Skip to Content

Marc Holland and the transformative power of a MassArt education.

Marc Holland standing in front of an artwork.
Marc Holland '99 BFA Sculpture & Department Chair, Studio Foundation
  • Faculty

Marc Holland, BFA ‘99

When Marc Holland, sculptor and director of MassArt’s Studio Foundation Program, enrolled at MassArt in 1995, he thought he was embarking on a journey that would lead to teaching university-level photography. But he didn’t understand just how transformational his MassArt journey would be. 

“I knew when I got to MassArt that it was my place—everything felt right about it,” he said. “At 30 years old, I was married, I knew my direction in life. I knew I wanted to teach no matter what, and I thought photography was the thing.”

But that plan shifted when Marc took a woodworking class in honor of his late father. Three weeks into the course, his professor, Rick Brown said something that set his education on a new trajectory. 

“He asked me ‘You’ve been thinking with your hands before your head your whole life, haven’t you?’” Marc recalls. “He said ‘If you can put something in your hands first, instead of trying to think through it first, it makes a whole lot more sense, doesn’t it?’ And he was right. I declared a double major that afternoon. And I fell in love with all things 3D.” 

After finishing his MassArt education with dual degrees in sculpture and photography, Marc went on to complete graduate programs in sculpture and visual art. When he returned to MassArt to teach his first class as an adjunct in 2003, Rick Brown, the woodworking professor who changed the course of his education, offered Marc some teaching advice that’s stayed with him. 

“He told me the hardest thing is that we’re always teaching for 10 years from now—the things you really want students to know, in their heads and in their hearts, take 10 years to sink in,” Marc says. “There are things like cutting, sure, that stick in the moment—but the things you’re teaching them about themselves, you have to have faith that they will understand, in time.” Marc says that hearing from past students about those moments when everything clicks into place is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job.

Another thing he loves about teaching is helping students understand how the skills they gain at MassArt lead to limitless possibilities in terms of the impact they can have on the world—sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

I’ll use sculpture as an example—when you graduate from MassArt as a sculptor, you’re not just a sculptor. You’re a welder, a woodworker, you can do mold-making and casting. Our graduates work as cabinet makers, as framers. They build houses and start companies. You have all these amazing skills, and you can do anything you want to make a living. Marc Holland ’99 BFA Sculpture & Department Chair, Studio Foundation

From finding his path in life to helping his students flourish as they find their own, Marc credits MassArt as the institution and community that makes incredible things possible. “I’m very, very proud to teach at MassArt, very proud of our students and who we are as a school. I’m proud that we’re a public institution. MassArt is the best deal in the United States, by far. There’s no place like it.”

More Faculty stories

Have a Listen to James Stanley

James Stanley Program Area Chair, Painting

Creations by Associate Professor of Painting James Everett Stanley are included in the permanent collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem. On the podcast I Like Your Work: Conversations with Artists, Curators and Collectors, hosted by Erica B. Hess, Stanley discusses how his own practice informs his teaching.

View story
A painting of a man holding a canvas with a fire mushroom cloud.

Creative Collaboration in Laos

Jennifer Varekamp Chair, Fashion Design

Yes, they met new people, tasted the food, and took in the landscape. But students who traveled to Laos with Fashion Chair Jennifer Varekamp also worked hand-in-hand with local artisans to support their creative entrepreneurial efforts.

View story
Jenn Varekamp
image description
621 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 879-7000