Creative learning: an Undergrad reflection

Written by Charles Altieri

In 1873, in response to the recent influx of creative learning brought about by the Massachusetts Drawing Act passed by state legislation – which proclaims that drawing is required to be taught in the public schools of cities and towns with populations over ten-thousand – the Massachusetts Normal Art School was established. Now, known as Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the publicly-funded college has been Boston’s most accredited art education center for almost one-hundred and fifty years.

However, when I first entered MassArt’s respected campus four years ago, I was not greeted with its historic reputation. Instead, I was embraced by the student body’s overwhelming passion for art. As freshman, we came without materials. We came without any former knowledge. We came without friends and without an understanding of our surroundings.

We were colonists to a strange new world. Nevertheless, every individual expressed a willingness to learn, create and work with others. It was from this realization that I knew I was in the right place.

Despite my lack of experience on the matter prior to enrollment, I knew MassArt’s graphic design curriculum would grant me the opportunity express my artistic abilities through the wide range of responsibilities the medium offers. During my time at the school, the program’s staff—who, themselves, are renowned in the field—have taught me how to treat typography in a beautiful manner, systematically organize and arrange information into an appealing design, and operate numerous computer programs and industrial appliances, including laser cutters and printing presses. Their valuable instructions and concern for academic development gave me the capacity to create compelling experiences and encouraged me to positively contribute to society with my work.

Hands on creative learning at opus
Practicing with the laser cutter.

Creative Learning in a Community

More importantly, Massachusetts College of Art and Design welcomed me into a beloved community and informed me of the importance of respecting others and their passions. Now, in the twilight of my undergraduate career, I reflect upon this enterprise. It has taken me on an adventure characterized by a determination to succeed, a passion for design and, above all else, amity among artists. For that I am sincerely grateful and forever in their debt.