
In 2000, American School and University included The Commons in its Architectural Portfolio awards, citing Mahan Rykiel Associates for their Landscape Architecture work on the project. The Maryland/Potomac Chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects also gave the project an award.
Meyerhoff House opened in August 2002 as a residence for Sophomore, Junior and Senior students. The building includes the College’s main dining facility, student life center, and recreational amenities. Originally built as the Hospital for the Women of Maryland, the building had been used as nursing home for some time until it closed in 1994. The building was vacant for 7 years until MICA purchased it in January 2001.
Construction began on The Gateway in October 2006 and completed in August 2008. It was designed by RTKL Associates Inc., and is located at the intersection of Mount Royal and North avenues, alongside the Jones Falls Expressway (I-83).
The Meyerhoff and The Gateway buildings increased MICA student housing 90% between 2002 and 2009, allowing more students to stay on campus. The Gateway includes apartments to accommodate 217 student residents, a translucent studio tower, a multi-use performance space, the College’s largest student exhibition gallery, and a new home for the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development. In August 2008, the first students moved into the Gateway.
Students and alumni
Approximately 1,850 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students hail from 48 states and 53 foreign countries. The student body is 66% female, 34% male, 22% minorities and international students, and 97% traditional college-age. Sixty-five percent of MICA students receive some form of financial aid. Among the most selective art colleges in the United States, MICA has consistently enrolled more Presidential Scholars in the Visual Arts than any other college or university in the nation, and in the last several years has enrolled approximately 2/3 of those who received Scholastic Arts' Gold Portfolio award. In 11 of the last 14 years, a MICA student has won the National Student Art Achievement Award, which is given by the National Art Education Association for outstanding studio achievement in candidates for teaching.
MICA's approximately 10,000 alumni living in 58 countries have won international awards, attended graduate programs, exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world, and are represented in public and private collections across the globe. 86% of B.F.A. graduates who take jobs immediately after graduation are working in art related fields; 23% of MICA's B.F.A. graduates pursue graduate study immediately after graduation.
In the past eight years, 14 MICA graduates have received Fulbright awards for study abroad and five students have earned the Jacob Javits Fellowship for graduate study. Since 2003, two alumni have received the national Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarship and three Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholars have also chosen to study at MICA. Additionally, four alumni have been awarded Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants.
Curriculum and degrees
Undergraduate students may also add a studio concentration and a liberal arts/humanities minor, if they so elect:
Dual Degree & 5th Year Capstone Graduate Programs