MFA Painting Programs?
April 9, 2008 6:29 AM   Subscribe

What are the best MFA programs in painting, both national and international, and resources and techniques for further researching them?
posted by CaptMcalister to Education (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think you need to define best. Most well known teachers? Most well known graduates? Most studio space? It's really hard to say what best means in this context. My information is going to be sadly out of date, but I'll tell you that twenty years ago I looked hardest at RISD - it always has been and still is sort of the gold standard - the Boston Museum School, Pratt, and ended up at MICA (where I decided that an MFA in painting wasn't what I wanted or needed after all, another story.) But then I also knew I wasn't leaving the East Coast and SCAD wasn't yet as big as it would become or I probably would just have gone there.

Weird, I never noticed before how many art schools have nifty acronymic names.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:28 AM on April 9, 2008

RISD. Sorry about that.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:29 AM on April 9, 2008

What is more important than any sort of "rank" in a graduate program is how well you mesh with the professors. For instance: do you want to learn landscape art? Well, you're going to be lost at a highfalutin' conceptual school like Cranbrook, whereas someone who wants to push the boundaries of abstract painting will fit right in. Also, personality is VERY important, meet your major professors, sit down and really talk to them. These are the people who are going to be critiquing your work, you need to be able to have an open conversation with them, if you don't respect or mesh with them, you'll get nothing out of the experience. Thirdly, look at what teaching experience the graduate school provides, you are getting your MFA to teach, right? You'll need hands-on experience to hack it in the academic world.

The short answer your question is that there are many, many good schools, and the only way to find out what is right for you is to look at faculty work to start with, then make a short list of ten artists whose work you relate to and go visit and ask questions directly to the faculty. A "name-brand" degree is nice, but not as important in the real world as a good educational experience, and that is all up to you.

(full disclosure: I am currently a studio art graduate student (MA), and an employee of a university with a painting MFA program)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:47 AM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

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