December 6, 2016

Remembering Micah Danemayer, '11 BFA SIM

Micah Danemayer

Dear MassArt Community:

Many of you have heard about the Oakland, CA Ghost Ship warehouse fire on December 2nd. I know it is devastating to learn Micah Danemayer, a 2011 MassArt graduate, was one of the people who lost his life in that fire, and I know many of you knew Micah personally and are grieving the loss of a friend or former student. Our thoughts and prayers are with Micah's parents, extended family, and community of friends at this time.

At MassArt, Micah studied in the Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) program, incorporating a variety of disciplines, including sound, installation, performance, conceptual art, and live event production. According to SIM Chair Nita Sturiale, “Micah was a free spirit in the deepest sense. He was open to new collaborations. He was goofy and edgy. He wanted to know about the history of art and performance and incorporated what he learned in his work. After graduation, Micah jumped right into making an artistic life for himself on the west coast. He made connections and friends, joined arts communities there, and eventually built his own. He became a well-respected producer and event organizer and started a production company/label called Obscura Machina, and kept in touch with many of his MassArt colleagues and invited them to perform and collaborate with him." He was working as a deejay at the Oakland event that evening.

According to his father, Chris Danemayer, "Micah clearly thrived at MassArt--it was the place he needed to be, and it's where he found direction for his unique vision and creative output. Oakland was a great fit for him too; he moved there about a year and a half after he graduated from MassArt, and the setting was a real catalyst for him to express himself and explore. He just exploded there, doing exactly what he wanted to do."

To honor their son's memory, the Danemayer family has generously established a scholarship fund to benefit a MassArt student demonstrating financial need.

In addition, there will be a MassArt memorial service for Micah in the near future, and I look forward to sharing those details when they are available.



David P. Nelson

November 10, 2016

We Stand Together 

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Many of you just voted in the election for U.S. President, some of you for the first time. As you have seen, some members of the electorate are quite happy with the result and some are quite unhappy.

My first memory of an election is when Richard Nixon was re-elected in 1972. Since then, I have seen eleven other Presidential elections. Each bears this same resemblance: grueling primaries, hard-fought general elections, election day, and the aftermath - celebrating or lamenting, as may be the case - taking a deep breath, and carrying on.

This is the typical cycle of our electoral process. Our country is at its best when, after the struggles of an election, Americans accept the results, reaffirm our commitment as citizens, find strength in unity, and carry on with our lives.

This election feels different to me. From the moment I arrived on campus the day after the election, I saw not only the usual disappointment of those whose candidate did not win, but I saw something else. I saw fear, distress, and trepidation about our nation's future. This was so striking that I carved out time during the afternoon to walk the campus and check in on students, staff, and faculty.

I want to acknowledge that some of you are frightened right now. There may have been elements of this election process that remind you that our nation has not arrived at the ideal of being a land of liberty and justice for all. You have real life experiences that tell you so.

I want you to know that MassArt remains committed to equity, justice, and to being a welcoming community to all. To the extent that we get that right, we will continue to do so. To the extent that we fall short of that ideal, we will continue to work together to be better.

Let me say unequivocally, to those who at this moment in our nation's history feel vulnerable, fearful, or unsafe: we stand with you. And we will continue to stand together, come what may.

David P. Nelson

November 8, 2016

Reflections on Election Eve 2016

Dear MassArt Community: As I write on Election Day 2016, we don't yet know who our President-Elect will be, nor do we know the outcome of races for the US Congress or other matters on the ballot.

As a nation, we are at our best when, despite our differences, we band together to do what is best for our country and communities. We are at our best when we vigorously argue for our ideals, and do so with generosity toward those with whom we disagree. We are at our best when we care more for justice, equity, and the common good than we do for political party or winning an argument.

We haven't always been at our best as a nation in recent months. We can be better. As a college community, we can do our part. Whether you are happy with the results of the election or not, I hope we can remain true to our best selves in the days to come.  

Let us continue to work for the "well-being of society," as the MassArt mission says. Let us continue to articulate what we value most, with respect for those with whom we speak and with the ideal of unity in mind. Let us keep working diligently for liberty and justice for all.  

When you speak to those with whom you disagree, show them kindness. When they speak, listen to them. Listen in order to understand, just as you would like to be understood. Disagree where you must, but disagree with the best interest of others in mind.  

Also, keep making your work. With your work, remind us to reflect, to think, and to be as we should be in the world. Evoke, provoke, disturb, and distress. Disorient, reorient, center, and re-center. Design and build a better world. Be good citizens as you carry on your work. The world needs artist, designers, and educators, and your work, more than ever.  

With warm regards,  


David P. Nelson

December 17, 2015

Dr. David P. Nelson Named Massachusetts College of Art and Design's New President

David NelsonOn December 15, 2015 the MassArt Board of Trustees voted to recommend the appointment of Dr. David Nelson, currently Provost and Chief Academic Officer of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, as the next president of Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Read the press release.





September 8, 2015

Ken Strickland: Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Appointed Interim President

Ken Strickland

September 8, 2015 – M. David Lee, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), announced that Ken Strickland will become Interim President effective today. Strickland will continue his role as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, a position he has held since April 2013. The appointment comes at the same time that the college begins the process of selecting the 12th president for MassArt.

Strickland brings a wealth of experience in professional arts and design education, a keen understanding of the challenges facing higher education administration and a commitment to fostering faculty excellence. His pragmatic optimism, boundless energy and dynamic vision advances MassArt’s mission to affirm the value of the arts as a life enhancing force in society.

Strickland served as the Interim President of the Memphis College of Art (MCA) from 2010-2011, a small, independent college offering undergraduate and graduate programs in visual arts and liberal studies. From 2002 – 2011, Ken served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean at MCA, where he provided leadership and coordination for all academic programs and activities; oversaw institutional accreditation, research, planning and assessment; and administered faculty appointments and academic budgets.

Strickland has been a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Dean's group since 2002 and was Commissioner for the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) from 2006 to 2012. He currently serves on the NASAD Executive Committee. Prior to his position in Memphis, Strickland served as Dean of the School of Art+Design at Purchase College in New York. As Dean, he oversaw the redesign of the visual arts and MFA curricula, increased academic standards, grew the undergraduate enrollment, and guided the school through its first National Association of Schools of Art and Design accreditation.

Strickland is also a practicing artist. From 1972-2002, he owned and operated Shadow and Substance, a design/build company specializing in custom/studio furniture and architectural renovation. Part of the commissions included hand-designed furniture pieces for public libraries and commercial businesses. Additionally, Strickland’s speculative art furnishings have been exhibited in galleries and museums, and he served as a technical consultant for the construction of sculptures for artists Abe Ajay, Claus Oldenberg and Tal Streeter. His current artistic exploration is metal shaping and fabrication.

Strickland holds a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Buffalo and an MFA degree from the Rhode Island School of Design.

July 11, 2015

Commitment to public education must not overlook creative sector

Peter Theibault's Form Study Class
Above: Student in Peter Theibault's Form Study Class. Photo by Helene Zuckerbrod.

Read a letter from Acting President Kurt Steinberg to The Boston Globe on the importance of STEAM in public higher education, and its contribution to the creative economy.

October 30, 2014

A Message from Acting President Kurt Steinberg on the Passing of Mayor Thomas M. Menino

Mayor Tom Menino
Above: Mayor Tom Menino and First Lady Angela accepting MassArt's
Godine Medal in recognition of their professional and personal dedication
to the advancement of arts and culture in society.

Dear MassArt Community:

The City of Boston and the MassArt community lost a great friend today with the passing of Mayor Thomas M. Menino. 

He was a champion of arts education and an ardent supporter of MassArt. We are particularly indebted to Mayor Menino for his advocacy of affordable and accessible higher education for all students.

While we are mourning Mayor Menino's passing, let's also remember his tireless work to expand the role that art and design play in our communities. 

In 2013, he joined us in celebrating the opening of our new Treehouse Residence. Then, last fall, both Mayor Menino and his wife Angela officially became members of our community when they were awarded MassArt's Godine Medal, which recognized their dedication to arts and culture in society.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Menino and the entire Menino family. Mayor Menino's legacy will live on here at MassArt and throughout the City of Boston. 

Thank you, Mayor Menino. 

Kurt Steinberg
Acting President

August 15, 2014

Kurt T. Steinberg Appointed Acting President of MassArt

Kurt Steinberg

Dr. Richard C. Marshall, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt)​, announced today that Executive Vice President Kurt T. Steinberg will become Acting President of MassArt, effective immediately. The announcement came at the same time as the College's current president, Dawn Barrett, announced that she will take a leave of absence and then resign her position as President.

"Kurt has already demonstrated great leadership in his capacity as Executive Vice President," said Dr. Richard Marshall.  "He is passionate about MassArt's mission and with his extensive background in government and far-reaching community ties this will be a smooth transition. Under Kurt's thoughtful direction MassArt's many initiatives will move forward."  

"I am honored by the confidence placed in me by the Board of Trustees," said Steinberg. "I look forward to working together with my MassArt colleagues, the college's world-class faculty, and with the community to advance MassArt's mission of offering an accessible high-quality arts education. I strongly feel that if you are academically qualified and have a strong portfolio, there should be no barrier to receiving an education at MassArt."  

Steinberg has deep ties with MassArt where he has held various leadership positions since 2006, most recently serving as the Executive Vice President since 2011. In this role Steinberg has focused on completing a $120 million campus transformation and numerous strategic initiatives including increased institutional financial support for students, increased number of students living on campus from 22% to 38% and started an architectural transformation including the modernization of student life and academic program space.  

He has also represented MassArt on committees inside and outside the College including the MassArt Foundation Investment Committee, state agencies, state legislature, corporate relations, and local political and neighborhood organizations.  

Steinberg's previous positions at MassArt include Chief Operating Officer (2010-2011) and Chief Financial Officer (2006-2010); in these roles he has been responsible for all administrative functions as well as government and community relations. One of Steinberg's proudest accomplishments was working with the senior leadership team at MassArt after the economic downturn in 2008. Through the recovery period, MassArt increased student financial aid by 413% from $800,000 to $4,100,000 in FY2014.  

Prior to MassArt Steinberg served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Policy for the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. In this capacity he created and tracked the annual operating budget and capital budget for the Public Higher Education System. He reviewed the colleges' financial statements as part of the state performance and accountability measurement system and supported Board fiscal initiatives as the primary staff member to the Fiscal Affairs and Administrative Policy Committee. While in this position Steinberg successfully implemented the Higher Education Budget Formula used to develop the annual budget submission to the Governor and the Legislature.  

Steinberg is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BA in International Relations and holds a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School. In addition to his work at MassArt, Steinberg is an active community leader and volunteer. He currently holds the position of Treasurer for Danforth Art and was previously on the board of the Performing Arts Center of Metrowest. This fall he will assume the role of Treasurer for the Treasurers' Club of Boston.   

MassArt is the only publicly-funded college of art in the country, and the first in the country to grant a degree.  MassArt prepares students from diverse backgrounds to participate in the creative economy as fine artists, designers, and 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.