Founded by working creative professionals, Montserrat College of Art provides an individualized education focused on maximizing the professional and personal success of each student. Structured around experiential learning, studio practice, liberal arts, and professional preparation, the mission of the college ensures that its graduates leave equipped with the competence, confidence, and habits of mind to build lives of creative enterprise and community engagement. Montserrat recognizes its role as an economic driver and cultural leader in the region.
Our individual and collective work as an independent institution of higher education is informed and guided by the following values:
- The practice of art, design, research, and creative enterprise has intrinsic value.
- Teaching, learning, and service are central to who we are.
- Individuality, creativity, expression, and experimentation are respected and encouraged.
- Accountability and integrity are essential to sustain creativity and shared community.
- We thrive on diversity of people, ideas, and approaches.
Montserrat College of Art will be known for:
- Its interdisciplinary, experiential, individualized, and innovative education focused on the personal and professional development of passionate, hard-working, ambitious, and creative students of all ages;
- Its advocacy for the arts, design, and creative enterprise;
- Its diversity, openness, access, and equity in all that we do; and
- Its service to our community, the region, and the world.
The creation of this plan comes at a unique time — at the beginning of Montserrat’s 50th anniversary. It is an ideal time for the college to celebrate the past, especially those things that helped lead to our successful, exciting present. At its center, this Strategic Plan is a time for us to think about the future.
The diversity of people and ideas coming to college is growing. The interests students bring to Montserrat–and the skills needed in the world they live in–are changing very rapidly, and our students are learning as much from the world around them as they do in class. In recent years, creativity as an economic driver has become more widely recognized; recent data from the Barr Foundation shows that, collectively, people in New England working in the Creative Economy earn more than $17 billion per year and more than $386 billion nationally. Creative problem-solving is now considered a vital skill and is sought by employers in nearly every industry. Today’s changing workplace supports the innovative work that has been happening at art colleges for decades.
Montserrat is one of only five stand-alone independent art colleges with an enrollment under 400 and the only one of those outside of an urban area. This plan reflects the community’s desire for the college to fully embrace our differentiators: our agility and willingness to embrace change; our ability to recognize, support and celebrate the creative aspirations of each individual student; and the passion and dedication that faculty, staff, alumni, and students bring to our campus each day. Rather than striving to emulate our competitors, we should take risks and build on our ability to know each individual and the type of work they do, to connect people across disciplines and media, and to connect our creative students with the thriving creative economy of the North Shore and beyond. This plan builds on those things that only a school of this size and scale and place can accomplish.
The goals articulated in the Strategic Plan will serve as the framework from which annual tactical plans will be constructed by staff and faculty, as they relate to their specific areas of purview. Working to achieve these goals will ultimately make Montserrat an even better place to learn and work, and a better hub of creativity.
New Territories in Art and Design Education
The goals, needs, skills, and aspirations of Montserrat students are changing–and will continue to change–alongside evolving technology and education models. Preparing our increasingly interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial students (40% of recent grads indicate they have worked in their own business within 5 years of graduation) for careers that are more collaborative, require more self-reliance, and need people who are able to adapt to and understand new technologies will mean charting new territories in our academic frontier.
While Montserrat began as a fine arts institution and continues to offer fine arts training, the trend in the past decade has been for more students to declare concentrations in visual communication and design fields; 75% of the class of 2020 has declared Illustration, Animation, or Graphic Design as concentrations. The fine arts will always play a central role in our Foundation program and remain a vital part of our educational DNA. As we develop more areas of study in technology-driven fields, we will have to ensure that we have the right faculty and vision to stay relevant within fine arts, craft, and design. Our size gives us the unique benefit of more cross-departmental relationships, closer classroom geography, and allows us to see how these all overlap and inform each other. For Montserrat “New Territories in Art in Design Education,” will be as much about how we teach and learn as it will be about what we teach and learn.
- With the recognition that makers are increasingly more transdisciplinary and transmedia, we will create an academic structure that is more relevant to the makers of the future. Begin a process to break down the barriers that separate the college’s academic areas by 1.) moving away from concentrations as our internal organizing principle and 2.) removing the distinctions between fine art-making, design, and craft within our curriculum and our studio spaces.
- Expand the college’s curricular and degree offerings by developing new areas of academic focus related to the intersection of art, design, storytelling, and technology to prepare our graduates for careers of the future; increase external opportunities for students in both our undergraduate and auxiliary programs. As we begin to hire the third-generation of full-time faculty, this goal will require that their skills match the needs of the new curriculum.
- Increase opportunities for students to exercise individual agency and collaboration in and out of the classroom; acknowledge and celebrate self-advocacy as a graduation outcome.
Diversity, Inclusion and Expansion
Montserrat students represent an incredible mix of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, diversity in gender identities and presentation, variety in their individual pathways to college, as well as diversity in family education backgrounds. This diversity in all its forms is an educational asset that fills our classrooms, studio spaces, and residence halls with an extraordinary breadth of life experiences, perspectives, and means of expression. As we look to the future, a commitment to expanded diversity in our internal community — staff, faculty, students, and board of trustees — is vital. The impending drop-off in high school and college-aged individuals in our immediate geographic region will require a more intentional expansion into new recruitment territories both domestically and abroad; Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire will all see declines ranging from 3% to 14% in overall high school graduates over the next decade. At the same time, the demographic make-up of those graduates becomes increasing non-white. Montserrat’s continued commitment to diversity and inclusion will necessitate new kinds of supports to ensure the success of all of our community members.
- Through a combination of curated artists and designers in residence, guest lecturers and critics, workshops and gallery programs, begin to build a broader diversity footprint.
- Continue to grow Montserrat’s overall enrollment by expanding recruitment efforts in new domestic and international markets, and ensure Montserrat’s on-campus resources, exhibitions, clubs, and activities better support and represent all forms of diversity in view of our evolving student body; provide the required support to evaluate the needs and success of minoritized students.
- Implement a recruiting and hiring action plan for expanding the diversity among our faculty, staff, and trustees that takes into consideration the demographics of our immediate region, the cost of relocation to Beverly, and the need to expand the worldviews of our community.
- Support faculty in assessing issues of representation and inclusion within their curricula.
Educational research clearly shows that students more engaged in their overall college life are more likely to be successful — higher grades and better retention and graduation rates. These lead to better post-graduation outcomes. The same notion is true for faculty and staff; more engagement leads to more success and satisfaction at work. An institutional commitment to community involvement–both internal and external–will establish a deeper culture of service and support at Montserrat: service to one another as colleagues and fellow creatives; support of our students as mentors and professional resources; and service to our greater creative community as cultural leaders.
- Create the time, space, and institutional culture for Montserrat’s internal community to come together on a more regular basis to meaningfully engage with one another and celebrate the creativity that attracted all of us — faculty, staff, alumni and students — to Montserrat as our place of work and learning.
- Develop and implement a system of outreach, programming, and support for our alumni that keeps them connected to and integrated with our community and provides continued professional development in a clear and accessible way. Begin to build a culture of alumni giving through both mentorship and/or financial gifts.
- Extend Montserrat’s external outreach by becoming the leading cultural hub of the North Shore, more effectively connecting faculty and students to our external creative partners, and forming new partnerships and donor relationships both nationally and internationally that will enhance our visibility and provide new pathways toward financial stability. We know that nationally, the arts generate more than $800 billion per year and that a focus on external connections will help everyone.
Montserrat’s size is one of our clear differentiators (Small by Design) and one of our greatest strengths as an institution. It allows us to build close bonds with one another and recognize the power of each individual to effect change. It also means that each individual plays an important role in the college’s overall success. Our small scale does not exclude us from external market pressures, however, and it is necessary to re-assess and fortify existing compensation and support structures for both faculty and staff. To meet the demands of a competitive educational market and to encourage long-term retention of new faculty and staff, Montserrat is committed to supporting ongoing professional development and participation in research, scholarship and creative practice.
- Reassess the models currently in place for compensation that take into account job performance, service to the college, and the market; improve those models over the next three years.
- Commit to fostering the lifelong learning of students, staff, faculty, and alumni by developing a more robust system for academic advisement and mentorship, increasing professional development offerings college-wide, and providing continued academic opportunities to alumni.
- Ensure that there is adequate personnel in each staffing area to meet operational goals and to achieve an improved work-life balance across the board; develop a system of contingency and succession planning, and cross-training.
As we find ourselves immersed in Montserrat’s studios, classrooms, galleries, and offices each day, we’re reminded of what makes our campus unique: we’re intertwined with a burgeoning downtown arts district; we embrace both interdisciplinarity and multifunctionality in the layout of our studios and classrooms; and we’ve invested significantly in new technology in recent years, evidenced by the debut and use of the Digital Fabrication Lab. As we consider what tomorrow’s students will need from our spaces in the context of their curricular interests, housing needs, and social interactivity — as well as how we present ourselves to our immediate community and to the broader world — it becomes clear that we need to invest in concrete goals related to assessing, expanding, and better caring for our physical and virtual footprints.
- Currently, 51% of housing and 61% of academic and administrative spaces are owned by the college. To ensure Montserrat’s ability to grow and expand as real estate prices climb, we will assess the college’s long-term and short-term use of properties with the goal of owning more and having more leases under long-term contracts.
- Launch our first comprehensive campaign to support endowment growth, institutional financial aid, and physical needs of the campus.
- Showcase our institutional identity, our dedication to student and staff morale, our understanding of design, and our commitment to strong curb-appeal through our facilities.
- Create common gathering spaces for social community engagement (staff, faculty, students, and outside partners), as well as open studios for communal making after-hours that are open to students, staff, and faculty, with the intention of building a stronger studio culture at Montserrat.
- Create a more sophisticated and contemporary virtual footprint for the college by expanding our video and live streaming presence to 1.) enhance the internal academic experience of our students and 2.) tell our stories more effectively to our external audiences.
Our small staff and faculty accomplish an extraordinary amount each day, but the nature of our workflow means that we risk prioritizing the most immediate needs of our respective areas to the detriment of the long view. By committing to carving out the time and space for more proactive planning across all areas of Montserrat — from course grids to budgets — we will be better equipped to face the future challenges and opportunities that await us with greater intention and consensus.
- Set a multi-year budget, grant-funded project wishlist, college events calendar, and course grid in which we proactively schedule, prioritize expenditures, and set priorities. Set a “hard” one-year plan, plus a rolling three-year plan to this end.
- Optimize data collection, record-keeping, and interpersonal communication through a college-wide audit of how the various stakeholders use databases, emails, social media, video, digital signage, and meetings, with the goal of increasing overall efficiency and improving communication flow.
- Establish an institutional culture of using data-driven assessments at regular intervals to improve current programs, operations, and future planning.
Montserrat was born in the late sixties, a time when people were questioning the status quo and seeking new solutions. A group of artists who were working and teaching in the Boston area had a bold idea: to create a new kind of art school in Massachusetts for professional education in the visual arts – a school that would not only focus on the arts, but would also focus on the individual needs of each student. A simple idea, but one that had seldom been attempted and rarely achieved. Foregoing the security – but also the limitations – that traditional institutions offered, these artists labored to breathe life into their idea.
In the early years, Montserrat School of Visual Arts, as it was then called, offered a professional diploma in the same studio concentrations for which it is known today. By the 1980s, this still-young Massachusetts art school was accredited and granted the authority to award the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. With that milestone came a new name: Montserrat College of Art.
By 1990, Montserrat had outgrown its original facility and moved to historic downtown Beverly, Massachusetts, into the Hardie Building, a newly renovated, nineteenth century building with expanded teaching facilities. Steadily, the art college acquired residence halls and the Cabot Studio Building, establishing a vibrant and eclectic seaside Massachusetts campus.
Today, the dream of those artists back in the sixties is a reality. Just as they had hoped, creativity flows at Montserrat College of Art. Students are drawn by the intensive studio environment and one-on-one instruction from our faculty of accomplished artists, designers, and scholars. At Montserrat art school you will find a place of inspiration, respect, and encouragement, where you can develop your talents and achieve your vision of the future.
To learn more about the college’s history, watch this video produced by alumni Mel Powsner ’17 and Dino Rowan ’16 from their class with Professor Ethan Berry.
Inquiries regarding the accreditation status of art schools in Massachusetts by the New England Association should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
209 Burlington Road
Bedford, MA 01730-1433
- Henrietta Gates, Chair
- Kent Wosepka, Vice Chair
Adjunct Prof. of Finance
- Richard O’Connor, Treasurer
Johnson O’Connor Feron & Carucci LLP,
- Heidi Z. Adam, Vice Chair of Advancement
- John Sutyak, Secretary
EVP, Digital Development Management
- Briel DiDonato ’20
Minor: Creative Writing Beverly, MA
- Mercedes Sherrod Evans
Chief Development Officer (Retired)
Massachusetts College of Art & Design
- Scott Glosserman
- Jeff Hamilton
- Bonnie Williams Henry
Founder and President
DKH Business Advisors
- Mark Hoffmann
Faculty Rep., Assoc. Professor, Chair
Visual Communication & Design
Montserrat College of Art,
- Dr. Timothy M. Johnson
Head of School
South Hamilton, MA
- Chris Koeplin
- Alex Lamb
New Summit Investments
LLC Manchester, MA
- Tyson J. Lynch, Esq.
Barrett & Company
- January Gill O’Neil
Massachusetts Poetry Festival
- Rachel Perry
Gloucester, MA and Brooklyn, NY
- Judy Schmid
Graphic Designer / Artist
- Barbara Schaye
- Alyssa Watters ’07
Art by Alyssa
- Meg White
- Richard Yagjian
Executive Vice President
WB Hunt Company
Stephen C. Archer
Lee Essex Doyle
R. Hilliard Ebling
Kimberly Smith Guerster
Marcia G. Strouss
President of Montserrat College of Art
Dr. Kurt T. Steinberg, Ed.D. is the 8th President of Montserrat College of Art. He began his tenure at the college on July 1, 2018 after 12 years as Executive Vice President and one year as Acting President at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
An authority in collegiate operations, Dr. Steinberg has delivered guest lectures on higher education finance, urban planning, and the Massachusetts political process at Suffolk University, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and many professional higher education conferences.
He has served on and chaired accreditation teams for the New England Commission of Higher Education (N.E.C.H.E.), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (N.A.S.A.D.), National Association of Schools of Music (N.A.S.M.), and the National Association of Schools of Dance (N.A.S.D.). He was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce in the fall of 2018.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. He earned his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University.
A resident of Framingham, MA, Dr. Steinberg is an Honorary Trustee of the Danforth Art Alliance after serving as Trustee of the Danforth Museum and School. He was an elected member of the Framingham Town Meeting and later chair of the Town Finance Committee. Dr. Steinberg is married to Sarah Steinberg, a graduate of the Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts and an artist-educator with the Wellesley Public Schools. Mrs. Steinberg maintains a studio practice at Saxonville Mills in Framingham. The Steinbergs have two sons, one of whom attends Framingham High School and the other the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
At Montserrat, you can discover what it means to be an artist, designer and artist-educator and lay the groundwork for a life rich in meaning, fulfillment, creative expression, and career opportunity. Through the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program, you will follow a path of bold exploration guided by dedicated and highly accomplished faculty. The people you encounter will ignite your creativity and inspire ambitious work. Along the way, you will build a framework for professional and personal success in a place that feels like home, where your peers are immersed in their art 24-7.
We are an accepting community who celebrates difference. We encourage you to embrace your passion. We help you design your future, sharpen your vision, and show you that anything is possible.
We are a small college with a global reach. This can be seen in our courses of study and our close proximity to a major hub of art and design in the world, Boston. We also encourage you to think globally with access to challenging internship opportunities and international study programs, which are shining jewels of the college’s programming.
If you want to realize a productive and fulfilling creative life, Montserrat College of Art can help you….you bring the passion and energy and we will help you imagine and accomplish the impossible. We can’t wait to welcome to you!
Kurt T. Steinberg Ed.D
Dean of College Relations and Special Assistant to the President
Director of Development
Director of Admissions
Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs
Dean of Students
Executive Assistant to the President
Financial information about Montserrat College of Art is available by contacting the business office for an appointment during normal office hours, 9-5 p.m.
Cara Callanan, Chief Financial Officer
978-921-4242 x 1175
Fall 2019 Montserrat College of Art Enrollment Overview & Institutional Information
First-Time Freshmen – 28%
Transfer Students – 6%
Returning Students – 66%
Massachusetts – 44%
Other New England – 28%
Outside New England – 27%
International – 1%
Gender (as per IPEDS Guidelines)
Female – 75%
Male – 25%
Race/Ethnicity (as per IPEDS Guidelines)
American Indian or Alaska Native – 0%
Asian – 2%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic – 3%
Hispanic – 9%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander – 0%
Non-Resident Alien – 1%
White, non-Hispanic – 37%
Two or More Races – 2%
Race and Ethnicity Unknown – 46%
Pell Grant Recipients
All Undergraduate, Degree-Seeking Students, Fall 2019 – 38%
Retention & Graduation Rates for First-Time Freshmen
Per Federal standards, statistics for retention and graduation are tracked only for first-time freshmen.
Graduation rates are tracked in 6 year increments, allowing for students to complete their studies
within 1.5 times of program length.
According to the data from the National Center for Education Statistics:
The National Average for First-to-Second Year Retention was 75%
The National Average for 6-Year Graduation was 59%
Montserrat College of Art First-to-Second Year Retention for First Time Freshman:
Entry Fall 2006 – 77%
Entry Fall 2007 – 78%
Entry Fall 2008 – 75%
Entry Fall 2009 – 68%
Entry Fall 2010 – 79%
Entry Fall 2011 – 68%
Entry Fall 2012 – 70%
Entry Fall 2013 – 77%
Entry Fall 2014 – 76%
Entry Fall 2015 – 79%
Entry Fall 2016 – 81%
Entry Fall 2017 – 82%
Entry Fall 2018 – 71%
Montserrat College of Art 6-Year Graduation Average for First Time Freshman:
Entry Fall 2006 – 54%
Entry Fall 2007 – 60%
Entry Fall 2008 – 56%
Entry Fall 2009 – 50%
Entry Fall 2010 – 60%
Entry Fall 2011 – 57%
Entry Fall 2012 – 55%
Entry Fall 2013 – 58%
Student Debt Load
The following are the debt load numbers for Montserrat students who graduated in May 2013.
|2013 Graduates||National Average||Montserrat Average|
|Federal Loan Debt||$26,000||$25,521|
|Alternative Loan Debt||$19,000||$25,378|
|% of Students with Federal Loan Debt||56%||90%|
|% of Students with Alternative Loan Debt||22%||33%|
National averages are based on a study of Recent College Graduates Report by Fidelity Investments, 2013.
The human resources office has been designated to handle inquiries regarding Montserrat College of Art non-discrimination policies. Inquiries concerning the application of non-discrimination policies may also be referred to:
Regional Director, Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor
Boston, MA 02109
Montserrat’s fall 2017 undergraduate enrollment is approximately 360 students. A faculty and administration of approximately 100 people, both part-time and full-time, serve these students. The budget for the college this academic year is just over $10million. Using a standard multiplier of 2.5, the College has an economic impact of more than $25 million.
Approximately 96% of the college’s students and 57% of its faculty and administration reside on the North Shore. In addition, 85% of the college’s 250 Continuing Education students also reside in North Shore communities. The approximate combined economic impact of the faculty, administration, visitors and continuing education students is an additional half million dollars.
The college owns or leases 19 buildings, 13 of which are student residences. Within the college-provided residences there are 47 apartments accommodating approximately 277 students or about 77% of Montserrat’s undergraduate student population.
Of the remaining undergraduate students, approximately half live in rental apartments in Beverly and the remaining half rent apartments in other neighboring communities or commute from home to the college.
In addition to student residences, Montserrat owns three buildings used for offices, classrooms and studios. The largest are the Hardie Building at 23 Essex St., which also includes the Montserrat Gallery, and our rented large academic space at 248 Cabot St.
The college paid mark than$680,000 last year in rent and real estate taxes to Beverly landlords and the city.
Buy Beverly First
From accounts payable records, Montserrat spent approximately $1.5 million with local Beverly businesses last fiscal year and an additional $500,000 at North Shore businesses beyond Beverly.
Student Financial Aid
Like students at most colleges and universities, Montserrat students are supported by financial aid to help to pay for their educational expenses. At Montserrat, approximately 98% of our students receive some form of grant or financial assistance. This year, Montserrat will directly provide more than $4.5 million to its students in institutional grants and aid, and will pay students more than $150,000 for jobs they work on campus.
Of the more than 2,000 alumni who have attended or graduated from the college more than 500 have chosen to remain on the North Shore and more than 1,000 reside in work in Massachusetts, contributing to our growing creative economy.
Montserrat supports the community in a variety of ways including:
- As part of our PILOT agreement with the city, contributing $15,000 annually toward the upkeep of the Beverly Common.
- Offering scholarships each year for qualified Beverly residents to attend the college if they are accepted through the regular admissions process. This year, Montserrat awarded $80,380 year in aid to Beverly students enrolled through this special scholarship.
- Sending Montserrat faculty into the AP classes at Beverly High School each year to assist the high school art teachers to expand their offerings to the high school art students.
- Providing interns through our required junior-year internship program to area businesses. (Since 2006, the college has provided more than 500 interns to businesses as varied as science text book publishers, filmmakers, Disney, Hasbro, Nickelodeon, design firms , local entrepreneurs, to individual artists looking for apprentices.)
- Donating tuition vouchers to Continuing Education programs to local non-profits and community groups to use in their fundraising and to enrich the cultural offerings of the city.
- Taking over the lead partnership of the Creative Economy Association of the North Shore to assist the City and region to increase and recognize job opportunities in creative fields.
- Offering nearly 50 free public lectures and opportunities to interact with international, national and regional contemporary artists during public programming on and off-campus.
- Partnering with other non-profit organizations such as the North Shore YMCA, Express Yourself and Beverly Bootstraps and others.
- Montserrat staff/faculty and students volunteering in many capacities in the City including Beverly Rotary, Beverly Main Streets, the Beverly Cultural Council, Beverly Arts Fest Committee, Beverly’s New Year’s Committee, Beverly Bootstraps and others.