We chatted with MICA President Sammy Hoi about his love of all things artisan-made, his favorite things about life in Baltimore and how he’s strategizing to bring back manufacturing to his new home city—via an entrepreneurial program of study.
>> How are you enjoying making Baltimore your home city? Love it. The Baltimore community has been hugely welcoming to me as a newcomer.
>> What are some of your favorite locally manufactured—or handmade—products? I love to eat, so my favorite locally made products are the edible kinds. We have so many good food makers in town now, from ice cream shops to food trucks and restaurants.
>> What are some of your favorite local restaurants? For breakfast: On the Hill Café in Bolton Hill. For lunch, City Café in Mt. Vernon. For dinner, Be-One, a little Korean restaurant in Station North. For special occasions, there’s always Charleston.
>> What is your favorite view? I love my office view at MICA. I work in a beautiful and stately 19th- century-style Beaux arts building, and look out to the very modern, angular and glass-paneled Brown Center. With this view, I am reminded constantly that education has to link the past to the future, riding on that axis towards the next horizon.
>> What is your near-future goal for the new entrepreneurial program at MICA? In five years, I hope that all graduates from MICA will have a powerful understanding of entrepreneurship as a self-directed way to bring great ideas to life and to combine personal success and fulfillment with a commitment to common good.
>> I love the idea that you’re helping arts students to gain real-world skills that can improve the local economy—give me a concrete example or two of this process in work at MICA. MICA is launching this academic year a competition that all graduates can participate in to win entrepreneurial seed capital; a requirement is that the winners have to commit to headquartering their businesses locally and demonstrate some local economic impact.
>> If Baltimore were a piece of art, what would you title it and why? I would name it “B’Real.” It’d be an exciting and gritty piece of art, exuding lots of energy and mixing traditions with the new, showing rough patches with bursts of beauty. You’d feel the complexity and also the great potential. Just like in our city. 9