Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

MIAD Overhauling Campus Center

Planning to improve campus center, expand scholarships and grow its student body.

By - Jul 6th, 2022 02:39 pm
MIAD reception center. Rendering by RINKA.

MIAD reception center. Rendering by RINKA.

As part of a $10 million fundraising campaign, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) is working to improve its campus center, expand its scholarship offerings and grow its student body.

“We were busy during [the COVID-19 pandemic] and now we are going public with many of those things,” said Stacey Steinberg, MIAD’s executive director of marketing & communication in an interview.

Visitors to the college, including prospective students, will notice a series of changes to the Jane Bradley Pettit Building, 273 E. Erie St.

Last year, a portion of the fourth floor was reconfigured into a home for the Lubar Centers for Innovation and Emerging Technology. Students work directly with outside companies on paid projects in the space. The first floor also gained a flexible gallery space to host a rotating series of community events and student exhibitions.

“We really want MIAD to feel like it’s the creative hub,” said Steinberg.

Now, the main entrance is being reconfigured from a security desk and hallway into a admissions and welcome center.

“It kind of generates the feeling of ‘this is the place for me’,” said Steinberg of attracting new students and community partners. Multiple people affiliated with MIAD discussed with Urban Milwaukee the bustling, creative nature of the work going on in the building, but how the entryway long undersold or actively hide that activity.

MIAD is working to grow its people and programs alongside its place. The university has raised more than $7 million towards the effort to date.

The four-year college is working to grow its 900-member student body, and is already outpacing the five-year plan included in the campaign. MIAD just celebrated a record graduating class (approximately 190 students) this spring and is charting a plan for growth through both local and out-of-state student attraction.

Sixty-three percent of the Wisconsin students at the school are first-generation college students and 18% are of Hispanic descent, said Steinberg. Like Marquette University and others, MIAD is working towards a 25% Hispanic student body and the federal Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation that comes with it.

Part of growing the student body, said Steinberg, is maintaining strong art and design programs, while the college is also expanding its scholarship offerings and quickly growing a pre-college education and internship program. Targeted at high school students, MIAD launched its design internship program in 2021 with a single employer, Hanson Dodge. This year, with five partners, MIAD drew 85 applicants for 45 slots. The year-long program is specifically targeted at exposing underrepresented populations to careers in art and design, with transportation provided to the employer and to the school for class.

MIAD is also working to diversify its teaching staff. It’s the first of the 39-member Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design to launch a fellowship program designed to provide teaching experience for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) professionals.

The college’s growth is expected to have a ripple effect locally. “About eight out of 10 students stay in Milwaukee for their first job,” said Steinberg.

MIAD hired RINKA to design the new space, with Greenfire Management Services performing the construction work.



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