MCA News

Memphis College of Art Unveiling: The Face of the Opioid Epidemic

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell hosted an unveiling reception of MCA student designs that will be used to increase awareness and prevention of opioid use disorder. Led by MCA Professor Cat Normoyle, the project was a partnership with the Shelby County Health Department within MCA’s design lab course, a course structured like a design agency where students are paid to do client work.

Shelby County hired the class to design a PSA campaign to raise awareness around the opioid crisis in Shelby County, and the students created three campaigns that work across billboards, posters, and social media. The designs will be displayed in Shelby County as a broad-based effort to combat the opioid epidemic in our communities. This campaign emphasizes the importance of art and design in health and community efforts, and the abilities of MCA’s students to effectively contribute to civic engagement.

Following the unveiling, Mayor Luttrell and Dr. Haushalter, Director of the Shelby County Health Department, led a conversation on how the opioid crisis is affecting Shelby County and the role that individuals and organizations can play to help combat this public health emergency.

Left to Right: Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, MCA Student Briana Gilmer, MCA Student Justin Wells, MCA Student Anthony Williams, MCA Student Amber Gonzales, Dr. Alisa Haushalter – Director, Shelby County Health Department
Other project participants not pictured: MCA Students Sam Maxwell and Kelli Laderer

Sample Images from the Student Presentation:


Save the Date and Submit Your Work! MCA’s 2018 Holiday Bazaar

MCA’s 68th Annual Holiday Bazaar and Fundraiser: Call to Artists and Bazaar Dates

The Memphis College of Art 68th Holiday Bazaar and Fundraiser (Juried Show) is now accepting submissions. The Early Submission Deadline is Thursday, August 30. The Final Submission Deadline is Monday, October 1. To apply online, click here.

There will be a ticketed Opening Celebration on Friday, November 16, and the bazaar will be open to the public on Saturday, November 17. The bazaar is located in Rust Hall, Memphis College of Art 1930 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38104.

This much anticipated, juried event has drawn thousands of people to the MCA campus since its inception in 1949. The show was revamped and improved in 2016. This is the third edition of that newly reimagined Holiday Bazaar. In addition to supporting local artists in the MCA community, 30% of proceeds from each sale will benefit the college’s scholarship fund to help teach out the college’s remaining students.

The Holiday Bazaar is an excellent opportunity for both emerging and established artists to showcase their work in a high-traffic, gallery event. Work from students, faculty, alumni, and trending local artists will be for sale. As an open call, any local artist may submit, and there is no cost to apply.

Showcase Success! The Fashion Design Certificate Program Celebrates its First Recipients

Memphis College of Art (MCA) stepped into spring last night to celebrate the Spring 2018 recipients of the Fashion Design Certificate. The ten designers are the first to complete the Fashion Design Certificate Program launched last year in partnership with Memphis Fashion Design Network (MFDN). In the nine-month intensive program, participants learn the concepts and skills needed to make their designs runway ready, and obtain valuable sewing and tailoring skills that can help pave the way for a new career path.

The recipients included four American Association of University Women (AAUW) grant awardees, along with six other candidates: Morgan Burns (AAUW), LaShunda Coleman, Andrea Everett (AAUW), Vivianna Haney (AAUW), Jo Carol Harris, Jeanyne R Lewis, Antzee Magruder, Rachel McCasky, E’riel Sade Seaberry (AAUW), and Jessie L Woodson.

Each designer showcased their work, including fashion sketches, garments, sketchbooks, and more. Abby Phillips, founder and director of MFDN, spoke at the event to encourage all the designers to keep working hard, stay connected with MCA and MFDN, and network with the creative community in Memphis.

MCA Director of Community Education Cece Palazola was thrilled for the recipients: “We are so very proud of our designers. They have all made amazing progress in just nine months since beginning this journey with us.”

For more information on the Fashion Design Certificate Program, click here.

Jessie L. Woodson, Certificate recipient and owner of boutique Arlean Elizabeth Couture on Bookhaven Circle

Fashion Design Instructors from left to right: ShA Locke, Meredith Olinger, Haley Warner, and Samilia Colar with MFDN Director Abby Phillips


Antzee Magruder, Certificate recipient and owner of Antzee Art

E’riel Sade Seaberry, Certificate recipient and current MCA student

MCA and World Relief Present Ai Weiwei Film and Livestream Q&A

MCA and World Relief Present:

Human Flow Screening and Livestream Q&A with Ai Weiwei

In partnership with World Relief, MCA will be hosting a free public screening of Ai Weiwei’s film Human Flow on Sunday, April 29 at 1:30pm. Hundreds of universities and organizations across the country will be viewing the simultaneous screening of Human Flow, followed by a webcast Q&A with Ai Weiwei live from the University of Chicago. Mr. Ai will be taking questions from screening audiences across the country.

This event is free and open to the public. It will be held in Callicott Auditorium within Rust Hall in Overton Park.

About the film: Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.

View the trailer.

About Ai Weiwei: Ai Weiwei is an artist. Born in 1957, he currently resides and works in Beijing. View his website for more information.

World Relief is a global development & relief organization actively serving the needs of vulnerable displaced people since 1944. Partnering with local churches and faith-based organizations, World Relief operates in 24 countries around the world and pursues holistic transformation so that the lives of the vulnerable can thrive and grow. World Relief has been actively engaged in refugee resettlement in the U.S. since 1979, and in Memphis since 2012. For more information about World Relief Memphis, please visit or 901-341-0220.

Facebook Event


MCA’s Summer Art Camp: Bigger and Better than Ever

MCA’s Community Education program is full-steam ahead. After the rousing success of its Fashion Design Certificate Program launched last year in partnership with Memphis Fashion Design Network, MCA Community Education has introduced more new programs to its offerings. A new Makers Series begins in April, where industry experts will teach branding and packaging courses to local makers in the Memphis area. This provides a much-needed space for those that already know, or make, their product to take it to the next level. But perhaps the biggest news is the expansion of its long-time beloved Summer Art Camp program.

After a record-breaking summer camp in 2017, MCA Community Education has added an additional 200 spots and 25 classes to its summer camp program, while still retaining their low camper to adult ratio and professional, experienced instructors. New advanced classes are available, such as Animation 2, Advanced Pottery, Metal Sculpture 2, and Fashion Design 2. New camps include The Art of Branding, Comics and Characters, Mobile App Design, Mural Collaborative, and more.

Many of the camps cater to the tween and teen audiences, and MCA Community Education offers a Focused Camps track specifically for those older students who want to delve deep into a particular area (see catalog page 8). The Summer Camp Junior takes children as young as 3 years old, and the new Decision Guide helps parents choose the right camp for their child based on their interests (see catalog page 7). The program continues to offer Extended Care both before and after camps for an additional weekly fee.

There will be a Camp Preview Day on Saturday, April 7 from 2-4pm in Rust Hall, Overton Park. Attendees can enjoy hands-on activities, instructor demonstrations, and studio tours. Scholarship information will also be available, along with on-site registration with a special preview discount.

Full information about this year’s blockbuster Summer Art Camp can be found in their catalog below, or on the Summer Art Camp webpage. Scholarships are available. Make this summer one full of creativity!


MCA hires Commercial Advisors for property disposition

After announcing last fall that it will no longer admit new students, Memphis College of Art (MCA) remains committed to its current students through May 2020. MCA has also hired Cushman & Wakefield/ Commercial Advisors to represent the College in the disposition of their real estate portfolio.

“MCA will retain residency in Rust Hall through the teach-out period of May 2020,” said Laura Hine, President of the Memphis College of Art. “And in the sale of the real estate assets south of Poplar, we will be mindful of our students’ educational and housing needs. We are committed to our students and will have them in mind during every step of the process.”

Proceeds from the MCA real estate sales will both create a reserve fund for the teach-out of the current students, and retire the College’s real estate debt, Hine said.

“Rust Hall is the heartbeat of MCA, and an important Overton Park landmark,” said Hine. “In the disposition process of Rust Hall, we will work with the City of Memphis and the Overton Park Conservancy to determine the highest and best use of this amazing and beloved building.”

The MCA campus includes 12 buildings south of Poplar Avenue and the iconic Rust Hall, a mid-20th century landmark building in Overton Park designed by architect Roy Harrover, who is largely credited for having established a modern architectural identity for Memphis. The buildings south of Poplar include three multifamily properties, two student-housing properties, four art studio/office buildings, a single-family home, and a mixed-use office/retail/multifamily property on Poplar Avenue.

“We will work closely with MCA on all new ownership decisions,” said Matt Weathersby, Principal with Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors. “The community significance of these properties is one we will keep top-of-mind throughout the process.”

Despite marketing their properties, MCA remains at the forefront of creativity in Memphis and has much to offer through May 2020. The College’s current students bring creativity and innovation to businesses and organizations throughout Memphis through internships and community projects. MCA Community Education continues to provide high-quality and sought-after art courses to the greater Memphis community, including its popular Fashion Design Program, new Makers Series, and larger-than-ever Summer Art Camp. Gallery lectures and events continue to draw our community to MCA, and share the important work that artists produce. Stay in touch with MCA’s happenings on their website – – and on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information on the College’s properties, view the Memphis College of Art portfolio or contact Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors at (901) 366-6070.



HEY! PAY ATTENTION. MCA and OPC Launch New Pedestrian Campaign

Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) and Memphis College of Art (MCA) launch a bold new pedestrian safety campaign in the park, with new signs and an animated video created by MCA students.

Junior Animation student Esme Perkins created an engaging and effective short film about pedestrian safety in and around Overton Park. The film had full support of all of the park partners in addition to OPC and MCA, including the Memphis Zoo, Levitt Shell, Brooks Museum, and The Links at Overton Park. The short film will be shared by the park partners, and also be played on the two LED screens at Levitt Shell during their concert season.

Senior Graphic Design student Oziel Juarez designed the signs used throughout the park and on Poplar Avenue. His strong and simple “HEY!” theme with its eye-catching bright colors forces drivers and pedestrians to focus and pay attention.

The tragic death of MCA student Kelcie Ashmore in 2017 emphasized the need for increased pedestrian safety awareness near Overton Park. MCA and OPC worked with the City’s Engineering Office to increase safety at the Poplar and Tucker intersection, and continue to take steps to make sure students and community members stay safe with this new campaign.

“The well-being of our students is our number one priority,” President Laura Hine remarks. “We wanted our talented students to help others. Esme and Oziel have done an outstanding job, and remind us of the power of art and design to effect change in our communities.”

Artists have the unique ability to communicate in ways that others do not, and that is evident in the value these MCA students have added to this campaign, and the attention the campaign will garner because of their work.

See the video and signage photos below.


Choose901 Touts MCA Community Education Offerings

“You may be wondering what’s happening lately at Memphis College of Art in light of the school’s announcement that it will be closing in 2020. The answer is lots, actually. MCA is forging ahead with exhibitions and classes, including a full slate of Community Education programming for all ages this spring.”

Read Choose901’s post about all of the exciting classes happening at MCA this spring. And don’t forget our exhibitions, lectures, and other events. We are here and we are doing great things. Join us!

Memphis College of Art Community Education Offerings This Spring

MCA OPEN on Friday, January 19 – Read more here

MCA will be open tomorrow, Friday, January 19. All classes will resume tomorrow.

Please review the following safety recommendations:

Gibson Hall: The Gibson Hall parking lot is closed to traffic. All Staff and Faculty, please park at Parkside or find alternative parking.

Rust Hall: There is a cleared path up the front steps to Rust Hall. Please enter through the front entrance of Rust Hall on the cleared path. Other parts of the stairs still have snow and ice on them.

Some patches of ice still exist, so please exercise caution when walking or driving in the area.

Thank you, and be safe.

(Dis)placed Bodies Exhibition on view in January

“We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In partnership with the City of Memphis and the National Civil Rights Museum’s MLK50 program honoring the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, students and faculty from Memphis College of Art and the University of Memphis join together to present a thoughtful and contemporary look at inequalities and social justice in Memphis.

The exhibit will be on view in the Main Gallery of Rust Hall in Overton Park from January 4 to January 30, with a reception on Friday, January 26 from 6-8pm.

In this cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration, Dr. Susan Nordstrom, Assistant Professor of Educational Research at University of Memphis, O. Gustavo Plascencia, Associate Professor and Director of the MFA Programs at Memphis College of Art, and graduate students from both institutions explore how bodies are (dis)placed by intersections between poverty, available jobs with living wages, decent housing, quality education, and justice in Memphis.

In this project, (dis)placed bodies are defined as people who have been shifted by structural economic, racial, sexual, gender inequalities against their will, and the term (dis)placed bodies is used to situate how structural inequalities are both embodied and real.

This work aims to open up ways to think about, and do the justice to come that has arrived too late for, (dis)placed bodies. The exhibit invites conversations and connections with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s social justice philosophy and work, and powerfully encourages its audience to face cultural and economic disparities in our community.

During the Fall 2017 semester, UofM and MCA students worked together to study (dis)placements through art, philosophy, and research. During this project, they saw no division between art, philosophy, and research. Rather, they viewed themselves as makers, philosophers, and researchers as they read about social art, philosophy, and arts-based research practices. They walked with these readings in selected Memphis neighborhoods in order to study (dis)placements of ourselves, the people living in those neighborhoods, the history of the neighborhoods, and the neighborhoods themselves. This exhibit and catalog share projects created from the course and walks.

The projects range from assemblage pieces, sculpture, photography, poetry, and traditional academic papers and represent the collective work surrounding (dis)placements in Memphis.

Exhibition participants: Darcie Beeman-Black, Sara L. Benson, Hannah Clevenger, Aaron Matthew Dechant, Sebastian Garcia, Gregory C. Hairston, Nadine R. McLean, Susan Naomi Nordstrom, Alyssa Nucaro, O. Gustavo Plascencia, Mark Rowell, Derwin Sisnett, Leslee, Bailey-Tarbett, Charles Taylor, Cat Williams, and Lauren Woods. Other catalog participants include: Tracy Hernandez, LaRuth K. Lofties, Taylor Palas, Keven Rudrow, Wesam Salem, Laura Sullivan, Stephen Paff, and Holly Staggs.


Details of “City of Islands,” O. Gustavo Plascencia

The exhibition was made possible in part by an MLK50 grant from the City of Memphis and sponsorship from the National Civil Rights Museum.



Don’t miss the MCA Senior Showcase on February 13

Memphis College of Art has redesigned its spring showcase!

Stop by and experience the wide-range of Senior creative talent and work on view. Attendees will have the opportunity to see artwork, talk to students, and discuss opportunities. The Showcase is open to any individual or business interested in meeting our talented creatives of the future. See how these graduating students can positively impact your organization, business, or community.

Mark your calendar to be at Rust Hall February 13th between 4:30 and 6:00 PM for this event. We will have refreshments to enjoy as you mix and mingle with this latest group of MCA talent.

Registration is required, and can be completed at this link:

MCA 2018 Senior Showcase

Community Education Spring Catalog Online Now!

Click here to see all of the wonderful offerings through MCA Community Education this spring.

MCA Community Education has something for everyone. We offer 30+ courses for Spring 2018, and don’t forget Summer Art Camp! Saturday School classes and After School Art Studio are available for youth. Adult classes include courses in Photography, Painting, Metals, and more. Private lessons available.

Did you know that MCA Community Education gift certificates are available for purchase online? Visit our store to give the gift of art education.

Community Letters: Happy Thoughts for MCA

Memphis College of Art received a thoughtful letter from a community member this week. M. Cobb writes, “Your painted mural outside Iskiwitz Metals on 604 Marble Avenue encourages those who pass by daily. The creativity of your artists showcases their many talents.”

The letter continues to thank the college for its artistic improvement throughout the city. Letters like these remind us that MCA students continue to impact our community in important ways. Thank you, M. Cobb, for writing to us.

The mural outside of Iskiwitz Metals was created by MCA students in 2016 through a grant given by AutoZone.


CTNX Bound: Animation Students Hit the Road

Image by Emily Martinez

Four MCA animation students – Sahina Irwin, Kristen Kaluba, Troy Koler, and Emily Martinez – hit the road to attend the CTN animation eXpo (CTNX) in Burbank, California this month. Hosted by The Creative Talent Network and in its eighth year, CTNX is the only event of its kind that brings together the top professionals from both the traditional and digital worlds of animation. The conference is known as a resource for education, employment, inspiration, business opportunities and, of course, fun.

Having attended the conference in 2016, Kristen Kaluba remembers her first conference as the “wild west” where she felt small in such a big ocean of artists and professionals. But it was clear in the months after the conference that the trip influenced her work in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. This impact inspired three of her fellow animation students to join her at CTNX 2017.

This time around, Kristen was no rookie. As she says, “I was on the attack! I made the changes, I grew as an artist, and now it was time to get job interviews and as many critiques as I could.” One of those interviews was with Hasbro for a Visual Development internship, where Kristen felt prepared both with her portfolio and her interview skills.

The students agreed that every artist there was not only friendly, but also willing to share advice. Attendees can sign up for professional critiques, but they can also simply walk up to an artist and ask for feedback. The students met artists in their fields of interest, such as illustrated novels or movie animation. The lectures and panels inspired the students, and helped them grow in their own endeavors.

First-time attendee Emily Martinez raves about her experience, “From start to finish, CTNX was an awesome experience. I got to meet illustrators, animators, comic artists, creators, directors, and producers all well established in their fields. That’s the amazing thing–these were just people walking around. Paul Briggs (Disney Animator) just sat down right next to me at a panel! Like it was no big deal!”

Emily gained more great experience during her visit: “At CTNX you are in direct contact with these people and their companies. They have panels, screenings, live demonstrations, and booths for individual artists. I had my portfolio reviewed by three big companies (Powerhouse Animation, Dreamworks, and Blizzard) in the span of a day, and was given solid feedback and encouragement to return next year with progress.”

Interested in attending CTNX 2018? Follow CTNX on Facebook or Instagram to keep up with events and happenings.

Kristen Kaluba with Terryl Whitlatch, animator for Disney’s Brother Bear and Star Wars

Emily Martinez with John Pomeroy, Disney Animator

Autograph with drawing by Paul Briggs, Disney Animator


Dec 2: Reception Night at MCA

Don’t miss a big night at MCA on Saturday, December 2! Memphis College of Art will be hosting a special reception on December 2 for all three exhibits on view. A Guest Lecture with Dr. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson in conjunction with the Creativity and Inclusivity Exhibition will also be given prior to the reception in Callicott Auditorium.

RECEPTION: Saturday, December 2, 6 – 8pm, Rust Hall, MCA, Overton Park

GUEST LECTURE: Saturday, December 2, 5 – 6pm, Callicott Auditorium, Rust Hall, MCA, Overton Park

Free and open to the public. Three exhibits on view: 2017 BFA Thesis Exhibit, Creativity and Inclusivity, and Works by Jan Hankins.

Main Gallery:

2017 BFA Thesis Exhibit

Works from graduating seniors in the BFA program will be on view. More information here.

Lower Gallery:

Creativity and Inclusivity: Disability and Art in the Memphis Community

Exhibition of work created by artists from Memphis Center for Independent Living (MCIL), Shelby Residential and Vocational Services (SRVS), and MCA. This exhibition is ADA accessible. Audio guides and braille texts are available. Viewers can touch some of the artwork. More information here.

Guest Lecture: December 2, 5:00-6:00pm in Callicott Auditorium in Rust Hall prior to the Reception. Dr. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Professor of English and bioethics at Emory University. More information here.

Alumni Gallery:

Works by Jan Hankins

Exhibit will be on view from November 29 to December 14. More information here.

Don’t miss this year’s Holiday Bazaar Preview & Purchase Party! Buy Tickets Here.

ONLINE TICKET SALES FOR THIS EVENT HAVE CLOSED. Tickets are available at the door this evening for the same price.

This year’s bazaar has more offerings, more artists, a redesigned Preview Night event, and more!

November 17: Friday night is a Preview & Purchase Party from 5 – 10pm. Tickets are $50. This is a perfect night out and an opportunity to get first dibs on all of the items. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Cash donations benefitting our scholarship fund are welcome at the bar.

The offerings at the bazaar truly run the gamut of handmade works: paintings, prints, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, kitchen items, t-shirts and wearables, silk-printed scarves, temporary tattoos, bath and body products, stickers, postcards, metals, paper goods, and more.

Some of the artists represented include: Tylur French, Susan Maakestad, Funlola’s Workshop, Eso Tolson, Erica McCarrens, Pretty Little Useful Co., Joseph Holsapple, Chloe York, Michelle Duckworth, Olivia & Ruby, Thomas Curry, Katherine Cooke Designs, and many, many others.

The Open Market will be held on Saturday from 10am – 5pm. Saturday is a free, open marketplace and all are welcome.

City Leadership/Choose901 Visits MCA Campus

MCA welcomed the City Leadership/Choose901 team to their campus on Friday, October 20.

In addition to touring Rust Hall and its many studios and departments, the Choose901 team participated in an exciting metals project with Professor Bill Price and his student assistants. Utilizing multiple tools and hot forges, the group fabricated skull bottle openers just in time for Halloween.

The visit ended with a walk-through of the popular Le Monster exhibit and refreshments with MCA staff. MCA looks forward to a continued relationship with City Leadership as current students and alumni share their mission of making Memphis a creative hub of innovation and growth.

Memphis College of Art Stops Admitting Students, Makes Plans to Close

Memphis College of Art Stops Admitting Students, Makes Plans to Close

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (October 24) — Facing declining enrollment, overwhelming real estate debt, and no viable long-term plan for financial sustainability, the Board of Directors of the Memphis College of Art has voted to stop recruiting new students, effective immediately, and begin making plans to close the College.

The College will now begin the orderly dissolution of MCA’s real estate and other assets to fund the College’s debt obligations and other liabilities, including providing sufficient funding to serve existing students who remain at MCA. The College is not admitting new students, and at the conclusion of fulfilling its obligations to existing students who remain in good standing, MCA will close. The precise period of time for this wind-down (“teach-out”) has yet to be determined; the College anticipates it will last through May 2020.

“It is with great sadness that we move forward with this decision,” said MCA Board Chair Henry P. Doggrell.

The Board vote resulted from a long process that eventually determined that an independent, private fine arts and design college is no longer financially sustainable in Memphis. The College’s situation is not unique – small private colleges face financial challenges across the country. Over the last months, the school’s leaders have cut costs to operate as efficiently as possible, but it wasn’t sufficient to sustain operations beyond the current academic year without continued significant community support.

During the “teach-out” period, MCA will continue its long-standing tradition of offering Community Education programs, including the Fashion Certificate Program, summer camps, and adult art classes. Many of the College’s community partnerships will continue as well. MCA’s popular Holiday Bazaar will take place as scheduled on November 17-18, with proceeds funding existing student scholarships.

“This has been a heartbreaking process,” said MCA Interim President Laura Hine. “But we remain proud of the creative energy MCA artists have long brought to Memphis, and are eternally grateful to the donors and foundations who have sustained us throughout our 81-year history. The tremendous value of the artistic contributions made by MCA faculty, students, and graduates, over many decades, simply can’t be captured in words.”

She continued: “In the immediate term our attention is focused on the internal MCA family – our students, our faculty and our staff. Going forward, we will rely on the thousands of MCA alumni in Memphis and across the country to carry on the legacy of the College through their art, their creative energy, and their innovation.”

Please direct all media inquiries to Mary Caywood, Associate VP for Marketing and Communications at the College at, 901-272-5111 or 901-218-6881, or Marilyn Koester, Communications Manager at, 901-272- 5113.

General FAQ’s

1. Is MCA closing immediately?
No. We will not admit any new students and instead will focus on serving current students who remain at MCA in good academic standing. When we fulfill our obligations to these students, Memphis College of Art will close.

2. Is Memphis College of Art merging with another college?
No. Memphis College of Art is not admitting new students effective immediately and will instead dedicate its resources to its existing students.

3. How did the College get to this position?
Economic challenges face all of the higher education market, especially small, private colleges. For MCA in particular, declining enrollment, a small endowment, and real estate debt have contributed to the precarious financial state of the College for several years. The leadership of the College (the Cabinet and the Board) worked hard to structure a sustainable model for the future, but was unable to do so.

4. How do you plan to close the College?
MCA is working with its accrediting organizations and other counselors to develop teach-out plans for the proper close-down of the College. The details of the plan are not yet finalized and, most importantly, will be driven by an overarching focus on the welfare of MCA’s current students.

5. If MCA doesn’t have money now, how will it carry on its operations until it closes?
MCA has valuable real estate assets that will be sold. The proceeds will be dedicated to meet MCA’s obligations. We will also rely on the continued generosity of donors to help MCA as we serve those students who remain at MCA.

6. Will all assets be sold?
Yes, over time all of the assets of MCA will be sold, beginning with real estate assets. Rust Hall and equipment will be retained for teaching out our students.

7. After the teach out, what’s going to happen to Rust Hall in Overton Park?
We are working with all stakeholders to determine the best disposition of Rust Hall in order to preserve this iconic building and ensure it maintains its prominent and important place in Overton Park.

8. Who owns Rust Hall?
MCA owns Rust Hall, on land owned by the City of Memphis and leased to MCA under a long-term lease.

9. Will events and exhibitions still take place?
Yes. Exhibitions, shows and traditional events, such as Holiday Bazaar, will continue. Our 67th Annual Holiday Bazaar and Fundraiser is scheduled for November 17 and 18 in the Rust Hall gallery, with net proceeds funding existing student scholarships.

10. Will Community Education and Summer Art Camp continue?
Yes. MCA plans to continue Community Education programs during the teach out. Please continue to visit our website for a listing of the available classes and the recently introduced Fashion Design Certificate Program.

Creatives are Dangerous: MCA and Creative Works

MCA students and alumni descended on the inspiring Creative Works Conference this past weekend. The three-day event featured dozens of influential design, branding, digital, and storytelling experts. Creative minds from all over the country came to share their stories and listen to others, and MCA was there in the mix.

Advancement and Alumni Coordinator and MCA alumna Kristen Rambo helped the conference staff by working as a volunteer. Her long 15-hour days spent working at the conference were worth every minute though, especially with fellow MCA volunteers, alumni Ruby Zielinski and Lexie Shaunak and student Zoe Fitzhugh, shouldering the load.

“This is truly a grassroots conference, yet it feels so much larger,” Rambo says. “It was three days of talks, panels, workshops, market, snacks, and, most of all, building relationships and esteem.”

Senior Painting and Drawing major Baleigh Kuhar says, “the Creative Works Conference was the most inspiring experience I’ve ever had as a creative.” Kuhar appreciated hearing all of the speakers express the importance of personal projects, and seeing countless individuals who spoke of stepping out of their expertise and bringing their perspective and unique skill set to an unfamiliar medium. After a conversation with opening speaker Andy J. Pizza, Kuhar felt encouraged: “He confirmed my suspicion that I can do both fine arts and illustration. And I don’t have to start from scratch either. I can take what I know from my experience and create a niche market.”

The free artist market was open on Friday and Saturday, and included several MCA alumni, like Clare Freeman with Pretty Useful Co., Funlola Coker with Funlola’s Workshop, Kong Wee Pang and Jay Crum of Taro Pop, and Samilia Colar with Texstyle.

All in all, the conference was a whirlwind of creative activity that made a meaningful impact on its participants. To keep up with Creative Works and upcoming events, visit their website:


Overton Park Launches Pedestrian Safety Campaign

Students Baleigh Kuhar, Oziel Juarez, and Esme Perkins Cross Safely with Director of Student Life and MCA Alumnus Nick Darmstaedter

Overton Park is getting serious about pedestrian safety. The first phase of a new pedestrian safety campaign launched this week.

A large banner at the corner of Poplar and Tucker—an intersection where Memphis College of Art students and park patrons regularly cross six lanes of traffic—carries the “Be Aware” messaging launched by the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) earlier this year. Sandwich board signs with campaign messaging have been placed at all four corners of the intersection, as well as on interior park roads, reminding drivers to yield to pedestrians and advising pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings.

All six park institutions—Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Levitt Shell, Memphis College of Art, The Links at Overton Park, Memphis Zoo, and Overton Park Conservancy—have signed on to a campaign to increase pedestrian safety in and around Overton Park.

And Memphis College of Art students will have a bigger part to play in the coming months. Animation student Esme Perkins is creating a pedestrian safety video that will be shown throughout the park, including on the Levitt Shell screens. Graphic Design student Oziel Juarez will be creating new signage for the second phase of Overton Park’s Pedestrian Safety Campaign. His designs will be seen throughout the park and along Poplar Avenue.

“We are excited to partner with the Conservancy for this important campaign,” says Laura Hine, Interim President at Memphis College of Art. “As a college located in the heart of Overton Park, we are committed to the safety of our students. Raising awareness to ensure greater safety for our MCA community is a top priority for us, and we look forward to supporting this campaign’s endeavors.”

“Since we began managing the park in 2012, the Conservancy has been focusing on improving access to the park for people on foot, on bikes, and in wheelchairs,” says Tina Sullivan, Executive Director of Overton Park Conservancy. “The goal of this campaign is to remind everyone that the streets surrounding Overton Park have heavy pedestrian traffic and should be considered a safety zone, where extra care is warranted.”

Mayor Jim Strickland also supports the campaign: “The safety of every single person who uses our streets is important to me and my administration. I encourage every driver to increase their awareness of pedestrians in this important part of our city.”

The Be Aware messages are an application of the global Vision Zero campaign, which seeks to eliminate 100% of pedestrian fatalities while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. The Medical District launched Memphis’ first Vision Zero campaign earlier this year, inviting drivers and pedestrians to sign a pledge at MMDC generously agreed to share campaign materials with the Overton Park institutions, helping carry forward the awareness of pedestrian safety to another area of the city where pedestrians and automobiles interact heavily.

Overton Park’s Be Aware campaign follows improvements to the Poplar and Tucker intersection made earlier this year by the City of Memphis. Countdown clocks for pedestrians were installed, and crosswalks were re-striped with high-visibility paint. Pedestrians who use the push-button feature at the crosswalks also get a protected period to cross Poplar before traffic lights turn green.

Support for the enhancements to pedestrian safety at this intersection came from an ioby campaign created by Overton Park Conservancy last summer. With matching support by ioby and Transit Center, a New York City-based foundation focusing on improved mobility in cities, the Conservancy raised funds to make this high-traffic intersection safer for pedestrians.

The park institutions encourage drivers and pedestrians to sign the awareness pledge at

Memphis College of Art does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other status protected by law. Additional Information