MassArt is the country’s first and only four-year independent public art college. There's always some thought-provoking or sense-stimulating exhibits to see at one of the seven galleries on campus. In the South Building, the Bakalar and Paine galleries host nationally and internationally known artists – as well as emerging talents – as a complement to the school's curricula. Closed at the time of writing for renovation, the galleries are scheduled to reopen in 2020.
MassArt is one of the country's oldest art schools and – as such – was the first to grant an art degree. Originally the Massachusetts Normal Art School, the institution was part of a plan by civic leaders to promote fine arts and technology, in an attempt to ensure the state's continued economic growth. Other parts of this plan included establishing the Museum of Fine Arts (founded in 1870) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1860).