Photo of Samuel Hoi

October 2, 2017
Derek Parsons, PR Manager
410.225.2503 or dparsons@mica.edu

The second annual Art of Change Fellowship is awarded to artists and cultural leaders who advance freedom, justice and inclusion in the arts.

BALTIMORE — Earlier today, MICA President Samuel Hoi was named a 2017-2018 Art of Change Fellow by the Ford Foundation. The fellowship program recognizes “visionary artists and cultural leaders in creating powerful works of art that help advance freedom, justice and inclusion, and strengthen our democracy,” according to a statement released by the Foundation.

This year’s cohort of 25 fellows includes dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, writer Sandra Cisneros, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, composer Mohammed Fairouz, cultural leaders Lori Pourier and Carlton Turner, and artist Fred Wilson, among others. A full list of this year’s fellows can be found at fordfoundation.org.

“It is a profound honor to be recognized as a Ford Art of Change Fellow,” said Hoi. “Arts educators, especially those of us on the administrative side, seldom receive attention as cultural leaders and social change makers. The Ford Foundation’s bold commitment to highlight such an inclusive range of Art of Change Fellows sheds wonderful light on the full spectrum of creative efforts that contribute to a more just society. I am deeply inspired and humbled to be among the incredible leaders acknowledged by this fellowship program.”

Hoi has a consistent and distinguished history of innovation in expanding the platform for and impact of art and design education, and promoting equitable pathways to education and opportunity. Since joining MICA in 2014, President Hoi has spearheaded significant initiatives to advance opportunity and equity in the arts, both at MICA and in the greater Baltimore community.

He has instituted a large-scale and inclusive creative entrepreneurship program, which encompasses the first major venture competition for art and design students (UP/Start) and an entrepreneur-in-residence program at makerspace Open Works, as well as a campus-wide integration effort for diversity, equity, inclusion and globalization. President Hoi also conceived and helped create the Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network (B/CAN) project, a citywide network of entrepreneurial support for Baltimore’s creatives regardless of socio-economic, gender, generational, geographic and disciplinary boundaries.

“My medium, so to speak, is art and design education. All my initiatives not only serve but require the extensive partnership of campus and external communities. My work is inherently collaborative and reciprocal,” Hoi added. “Therefore, I share this honor with numerous others with whom I have worked and from whom I have learned. I am particularly grateful to be at MICA, where the campus community is guided by a powerful mission to empower art and design students to forge creative, purposeful lives and careers in a diverse and changing world.”

Art of Change Fellowships recognize artists who seamlessly blend artistic brilliance with commitment to social justice, and pursue their creative lives in a spirit of generous collaboration. This year’s cohort includes choreographers, organization leaders, poets and writers, musicians, filmmakers, visual artists, and theater makers — all of whom are also in some way cultural organizers.

The yearlong fellowship comes with unrestricted stipends of $50,000 for individuals and $75,000 for collaborative teams. Fellows will create work that explores questions of freedom and justice, which they will showcase in late 2018.

“Art is essential in a free and flourishing society. Artists are the visionaries who can shine light on complexity and possibility, and inspire us to make those societies more just and more beautiful,” said Elizabeth Alexander, the Ford Foundation’s director of Creativity and Free Expression, in a statement. “This fellowship recognizes an extraordinarily diverse group of brilliant artists and innovators whose works embody social justice, and enables them to come together and collaborate toward a more just and inclusive future.”

The Art of Change Fellows program is sponsored by the Ford Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression Program (CFE), which is headed by poet and scholar Elizabeth Alexander. Through the CFE program, the Foundation explores ways that cultural narratives affect and shape contemporary reality and how the arts, journalism and film contribute to fairer and more just societies. For more information about their work, please visit fordfoundation.org/work/challenging-inequality/creativity-and-free-expression.

Samuel Hoi is president of Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. He is an innovative higher education leader dedicated to expanding the platform for and impact of art and design education and creative professionals, as well as promoting equitable pathways to education and opportunity. Formerly, he was president of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, where he launched the Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region and California. There, he also shepherded a required curriculum involving community engagement that placed art and design education in real life collaborations and context. As dean of the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., he created a visual arts program serving inner-city youth that received a National Multicultural Institute Award and a Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities.

Hoi serves on and chaired the boards of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and United States Artists (USA). He also serves on the board of National Arts Strategies (NAS), the National Advisory Board of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA).

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Hoi immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager. He received his B.A. from Columbia College in New York City and earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School. He subsequently obtained an AAS degree in Illustration from Parsons School of Design. Hoi holds honorary doctorate degrees from the Corcoran College of Art and Design and Otis College of Art and Design, and was decorated in 2006 by the French government as an Officer of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques.