The Maryland Institute College of Art has received a $6 million gift from Eddie and Sylvia Brown — the largest single gift in its 175-year history — for the construction of its first new academic building in nearly a century.
The gift, one of the largest ever made by an African-American businessman, grew out of the Browns' experience as parents of a MICA student, their personal respect for and interest in the college's vision for the future, and their longstanding commitment to the arts and the city of Baltimore.
Brown, founder and president of Baltimore-based Brown Capital Management, one of the country's leading African American-owned investment-management firms, has been a regular panelist on the PBS program "Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser" for the past twenty-two years and is active in community affairs, serving on the boards of numerous arts and charitable organizations.
"The Browns' gift is very exciting for the college," said MICA president Fred Lazarus. "It is a major step towards the future for the college, creates a landmark building for Baltimore, and develops the facilities to educate artists for generations to come. A gift of this magnitude takes the college to a new level of support and acknowledges our position as one of the nation's top colleges of art and design."
The new structure, to be called the Brown Center, will house a 550-seat auditorium and will also be the home for electronically based programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, which have grown exponentially in recent years in response to student demand.
"It's clear that educating talented artists in digital technologies is going to become more and more crucial because businesses will need this expertise," observed Eddie Brown. "I am an investor. That's my business, and it's also my philosophy of life. I believe in investing to promote growth and achievement. That's the return we will all get by making this new academic building happen for MICA and for the city of Baltimore."