Select Page

MIAD River Rat recognized on World Rat Day

The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) celebrates its iconic River Rat mascot on World Rat Day, April 4, 2023. Situated along the Milwaukee River, the institution proudly spotlights its favorite scrappy and resourceful rodent.

Although no live rats can be found in the building, students and visitors might catch a glimpse of the mascot at many college-wide events. During the recent MIAD Defines: Play activities, the River Rat spent most of the day riding the freight elevator and chatting with students. A golden rat was also awarded to the winner of the MIAD Defines scavenger hunt.

Despite its admittedly unsettling appearance, the mascot is beloved by most students. “He’s absolutely original. I love it … it’s horrifying and yet it has personality,” said one student. “The rat really truly does look like a river rat. It’s gangly and bedraggled,” said another. “I like the mascot, it’s a cute mascot. It’s different, it’s not like an eagle or something. It’s kind of funky.”

One of many ways students engage with the River Rat is through an annual T-shirt design contest. The 2022 winner, Mikayla Kaufman ’23 (Illustration), created a graphic that encapsulates the essence of the River Rat. Selected through a campus-wide vote, the winning design is printed on limited edition T-shirts and sold through MIAD’s store, along with other River Rat merch.

While it may be an unconventional choice for an often-reviled rodent to serve as a college mascot, rats embody many characteristics celebrated at MIAD. Rats are curious, intelligent, empathetic, resilient and social creatures. These characteristics align surprisingly well with MIAD’s own values of courage, integrity, kindness, community, innovation and inclusion and make the River Rat a stellar choice for MIAD’s mascot.

Learn more about MIAD or request information!


Metalwork and molds: MIAD alum on Kohler Residency

Eye-opening and awe-inspiring: this is how Nirmal Raja ’08 (Painting) describes learning to work with liquid metal. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) alum recently completed the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Arts/Industry Residency in Kohler, Wisconsin.

MIAD Values Recognition Award: Dale Shidler

Dale Shidler, Professor of Communication Design, received the January 2024 MIAD Values Recognition Award at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). Dale’s nominations highlighted his embodiment of MIAD’s Core Values, especially Integrity, Kindness and Community.

MIAD students, alumni, faculty create work for ThriveOn King

Four Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) community members will contribute to the first floor of the new ThriveOn King community hub on North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. They make up part of the 20 Milwaukee artists who will convey the history and heritage of Bronzeville in this collaborative space.

MIAD Board of Trustees welcomes new members

The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Board of Trustees welcomed two new members at their January 2024 meeting. Dr. Daniel A. Schroeder, co-founder and president/CEO of Organization Development Consultants, Inc. (ODC), and Noah Stone, reference librarian and circulation assistant at North Shore Public Library, joined MIAD’s Board.

Lubar Innovation Center students design for Kohler

When Kohler needed t-shirt designs created for their Sustainability Champions program and I-Prize competition, the company turned to the Lubar Innovation Center at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). From there, staff at the Innovation Center connected Kohler with two MIAD Illustration students.


Accepting applications for Fall 2024
Apply now!

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
Pay your tuition deposit