Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
Established 1826
Type Private
Endowment $51 million[1]
President Fred Lazarus IV
Academic staff 291
Students 1872
Undergraduates 1644
Postgraduates 228
Location Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Campus Urban

Blue & Yellow (traditionally)

Green & Brown (more recently)

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,[2] 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,[3] and its Graphic Design Master of Fine Arts program tied for #6 among graduate schools for Graphic Design.[4] 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, above the Center Market on Baltimore Street

The Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts was established in 1826. One instrumental figure in the Institute's founding was writer, lawyer and inventor John H. B. Latrobe,[2] son of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, designer of the United States Capitol and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, MD. The first home of the Institute was called The Athenaeum, and was situated at the cross streets of St. Paul and Lexington Streets in downtown Baltimore. It was destroyed by fire caused by a riot on February 7, 1835.[2]

Classes resumed 12 years later in 1849 in rented space over the downtown Baltimore Post Office.[5] In 1851, the Institute moved from the Post Office to its own building, built above the Center Market on Baltimore Street. The building covered an entire block and had two stories above the market, with two towers.

During this period the Maryland Institute adds a School of Chemistry, thanks in part to philanthropist George Peabody (for which the Peabody Institute is named) and B&O President Thomas Swann, and a School of Music.[5] 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.[5]

The Maryland Institute, after the 1904 Fire

For 79 years the Institute was housed in the same location above the 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 the Presidential Conventions of Gen. Winfield Scott and his opponent Franklin Pierce (who became the 14th President of the United States in the following election).[5]

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.[5] On April 16, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln gave a speech during a fair held in the Great Hall to benefit Union Soldiers.

On February 7, 1904, the Center Market building burned down along with 1,500 other buildings in downtown Baltimore during the Great Baltimore Fire.[5] Temporarily, classes are moved to spaces above other covered markets in the city, while construction begins in two locations. Michael Jenkins donated the future site of the Main Building, which was to house the School of Art and Design, and the City of Baltimore offered the site and funding to rebuild the Center Market building for the Drafting school.[6] 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.

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.[6] In 1928, the new Center Market building, now known as the Market Place building, offers a course in Aeronautics theory and drafting following the increase in interest in the industry following Lindbergh's flight over the Atlantic Ocean.

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 Jones Falls Expressway (I-83).[6] 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.[7]

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 1991), 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.

Main building

Main Building

Construction began on a new Maryland Institute campus in Bolton Hill when its Center Market building was destroyed in the Great Baltimore Fire of February 7, 1904, and construction was completed four years later in 1908.[8] 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.[8] 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, circa 1400. The exterior marble is carved from Beaver Dam marble, sourced from near Cockeysville, Maryland. It is the same marble used to build the Washington Monument in Baltimore, and part of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C..[5]

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.[8] 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.

Mount Royal Station
The former B&O station, now the Maryland Institute College of Art, in 2009
Location: 1400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, Maryland
Coordinates: 39°18′20″N 76°37′14″W / 39.30556°N 76.62056°W / 39.30556; -76.62056Coordinates: 39°18′20″N 76°37′14″W / 39.30556°N 76.62056°W / 39.30556; -76.62056
Built: 1896
Architect: Baldwin, E. Francis; Pennington, Josias
Architectural style: Renaissance
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 73002191
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: June 18, 1973[9]
Designated NHL: December 8, 1976[10]

Mount Royal Station

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.

Dolphin Building

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.[11]

Bunting Center

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.

Fox Building

The Fox Building

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.

Bank Building (Studio Center)

MICA purchased the former Jos. A. Bank sewing plant on North Avenue in August 2000. The all brick building dates back to the early 1900s 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 Brown Center

Brown Center

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.[12] 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.[13]

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 facilities

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.

Student housing

The Commons

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.

The Gateway

Meyerhoff House

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.[14]

The Gateway

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 1,644 undergraduate students and 228 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

Graduate Programs (MFA)

Graduate programs (MA)

Undergraduate programs (BFA)


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

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "MICA Historical Timeline". 2009.—Expanding_Education_in_Baltimore.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  3. ^ "U.S. News and World Report - Best Graduate Schools - Fine Arts". 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  4. ^ "Fine Arts Specialty Rankings: Graphic Design". 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "1847-1878: Renewal and Expansion in the Industrial Age". 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  6. ^ a b c "1905-1960: A Fresh Start—Rise of Mount Royal Campus". 2009.—Rise_of_Mount_Royal_Campus.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  7. ^ "1961-1977: Rapid Strides Forward—Becoming a College". 2009.—Becoming_a_College.html. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  8. ^ a b c Mary Ellen Hayward & Frank R. Shivers, Jr., ed (2004). The Architecture of Baltimore. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. ISBN 0-8018-7806-3. 
  9. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  10. ^ "Mount Royal Station and Trainshed". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  11. ^ "Mica Printmaking". Maryland Institute College of Art. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  12. ^ ""1978-Today: A Vital Force for Change–Expanding the Role of Artists and Designers"". Maryland Institute College of Art. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  13. ^ ""Brown Center"". Architectural Record. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Gunts, Edward. "Maryland Institute buys former Women's Hospital". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 

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