Archives & Special Collections
Swain School of Design 1980-1988
In the 1980s catalogues, it is stated that, “Swain’s basic mission is to educate professional artists, craftspeople and designers.” The Swain School of Design is a purposefully intimate college where students can develop their creative, technical and artistic abilities, producing works which are thoughtful, vibrant contributions to our culture.”
Freshman were enrolled in the Foundation Program, which continued and intensified in their sophomore year. Sophomores chose two trial majors to explore fields in which they might wish to concentrate.
Junior and senior year majors to choose from included Graphic Design, Painting, Printmaking and Sculpture. The trustees purchased the Henry Howland Crapo House, known as “Fairview” in 1984 to use as a dormitory for students. In 1987 there were 18 students living in the house in 11 bedrooms.
The Boston University Program in Artisanry, an acclaimed department featuring high quality work in ceramics, fiber, metal and wood, moved to Swain in 1985.As a result, four new major programs were added to Swain’s curriculum : Ceramics, Fiber, Metals and Wood. Architectural Artisanry was a new major offered in 1985.
As part of the PIA agreement, space was rented at 1213 Purchase Street, original home of the old New Bedford Textile School (precursor to UMD) and several departments, including the program, moved in.
Despite a vibrant faculty and a solid curriculum The Swain School Of Design’s rapid expansion led to financial difficulties. The Swain School of Design became part of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts in 1988.All property and other assets were sold. See the list of Swain buildings for details on these historic New Bedford buildings. Most are now private residences.