Last updated on May 18th, 2022 at 02:16 pm
The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design has gone public with a $10 million fundraising campaign, the college’s first such multi-million effort in 20 years.
Co-chaired by Madeleine Kelly Lubar, Sarah Zimmerman and Bob Mikulay, the campaign has been in a quiet phase since 2019 and has raised $7.3 million so far.
“A $10 million campaign for us, being as scrappy as we are, is going to have profound changes,” said Jeff Morin, president of MIAD.
Morin described the process of fundraising amidst a global pandemic as both “amazingly challenging and amazingly rewarding.”
He said once people became comfortable with platforms like Zoom, potential donors were happy to take MIAD’s calls. It also provided an opportunity to update previous supporters on how the college was navigating the pandemic.
“It was effective,” Morin said. “It has gotten us to the point where we can go public today.”
The campaign is focused on supporting investments in people, programs and place, Morin said.
During the campaign, MIAD has completed the renovation of its fourth floor, including two hands-on workspaces that now will be named the Lubar Centers for Innovation and Emerging Technology.
Funds from the campaign will also go toward providing scholarships and expanding access, innovating MIAD’s curriculum to build capacity in technology and innovation while also making it more inclusive and engaging, and completing the buildout of the campus, located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.
MIAD is planning renovations to the lobby of its Jane Bradley Pettit building this summer that will include connections to the community space completed last year and the buildout of an admissions center. Morin said there are plans for additional updates in the future, including to the college’s café.
MIAD’s 2022 graduating class is its largest ever at 190 students and a majority have secured jobs with major local employers like Milwaukee Tool, Kohl’s, Inpro, Enerpac, RINKA+, Generac, and many others.
“I think if you talk to the average person on the street, they would not think that we provide as much of that creative pipeline as we do to the broad breadth of businesses that we partner with and serve,” Morin said.
He pointed out around a quarter of MIAD students are in fine arts field while three-quarters are studying in design fields. While many in the public may think of the former, a group that is successful on both the regional and national levels, it is the latter supplying creative talent into the metro Milwaukee business community.
Morin said when students arrive on campus their top five concerns are generally focused on their career potential.
“We’re not immune to what is happening on the national level with people wondering about the value of education, so we have to make sure, make certain that we are aware of that desire,” he said. “We have to deliver on a promise of getting our students into their profession as quickly as possible.”
Part of the challenge is the proliferation of YouTube video and other online tutorials where someone can learn how to use various design tools.
“You have to wonder how much room in there is there for failing, learning from the failures, building upon the failures, continuing to re-iterate. A tutorial might show you how to do something, but it may not necessarily be the best way to learn why, or the best way to learn the success or failure of a particular solution, and that’s something that happens pretty easily in the classroom,” Morin said.