Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Type Private
Established 1886
President Jay Coogan
Academic staff
Undergraduates 650
Location Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Campus Urban, 10 acres (4 ha)
Website www.mcad.edu

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) is a private, nonprofit four-year and postgraduate college specializing in the visual arts. Located in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, MCAD currently enrolls approximately 700 students offering education in painting, drawing, advertising, entrepreneurial studies, sculpture, printmaking, papermaking, photography, filmmaking, illustration, graphic design, book arts, furniture design, liberal arts, comic art, and sustainable design. MCAD is one of just a few major art schools to offer a major in comic art.


MCAD was founded in 1886 by the trustees of the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts and originally named the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts. Douglas Volk (1856–1935), an accomplished American portrait painter who studied in Paris with renowned French painter and sculptor Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904), became the school’s first president. Its inaugural class was held in a rented apartment in downtown Minneapolis and had an enrollment of 28 students, 26 of whom were women.[1][2]

In December 1889, the School found a more permanent home on the top floor of the just-finished Minneapolis Public Library at 10th Street and Hennepin Avenue. In 1893, noted German-born painter and educator Robert Koehler (1850–1917) moved from New York to Minnesota to become president of the school. Over the next ten years, he developed much of the curriculum that is known today as the art education field. By the turn of the century, the school had two instructors and had instituted a summer term, in addition to night classes for people in the community. In 1910, the School of Fine Arts changed its name to the Minneapolis School of Art to reflect the new emphasis on applied arts.[3]

In 1915, the school moved to its present location one mile south of downtown Minneapolis, and set up its classrooms and studios within the newly constructed Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The 10-acre (4 ha) site for the art museum and school was donated to the City of Minneapolis in 1911 by prominent local banker and businessman Clinton Morrison (1842–1913). It was formerly occupied by Villa Rosa, the home and estate of Morrison's parents Dorilus Morrison (1814–1897), the first mayor of Minneapolis, and Harriet Putnam Whitmore Morrison (1821–1880). The site of the Morrison's former estate is today held in the public trust under the jurisdiction of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and is officially known as Dorilus Morrison Park.[4]

In 1916, the school moved into its own nearby facilities in the new Julia Morrison Memorial Building, which was built with funds provided to the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts by Dr. Angus Washburn Morrison (1883–1949) and his sister, Ethel Morrison Van Derlip (1876–1921), as a memorial to their mother, Julia Kellogg Washburn Morrison (1853–1883), the wife of Clinton Morrison.[5] Designed by prominent Minneapolis architect Edwin Hawley Hewitt (1874–1939), a former Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts president, the Morrison Building featured three large painting studios with skylights, administrative offices, workshops and an auditorium.[1]

In 1970, the School was renamed the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to reflect the broadening of its fine arts and liberal arts curricula. By this time, with enrollment of nearly 600 students, the college had outgrown its facilities, and in 1974 expanded into a building designed by Pritzker Prize–winning modernist architect Kenzo Tange (1913–2005) as part of the new "arts complex" that included the Children's Theatre Company and a major addition to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.[1]

On July 1, 1988, MCAD became a wholly independent institution, no longer governed by the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts.[1]

In 2002,I.D. Magazine named MCAD one of America’s "Top Ten Design Schools".


MCAD offers several degree programs.

Bachelor of Fine Arts: The BFA program offers majors in Advertising, Animation, Comic Art, Drawing and Painting, Filmmaking, Fine Arts Studio, Furniture Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Web And Multimedia Environments, Photography, Print Paper Book, and Sculpture.[6]

Bachelor of Science: The BSc program offers a major in entrepreneurial studies. Students have the opportunity to meet with real clients and take on real projects for a contextual study from the moment they step inside MCAD's doors. This allows students to network with industry professionals by becoming a part of the industry themselves, giving them not only an education, but real-world experience. By the time they graduate, students already have a leg-up on graduates from other colleges and universities.

Continuing Education: MCAD offers a number of continuing studies courses for children, teens, and adults. Adult courses are available for both enrichment and professional development.

Master of Fine Arts: The MFA program offers disciplines in the areas of Animation, Comic Art, Drawing, Filmmaking, Furniture Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interactive Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture. It uses a mentor-based approach in which students select a mentor from a list of MCAD faculty and professional area artists, work one-on-one with their mentors discussing their goals as an artist, and develop strategies in studio art and liberal studies seminars to meet their best needs.[7]

Master of Arts: Launched in 2004, MCAD's MA program was the first accredited online program, not exclusive to architecture, focusing on sustainability methodologies that can be applied to any effort. The program was developed, and is taught, by long-standing sustainability-practitioners working in design and business, including members of: Worldchanging, Biomimicry Guild, The Natural Step, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Living Principles, and the Permaculture Guild. Students come from all industries, cultures, and career stages to share ideas and insights while learning how to apply systems thinking to their own work. Not limited to designers, business and government decision makers find they not only learn how to work in an applied sustainability environment, but learn design thinking methodologies as well – sparking real, and long-term innovation.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificates: MCAD offers two professional post-baccalaureate certificate programs for students and working adults who have already completed a bachelor's degree. The graphic design certificate program is taught on campus in the evenings and weekends and prepares students for careers as professional graphic designers. The interactive design and marketing certificate combines web design courses with web development and marketing courses. Topics such as mobile development and social media marketing are also taught in this 100% online program.


MCAD Campus
The campus of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

MCAD is located at 2501 Stevens Avenue, just south of downtown Minneapolis. It shares an eighteen-acre arts campus with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Children's Theatre Company. The MCAD campus consists of eight buildings and three acres of lawns and gardens.

The Minneapolis Japanese School, a weekend Japanese educational program designated by the Japanese Ministry of Education,[8] previously held its classes at MCAD.[9]


The MCAD operates one main gallery space, a gallery on the concourse, an outdoor sculpture garden, and the student-run Gallery 148. The college hosts contemporary art and design exhibitions, receptions, artist talks, and other events that are free and open to the public.[10]


Notable alumni

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "MCAD History". MCAD. 2007.
  2. "Minneapolis College of Art and Design Faculty Artists". ArtStor. May 16, 2008.
  3. "Museums, Galleries, and Institutions for the Arts". Mpls Library. 2001.
  4. "Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board website".
  5. "Bio of Dr. Angus Washburn Morrison".
  6. MCAD: Bachelor of Fine Arts
  7. MCAD Master of Fine Arts
  8. "日本人学校及び日本語補習授業校のご案内" (Archive). Consulate General of Japan in Chicago. Retrieved on April 8, 2015.
  9. "English Page" (Archive). Minneapolis Japanese School. October 6, 2001. Retrieved on April 8, 2015.
  10. "Gallery Exhibitions". Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  11. Kelleher, Carole (2016-02-04). "Linus Maurer, 1926-2016". Sonoma Index-Tribune. Retrieved 2016-02-14.

Coordinates: 44°57′25.95″N 93°16′29.6″W / 44.9572083°N 93.274889°W / 44.9572083; -93.274889

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