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2023 MIAD Wrapped

2023 at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) was a year of opportunity and growth for students, faculty and staff. From closing a $10 million campaign to opening the new MIAD Gallery at The Ave to hosting a series of groundbreaking exhibitions, MIAD celebrates the achievements of its community and looks forward to another exceptional year in 2024.

An exterior photo of MIAD's entrance

Academic Achievement

In 2023, MIAD’s Communication Design and Illustration programs were honored nationally. The Animation Career Review named MIAD the #1 Graphic Design School in Wisconsin. It also honored MIAD’s new Animation Track as the top in the state, and ranked MIAD’s Illustration program among the top ten in the Midwest.

In fall 2023, MIAD’s first Fashion and Apparel Design students declared their majors. Three of these students were interviewed about their interest in the program.

MIAD welcomed several new full-time faculty to the college in fall 2023, including: Anna Hillary, Sarah Eichhorn, Morgan Bouldes, Kristina Meneghini, Laura Farahzad Mayer, Peter Barrickman and Leah Good.

Students got out of the classroom to enjoy some local field trips! Product Design juniors visited Walkers Point Tattoo Co. for a project integrating a prosthetic arm with a tattoo machine (no Product Design students were tattooed during the visit). First Years in a Research, Process, Connection class visited local textile artist and community educator Madame Chino. Starting on the freshly poured 39th floor, Interior Architecture and Design seniors in Building Systems 3 took a sunset tour of The Couture, Milwaukee’s newest 44-story skyscraper. MIAD students also visited a host of other locations, including Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility, Black Box Visual, Marquette College of Nursing and UW-Milwaukee’s Special Collections library.

MIAD Gallery at The Ave

In a milestone for the college, MIAD opened its first off-campus exhibition space, MIAD Gallery at The Ave. MIAD Gallery at The Ave provides a supportive space for MIAD students, alumni, faculty, and staff to show and sell their work in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. The gallery holds both exhibitions and a rotating inventory of artwork, crafted goods and more. Gallery at The Ave hosted three well-developed shows: “From This Point Forward: An Exhibition of MIAD Alumni,” “After Hours: Showcasing the Work of MIAD Staff” and “Punks, Geeks, and Lovers: A MIAD Zine Exhibition.”

In addition to shows, Gallery at The Ave presented pop-ups and additional consignment opportunities through the Night Market, Doors Open MKE, the MIAD Zine Fair and the Holiday Outlet.


MIAD hosted nine exhibitions in its main two gallery spaces in 2023. Two exhibitions, “Art Against the Odds: Wisconsin Prison Art” and “Predecessor: Works From the Layton School of Art,” garnered particular attention. “Art Against the Odds” was curated by Deb Brehmer of the Portrait Society Gallery of Contemporary Art and hosted 7,100 visitors over the seven-week run of the show. “Predecessor,” curated by MIAD alum Seth TerHaar ’23 (Fine Art), explored the history of the Layton School of Art and tied into the college’s upcoming 50th Anniversary celebrations. Learn more at!

2023 also saw a number of outstanding student-led exhibitions. Hosted in MIAD’s Community Hub, Room 160, these shows included the “Latine Student Exhibition,” “Mended: The Anti-Fashion Exhibition,” “Black Art & Design Juried Student Exhibition” and “The Resilient Type.”

Students left the classroom to collaborate on an exhibition in partnership with Sculpture Milwaukee at The Avenue. “Dear Nature” spotlighted work by students and faculty from MIAD, Milwaukee School of Engineering and UW-Milwaukee.


MIAD was pleased to host two exceptional artists for the Creativity Series. On Feb. 15, 2023, Cas Holman presented “The Power of Play: How We Can Use Imagination and Curiosity to Change the World.” Pao Houa Her presented “Freshly Cut Plastic Flowers: The Hmong-American Dream” on Nov. 8, 2023.

The annual MIAD Holiday Sale raised an incredible $55,000 for the participating artists and designers and to fund MIAD scholarships.

The first-ever alumni reunion took place Oct. 20 – 21, 2023 at MIAD’s campus and included a cocktail reception, tours of the college and a visit to the new MIAD Gallery at The Ave. Over 175 alumni attended to kick off MIAD’s 50th Anniversary and reconnect with the alumni and college community.

Community Connections

MIAD celebrates the success of Youth and Community Programs, in particular the Design Internship. The program supported 45 interns at eight different locations and received nearly 100 applications in 2023.

To showcase the incredible work of MIAD students, faculty, staff and gallery spaces, the college hosted multiple visits from news stations like FOX6 and CBS58. Milwaukee PBS also visited Professor Rina Yoon’s printmaking class to film a new documentary series entitled “The Women Founders: Milwaukee Soldiers Home.”

Imagine MKE featured MIAD’s campus and students in its annual 414 Day video celebrating Milwaukee artists and creatives.

Service learning classes went into the community to learn and connect. Students contributed public art and design services to partners like LGBT milWALKee and House of History, Art Intersection MKE and BloomMKE (Cherry Street Community Garden).

Other Achievements

The Ruth Foundation for the Arts (Ruth Arts) awarded MIAD a Legacy grant to pioneer its new Wisconsin Artist Grant program. MIAD initiated the Ruth Arts + MIAD Artist Grant and awarded grants to 10 faculty, staff and adjuncts to develop artwork over the course of the year.

At the 2023 Creative Fusion gala, the college completed its Our Creative Future $10 million capital campaign!

Congratulations, MIAD! 

2023 was a spectacular year of achievement and success for the MIAD community. Now, MIAD looks to 2024 as a year of celebration as we commemorate the college’s 50th anniversary.

Learn about MIAD at 50 years at, read more MIAD stories featuring students, alumni, faculty, staff and programs, and check out MIAD’s 2022-23 Friends & Donors Report!


Löwe: Senior Exhibition 2024

“Löwe,” Zach Scharrer’s ’24 (Product Design) senior exhibition project at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), is a bespoke adaptive formalwear line designed in collaboration with employees at Independence First.

Forgotten Nation: Senior Exhibition 2024

“Forgotten Nation,” Tanesha Spencer’s ’24 (Communication Design) senior exhibition project at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), is a guerilla marketing campaign intended to bring awareness to the 5,712 missing and murdered Indigenous women in the United States.

MIAD celebrates one-year anniversary of offsite gallery

The Gallery at The Ave, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design’s (MIAD) first offsite gallery, celebrated its one-year anniversary at the opening reception of its newest show, “Culture Starters: Emerging from Quarantine.”

MIAD Values Recognition Award: Matt Sothan

Matt Sothan, Assistant Director of Admissions, Transfer and Nontraditional Enrollment Specialist, received the March 2024 MIAD Values Recognition Award at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). Matt received nominations that highlighted his embodiment of MIAD’s Core Values, especially Integrity and Community.


Accepting applications for Fall 2024 and Spring 2025
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December 31, 2023
FAFSA available for 2024-25 school year
Use MIAD's school code: 014203

April 27, 2024
Admitted Students Day

June 1, 2024
Tuition Deposit Deadline
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