A Letter from President Jay Coogan

Jay Coogan, photo by Travis Anderson

Thank you for your interest in the Minneapolis College of Art and Design!

MCAD is a community dedicated to placing students first and helping them combine their creativity with a sense of purpose. We are large enough to have a diverse student body and faculty with a wide range of interests, but small enough to be able to give all students individual attention. From the day you decide to attend through the day you graduate and for the rest of your life, you will be part of an extended family of peers, faculty, advisors, and alumni who are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals and pursue your dreams.

Learn through Making

As an MCAD student, you’ll be introduced to the practice of learning through making. Our academic programs include:

Our mission is to give you the creative problem-solving skills, critical thinking, focus, and work ethic necessary for you to succeed in your chosen career. Across all of our degree programs, we work to foster a spirit of innovation and in so doing, we develop the next generation of leaders in art and design and beyond.

Immerse Yourself in a Creative Environment

The educational experience at MCAD is permeable, with as much of your learning taking place out of the classroom as in. Our energetic, creative community is centered in one of the most arts-supportive areas of America. Minnesota ranks first in the nation in per-capita public funding of the arts, and Minneapolis has been named one of the top ten creative cities in the United States. Our intimate campus is minutes from acclaimed museums, performing arts venues, and the vibrancy of downtown Minneapolis. You'll feel surrounded by unparalleled creative energy while here.

Get to Know Us

The first step to joining us as a student is for you to explore MCAD. I invite you to see our campus, meet our faculty, and talk to our students. We want to learn about you, your work, your ideas, and what is meaningful to you; in other words, we want to see your self-portrait. You can schedule a personal visit with the admissions department or come to one of our prospective student information events. Either way, I think you’ll be impressed.

Jay Coogan


November 5, 2013

Dear Friends of MCAD,

In just a few weeks, we’ll be hosting the 16th Annual MCAD Art Sale. This Minnesota tradition—featuring 5,000 pieces of art by 600 emerging artists during three thrilling days of art sales—supports MCAD students directly. It’s a point of pride that 100% of the proceeds go directly to the artists and the MCAD Art Sale Scholarship Fund. This event is not to be missed!

Over the years, the Art Sale has generated more than $2,000,000 for emerging artists. The event has gained a tremendous reputation as the one of the nation's top destinations for affordable, appreciable artwork by leading-edge artists who are creating not only what's new, but what's next.

It’s community support that makes events like the Art Sale so successful. And there are other MCAD success stories to share as well. Allow me to give you a quick update on college activities, as well as my perspectives on the state of affairs at MCAD.

The Twin Cities are rightly celebrated for a creative spirit, and for more than 125 years, MCAD has been developing the talent of the Twin Cities—and our global community. MCAD students are introduced to the practice of learning through making—whether in studio classes, required internships, or projects with external partners. I’m pleased to report that the students, as well as MCAD’s overall health and vitality, are quite strong. Our enrollment this fall was up and we welcomed nearly 200 freshmen and transfer students.

Our student body is becoming larger and more diverse. Last year, 24% of new students were students of color, and MCAD’s MFA program is attracting a larger number of international students from Asia and South America. Like many colleges, we are seeing increased economic diversity as well, with 97% of students receiving some sort of financial aid this year. My top priority continues to be affordability of MCAD’s quality education.

MCAD artists and designers operate at the intersection of creativity and purpose, and a number of projects demonstrate the college’s commitment to applying new thinking and solutions.

MCADWorks was developed as an umbrella program for work done with community partners. Here are some examples of those projects:

  • MCAD is continuing to develop its Greater Minnesota Arts Initiative, which supports design thinking and economic development outside the Twin Cities. A team of three fellows has been living and working in Grand Rapids for eight weeks this summer and has produced an interactive exhibition on the history and culture of Itasca County in collaboration with community members.
  • Faculty member Natasha Pestich and Pillsbury House + Theater are collaborating on a major project shaping the Chicago Avenue Arts District in Minneapolis.
  • MCAD students and faculty are bringing creative solutions to a number of partnerships in business and nonprofit arenas, including 3M, the American Heart Association’s Go Red Campaign, the Berman Institute at Johns Hopkins, Public Radio International, and the Tourism Board of Scotland.

These projects are an important part of the professional development of our students.

I want to thank you for your support; I can assure you that strong community support is critical to our mission as a catalyst for creativity. And on your next visit to campus, I’m confident you'll feel surrounded by unparalleled creative energy!

I look forward to seeing you at the Art Sale, November 21–23!


Jay Coogan
Minneapolis College of Art and Design

P.S. I hope you’ll keep an eye on the MCAD calendar for exciting on-campus events coming up this winter; plus, mark May 9, 2014 on your calendar for our next MCAD Art Auction.