About Dawn Barrett

About Dawn Oxenaar Barrett

Dawn Oxenaar Barrett portrait

Dawn Oxenaar Barrett is the eleventh president of Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the second woman to lead the nation's only independent college of art and design. She has enjoyed an international career as a teacher, artist, designer, professor and administrator.

Born in Northampton, Massachusetts, Barrett studied Fine Art at Smith College and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She also received a Master of Product Design, with a concentration in Graphic Design, from the School of Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Prior to joining Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Barrett served as the first and only female Dean of Architecture and Design Division of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and was also an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at RISD. Barrett lived and worked in Europe for many years and served as Head of the Department of Design at the Jan van Eyck Akademie - a post graduate and research center for fine art, design and theory in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

In addition to her administrative and faculty experience, Barrett has made significant contributions to the fields of design and education through research, practice and publications. She has been a noted speaker and successful designer, leading numerous professional commissions and assignments for major entities around the world. Barrett's curatorial work includes research and co-curation of a number of design exhibitions and her critical writing connects the disciplines of visual culture, history, design and architecture.

Former Board of Trustees member of Penland School of Crafts (2009-2012), Barrett is a member of the National Association of Art and Design Commission on Accreditation (NASAD) and is a visiting evaluator for NASAD and the American Landscape Association Accreditation Board (LAAB).

Barrett resides in the greater Boston area with her partner, the internationally renowned Dutch designer, R.D.E. "Ootje" Oxenaar and their daughters, Emily and Emma Oxenaar.