March 31, 2016

Nomad/9 MFA experimental residency

Hartford Art School
Works Progress Studio, Water Bar, 2014-present. Courtesy of Works Progress Studio.

The University of Hartford’s Interdisciplinary MFA announces its inaugural autumn Nomad/9 residency in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. An international cohort of graduate students will gather on October 15, 2016 for two weeks of cross-disciplinary research and seminars hosted by Public Art Saint Paul. This limited residency MFA is dedicated to sustainable culture, and features an open-outcome philosophy that supports work in many disciplines including eco-arts, socially engaged practices, craft traditions and arts and healing. Each residency uses a living classroom approach in which students learn from, and contribute to, a site in the Americas.

The Nomad/9 October residency 
The residency will begin with indigenous learning as students arrive in the Twin Cities. Dakota history, language and culture will be introduced through artist Mona Smith’s Bdote Memory Map project and the work of Healing Place. Continuous engagement with Dakota language, culture and history is built into the two-week residency.

The “Techno Lab” course will address water as subject and material, and will be taught collaboratively by artists Mona Smith, Seitu Jones, Christine Baeumler and Works Progress Studio (Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson). In addition to Smith’s Bdote Memory Map, projects will include Seitu Jones’ handbuilt 18-foot wooden research vessel built for the Missisipippi River, Christine Baeumler’s work with local bogs and watersheds, and Works Progress Studio’s Water Bar. The course includes pedagogical collaborations between this team of artists designed specifically for the Nomad/9 graduate students.

The “Art and Place, Reconsidered” course will be taught by Sandy Spieler, founder and director of the In the Heart of the Beast Theater. Sandy will be designing a mobile course that tours the Twin Cities based on how water moves through the geographical and built environment. Equal parts ritual, performance, and educational experience, the course will include visits to local waters.

The “Distinguished Practitioner” course is built around the esteemed public art organization Public Art Saint Paul. Colleen Sheehy, director of Public Art Saint Paul, and Amanda Lovelee, City Artist for the city of Saint Paul (and Nomad/9 MFA Thesis Advisor) will guide the students through an exploration of the ways artists and local stakeholders work together in the municipal setting within the organization’s public art initiatives. The students’ research will culminate in a case study of the organization completed after the residency period. While on site, students will contribute to the Pollinator Project, which imbeds structures that support pollinator habitat within the city of St. Paul.

The “Critique Seminar” will feature artist Christy Gast facilitating a reflective and critical response to the students’ developing first-year projects. Gast’s teaching methodology will be informed by the work she does as part of the Ensayos collective, and will be influenced by the progressive pedagogical work of Paolo Friere.


The University of Hartford’s Interdisciplinary MFA (Nomad/9)
The Interdisciplinary MFA is a low-residency Master of Fine Arts with a focus on sustainable culture. Its 62-credit curriculum presents courses in contemporary art, ecology, urbanism, history, and technology (from craft to code). This program of study prepares artists for a life of engaged studio and civic practice, and reflects the dynamic balance of production, inquiry, and cross-disciplinary collaborations in contemporary art and the world at large.

The MFA curriculum supports many types of art practices, including (but not limited to) eco art, social practice, community art, and work that explores craft and technology traditions. This curriculum prepares artists for ambitious creative processes and enhances an artist’s ability to gain funding, develop career opportunities, and attain employment in a variety of public and private sectors. The program culminates with a thesis exhibition, a written thesis, and a public artwork made for the city of Hartford by the students working with a distinguished visiting artist. Visiting artists include Mark Dion, Hope Ginsburg and Pablo Helguera. Faculty includes Ernesto Pujol, Linda Weintraub and Nico Wheadon. For a full list of faculty, and complete program information, visit


Please note: Three spots remain open for the incoming 2016 cohort of MFA students. One partial scholarship is available. For application information, contact Carol Padberg at [email protected].

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