December 7, 2012

Master of Fine Art in Art and Social Practice

Portland State University
Carmen Papalia, Blind Field Shuttle, 2012.

Within the Art and Social Practice MFA at Portland State University students explore the history of socially engaged art activity while developing their own artistic skills to engage in society themselves. Currently under the direction of artists Jen Delos Reyes and Harrell Fletcher, the program gives students the opportunity to shape the direction of their own education. The program focuses on local contexts, community collaborations, and engagement with visiting artists and faculty to blend critical and professional activity with social participation on both a global and local scale.

PSU’s Art and Social Practice MFA is composed of a unique combination of individual research, group work, and experiential learning. Based in Portland, Oregon, the program operates out of Field Work, a downtown storefront classroom and event space near the PSU campus. The program’s Flexible Residency model allows for travel and even the ability for students to reside outside of Portland during their course of study. A weekly student-organized visiting artist lecture series promotes the understanding of a wide range of approaches and methodologies. Additionally, the students work on an annual conference, Open Engagement, which focuses on socially engaged art practice and brings together an international group of artists, curators, scholars and members of the public.  

The 90 credit, three-year course operates with a democratic approach which continually redefines and develops the program as a whole. Students connect their art practice to research in the field through electives and community partnerships promoting cross disciplinarity. Results of student work and research is presented annually at the Open Engagement conference leading toward final graduate projects, which are presented in the third and final year of the program. Faculty and students select and invite three outstanding individuals in the field as featured participants. Selected participants also join the adjunct faculty at Portland State University for the school year leading classes and workshops centered on their own practice. The program also produces an annual daylong intervention event at the Portland Art Museum called Shine a Light, and has created projects and presentations for Bétonsalon in Paris, SFMOMA in San Francisco, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, apexart and Smack Mellon in New York among other venues and locations.

The program accepts six students annually. The deadline for applying is February 1st.

The PSU MFA in Art and Social Practice would like to acknowledge the generous support of Dave and Erika Cianciulli, the Platt Family, and PICA.

Full-time MFA Faculty
Jen Delos Reyes
Harrell Fletcher

Past adjunct MFA Faculty have included:
Julie Ault
Tania Bruguera
Fritz Haeg
Pablo Helguera
Paul Ramirez Jonas
Shannon Jackson
Lee Walton
Helen Reed 

Past Visiting Artists and Scholars include Mark Dion, Fritz Haeg,  Pablo Helguera, Nils Norman, Rick Lowe, Andrea Zittel, Mel Chin, Natalie Jeremijenko, Chris Johanson, Tom Marioni, Mark Allen, Deborah Stratman, John Feodorov, Sara Reisman, Allan McCollum, the Center For Land Use Interpretation, Fallen Fruit, and many others.




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