Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies: The College at Brockport

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Description

The VSW MFA program is a full-time, three-year, 60 credit terminal degree program for furthering one’s art practice and professional objectives. In association with The College at Brockport, SUNY, the MFA courses all take place at VSW, a highly unique environment internationally recognized for supporting dozens of visiting artist projects each year.

Photography, Book Art, and Moving images are at the core of this MFA. Each semester students take a graduate seminar in art historical and critical subjects in addition to studio courses and electives. Classes in collections management, exhibitions management, and guided work assisting with VSW’s curatorial projects are all available. An additional certificate in Art Administration can be earned in association with The College at Brockport, SUNY’s Public Administration graduate program.

The goal of the MFA is for graduates to complete a thesis that is strong evidence of their own working practice and to be able to speak and write effectively about the work. MFA thesis projects have included solo exhibitions, feature-length documentaries, physical and e-book publications, performances, social practice experiences, curated exhibitions, film festivals, publishing projects, workshops, and other activities.

VSW MFA alumni are working artists exhibiting internationally; educators working at all levels and types of education; directors, curators, and administrators in renowned institutions; creators of programs and organizations that have greatly expanded the fields of photography, book art, and moving images.

To discuss questions about the program, or to visit, contact the MFA Program in Visual Studies, Visual Studies Works op, 31 Prince Street, Rochester, NY 14607; (585) 442-8676; email address tshaw@brockport.edu; or Web site at http://www.vsw.org/education/mfa-program/.

Admission to the Program

Only full-time students will be admitted to the MFA in Visual Studies program. Applicants must present evidence that they have received a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university (see Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for further details). The program does not require that applicants have a BFA.

To be considered for admission, an applicant must submit:

  • Official degree transcript(s) from each institution attended as an undergraduate or graduate student
  • A résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation, ideally from a former educator or employer
  • Statement of Objectives: your reasoning for wanting to earn an MFA
  • A Portfolio that represents a body of work submitted through submittable.com
  • An Artist’s Statement relating to the work submitted in the portfolio

Please see the Center for Graduate Studies for deadlines or to begin the application process.

Curriculum and Program Requirements

The curriculum is designed to deliver six Student Learning Outcomes and the expectation is that students who achieve the MFA will be able to:

  1. Make use of advanced competencies in a broad range of technical skills associated with the production of visual media including books, alternative imaging systems, and photography in all its myriad forms including photobooks, installation, film, video, and digital media.
  2. Articulate the creative skills and decision-making strategies involved in the independent production of artworks and the motivations and cultural consequences underlying them.
  3. Produce a sustained body of work requiring the technical and creative command of visual media including its preparation, sequencing, installation, and public presentation.
  4. Use libraries, archives, and online data sources to research media and primary arts-related material to apply research creatively to their art production.
  5. Investigate and draw conclusions about media arts issues and to write and communicate an intelligent and informed position on the nature of art and visual culture.
  6. Exercise professional sills and conduct in an arts organization or arts-related school or business.

Studio Practice

Studio courses begin with the introduction of overlapping core concepts and techniques in Photography, Book Art, Film and Video. Students take immersive workshops in each of these areas as well as research skills in the first semester and through visiting artist workshops designed to increase facility and understanding for the use of still, interactive, and moving images in communication and expression. Students develop independently generated projects in Studio Critique courses with their peers and with mentorship from a faculty member.

Core courses (9 credits required)

  • ART 513 Core: Media
  • ART 532 Core: Photo
  • ART 555: Core: Books

Studio courses (9-18 credits required)

  • ART 514 Studio Critiques I
  • ART 515 16mm Film I
  • ART 516 16mm Film II
  • ART 533 Studio Critiques II
  • ART 556 Studio Critiques III
  • ART 591 Topics in Art
  • ART 617 Studio Critiques IV
  • ART 657 Studio Critiques V
  • ART 658 Studio Critiques VI

Professional Practice

These courses enable students to develop the aptitude and skills required to work in art vocations such as archives and collections, exhibitions, publications, screening programs, education, and curatorial project development. In combination with studio courses, students learn through doing professional level work with guidance from VSW’s staff and other qualified experts in the field. This approach allows students to try out a career interest before committing to further specialization.

Professional Practice courses (9-18 credits required)

  • ART 504 Collections Management
  • ART 535 Exhibitions Management
  • ART 590 Independent Study
  • ART 636 Critical Writing
  • ART 735 Art Organization Practicum
  • ART 790 Internship

Electives

Two Electives in graduate level courses outside the art discipline are required for the MFA. Students may opt to take courses related to their studio work such as creative writing, literature, film, history, or other classes. Or by taking the two electives in the designated Public Administration classes below, students may earn an additional graduate certificate in Art Administration.

Elective courses (6 credits required)

  • PAD 637 Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations
  • PAD 629 Fundraising and Development
  • PAD 640 Financial Management
  • PAD 678 Nonprofit Management
  • PAD 679 Grantwriting/Grant Management
  • PAD 682 Organizational Behavior

Research Seminars

Faculty provides the framework and readings for discussions of contemporary issues in art, media culture, curatorial outlooks, as well as themes related to the history of photography. Artists and curators who are residents or presenting work at VSW regularly give talks, critiques, or question and answer sessions about their work.

Seminar courses (12 credits required)

  • ARH 561 History of Photography
  • ARH 563 Contemporary Image Survey
  • ARH 599 Independent Study in Art History
  • ARH 661 History of Photography II
  • ARH 664 Media Culture

Thesis

The Thesis is the MFA’s capstone for students to research, prepare, execute, defend, and document their contributions to Visual Studies as a greater field of interest and activity.

Thesis courses (6 credits required)

  • ART 797 Thesis I
  • ART 798 Thesis II

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the major trends and tendencies in historical and contemporary media art practice in the context of the media arts and visual culture.
  2. Employ advanced competencies in a broad range of technical skills associated with the production of visual media.
  3. Articulate the creative skills and decision-making strategies involved in the independent production of artworks and the motivations and cultural consequences underlying them.
  4. Produce a sustained body of work requiring the technical and creative command of visual media including its preparation, sequencing, installation and public presentation.
  5. Use libraries, archives, and online data sources to research media and primary arts-related material to apply research creatively to their art production.
  6. Investigate and draw conclusions about media arts issues and to write and communicate an intelligent and informed position on the nature of art and visual culture.
  7. Employ professional sills and conduct in an arts organization or arts-related school or business.
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