MCA Graduate Programs May Return to Overton Park

Memphis College of Art has launched an exploration into the idea of bringing their graduate programs back to the Overton Park campus. MCA’s graduate Art Education and MFA programs are currently housed in the Nesin Graduate School, 477 S. Main St.

Over the past year, MCA has been engaged in a large-scale institutional review, which extended to the graduate programs. “As we studied the issue, we were convinced that the graduate student experience would vastly improve by returning to the main campus,” said MCA President Ron Jones. “Moving the graduate programs to the main campus allows for a more participatory experience for graduate students, increasing opportunities with faculty and visiting artists, and providing better access to student support offices and art-making facilities such as the sculpture, ceramics and printmaking studios.”

MCA currently owns several residential properties adjacent to the Overton Park campus, which could be converted into graduate studios. “The faculty have had an opportunity to see the properties, and they have told us that these buildings are much better suited for use as studios than the space the graduate students currently occupy,” said Jones. “The college has applied for those properties to be re-zoned for campus use and we await the decision of the Planning and Zoning Committee, but we also need to formulate a plan for the graduate school building.”

To that end, MCA has engaged Artspace Consulting Services (ACS), the nation’s leader in arts-related property development and asset management, to assist in determining possible future uses for the property, which sits across from the National Civil Rights Museum at South Main and Butler Avenue in the burgeoning downtown arts district.  As part of their community surveying for this project, ACS will host three public meetings in mid-September at 477 S. Main so that members of the local arts community, downtown residents and businesses, and others can have an opportunity to share their ideas for the future of the graduate school. The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, September 16 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 17 at 8:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, September 17 at 12:30 p.m.

Members of the public interested in attending one of these meetings may RSVP to http://bit.ly/1PqezEW. RSVPs to attend are recommended, but not required.

"Artspace has a deep affinity for Memphis, in particular in the South Main neighborhood as demonstrated by the development of the South Main Artspace Lofts project. We're honored to have the chance to assist Memphis College of Art with this project," said Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice President, Consulting & Strategic Partnerships. “We're looking forward to some really great discussions with the people of Memphis about how this unique building can continue to add real value to the district while fully realizing its potential as an active space for creativity and the arts."

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