Office of the President: One Year Later | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Office of the President: One Year Later

By President Sanjit Sethi on January 06, 2022
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MCAD Lawn, Fall

Dear MCAD Community,

I hope this note finds you well. I am writing to you to mark the significance of this day as we start a new academic semester and a new year. As we return to MCAD, it is important that we take time to reflect on the preciousness and fragility of our cultural ecosystem and recognize our role in supporting, upholding, and caring for those around us and for our democratic institutions.

Like you, I am remembering the chaotic events of one year ago when we witnessed an extremist mob attempt to derail the American democratic process. I remember feeling terrified and shocked as a parent, as a son, as an educator, as an artist, as the leader of MCAD for our collective future. The events of January 6, 2021 shook me to the core and, at the same time, fundamentally strengthened my resolve to be a more engaged, creative citizen.

One year later it is essential that we reflect on what transpired that January day and what positive changes we can all make in the year ahead.

I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr. 's “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” where he speaks so eloquently of the need for creatives to lead the way–to show us a world based upon equity, resilience, and democratic principles. Reflecting on this imperative of creativity, Dr. King writes that “normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action.” He continues by stating that the “question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?” Ultimately, as Dr. King articulates, “The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” I like to think that the extremism of which Dr. King speaks aligns with the passion for our own practices. MCAD has always struck me as being a passionate community, where individuals are engaging with not only personal creative pursuits, but also those in support of the broader community.

Let’s begin this new year of 2022 with a commitment to work together and celebrate the vital role that passionate creativity plays in our lives.  

With my best wishes,

Sanjit