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Profiles
form that whole creative process is challenging. If you don't have those
basic skills, you won't be successful."
In addition to the variety of course offerings, the location where Art
and Graphic Design classes are taught has changed, too. "For many
years, all our courses were only available in Bedford. Now, we offer
courses in Lowell."
Swan also likes to ensure students have an outlet to exhibit their
work. Student projects are displayed in cases that line the hallways of
Henderson Hall on the Bedford campus. And an annual spring Juried
Student Art Show is held at Lowell Telecommunications Corp. (LTC).
"It's good for students to see their work hung in an outside venue,"
said Swan. "They come with their families and friends to the openings,
and their efforts and achievements are celebrated. People take
them seriously as artists sometimes for the first time."
Kathy Register
Art & Graphic Design
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Keeping Up with Changes While Never Losing Sight of the Basics
W
hen Margaret Swan, founding Art Department Chairwoman,
came to Middlesex in the early 1980s, she was the only full-time
art faculty member. Since then Swan, a sculptor, has shaped and molded
the department into a thriving and vital part of the Humanities Division.
"There were just a handful of art classes offered when I first came.
I fashioned the Studio Art program into a foundational program for
students who wanted to attend a four-year art school. They could come
here and build a great portfolio, complete their academic requirements,
figure out what they wanted to study, and transfer."
And many students have transferred to local design schools, such as
Massachusetts College of Art & Design, as well as prestigious programs
in New York and California.
Then, as computers began to play a greater role in the art and design
world, the department expanded. "Once we added our Graphic Design
programs in 1996, things really took off."
Today, approximately 200 Studio Art and Graphic Design students are
taught annually by nearly 25 faculty, who are all, like Swan, practicing
artists or professionals in their fields. "Our Graphic Design program is
especially strong. Our graduates can get jobs right away and many do,
even though we encourage them to earn a four-year degree."
That ability to recognize changes in the field, and tailor programs and
courses to meet them without losing sight of the basics is what
makes MCC's art and design programs so successful, said Swan.
"We are always coming up with new ways for students to see and learn
new things in our classes, but the basics don't change. Good design,
color principles, strong conceptual skills you still need those basics."
One of the hardest things for beginning students to grasp, according to
Swan, is conceptualizing an idea and taking it to completion. "How to
come up with a fully developed finished project from sketches to final
"We are always coming up with new ways for
students to see and learn new things in our classes
at Middlesex, but the basics don't change. Good
design, color principles, strong conceptual
skills you still need those basics."
Margaret Swan
Art Department Chairwoman
Always aware of teaching the basics of good design, Margaret Swan, Art
Department Chairwoman, works with a student in her "Color & Design" class.
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