MCA News

President Laura Hine Welcomes the MCA Community Back for Fall

Dear MCA Community,

Welcome back to Memphis College of Art for the fall semester! The solar eclipse occurring on the first day of classes August 21 provides an exciting marker for the start of this academic year.

Our faculty, staff, alumni, and students have been busy this summer with internships, exhibitions, and awards. Also this summer, we received a technology grant from ArtsMemphis to support UX/UI learning. Horn Island 33 had a record number of participants. We begin the first year of the MCA Tuition Guarantee, which freezes tuition at current levels for all students. We are now able to recognize our animation students by showing their work across campus on our digital screens. Our Summer Art Camp had an outstanding year, and Summer Academy for rising high school students returned with great success.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Warren “Bud” Richey, our new VP of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Bud most recently held the Associate VP of External Programs position at Rhodes College, where he served in a variety of capacities over the last 14 years and was often referred to as the “Jobfather” for his support of student job searches. Prior to Rhodes, Bud served as the Associate Dean of Students at U of M, and Associate Dean of Students and Director of Orientation at LSU. In 2016, Bud received the cityCURRENT Spark Award for “Leader of the Year” in Education. Bud’s first day at MCA will be August 14.

We are fortunate to be in an institution that values creativity, both in and out of the classroom. I hope that each member of our community has a pleasant and rewarding start to fall, and look forward to seeing each of you around campus.

Laura Hine, President

Disconnect/Reconnect: Horn Island 33

Disconnect/Reconnect: Horn Island 33

Explore. Discover. Create. MCA’s Horn Island is more than a trip. It’s a tradition.

This unique, signature program sets MCA apart from any other college. For more than thirty years, students have followed in the footsteps of American artist Walter Anderson to Horn Island, a remote barrier island off of the coast of Mississippi. Participants leave cell phones, bathrooms, and expectations behind.

It sounds daunting, but, as alumnus Casey Matthews said in a recent Country Roads article, “It’s taking yourself out of the mundane day-to-day activities and placing yourself in this different situation where you’re subject to a higher power—in this case nature. The island is more relevant today than it’s ever been. Because we’re so connected to everything.”

The experience of disconnecting and getting back to nature reflects the unique philosophy of MCA: Challenge leads to creativity and triumph.

Associate Professor and Horn Island Director Don DuMont explains why unplugging is key: “One must disconnect in order to reconnect. That is what the island can provide – the chance to get away, to look inward as well as outward, and to focus on one’s surroundings. That’s when creative transformation takes place.”

Horn Island isn’t a vacation. It’s an artistic journey. This year, over 40 participants made the 11-day excursion, immersing themselves in the isolation and beauty of the island.

Horn Island is open to students (supported by sponsors), alumni, faculty, and staff. Following the trip, participants create works of art inspired by their experience on the island. Those works culminate in a popular and beloved yearly exhibition, celebrated this year as “Horn Island 33” for its thirty-third installment.

Select Horn Island works from previous years are exhibited at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi through August 22. The exhibition brochure for “The Islanders: Memphis College of Art and Horn Island” has quotes and images from our artists.

Horn Island 33 opens in Rust Hall’s Upper, Lower and Alumni Galleries on August 14 and runs until September 29. The Horn Island 33 Reception, held on Saturday, August 26 from 5:30-8:30pm, features grilled SPAM, an island tradition.The reception is free and open to the public. Artwork will be on sale while the exhibit is on view, and remaining artworks will be listed on from October 9 to October 30. Visit for more details.

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