November 4, 2020

Contemporary Art Practice MFA degrees in Social Practice and Studio Practice

Portland State University

Art & Social Practice MFA class.

Studio MFA student Safiyah Maurice. Photo: Ben Sellon.

2021 Social Practice MFA candidate Nola Hanson, Trans Boxing Class at Overthrow Boxing Club. Photo: Teresa Mathew.

Studio Practice students and faculty working on a publication project for the Visiting Artist Program. Photo: Ben Sellon.

Social Practice MFA student Kiara Walls, Black Box Conversations, Episode 5: Spirituality, featuring Kine Fall.

2020 Social Practice MFA graduate Eric J Olson and Samuel Wildman, Emotional Obstacles. Photo credit: Tristan Paiige.

View of 2019 Studio MFA graduate Alexander Woodward, Midpoint, at MK Gallery. Photo: Ben Sellon.

2019 Studio MFA graduate Samantha Ollstein. Photo: Ben Sellon.

Portland State University's School of Art + Design invites applications to Contemporary Art Practice MFA degrees in Social Practice and Studio Practice.

MFA in Social Practice
Recently included in Artsy’s list of The Top 15 Art Programs in the country, the Art and Social Practice MFA is a three-year, flexible residency program (online or in person) combining individual practice, group work, community partnerships, and experiential learning with diverse faculty. The program's blend of critical and professional practice, alternative pedagogy, collaborative social engagement, and transdisciplinary exploration produces an immersive educational environment. As part of the flexible residency format, students can be in Portland or away making work in diverse locations. As an extension of the program’s unique approach, graduate students have the opportunity to collaborate directly in ongoing projects including:

Columbia River Creative Initiatives (CRCI) is an artist-led set of programs and classes held at Columbia River Correctional Institution, a minimum-security prison in Portland. Past programming includes an Artist Residency for incarcerated artists, a variety show produced inside the prison, and graduate student-initiated special projects.

King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA) is a contemporary art museum inside of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School (PreK-5th) in NE Portland, OR. KSMoCA’s programs are collaboratively developed with the school community, PSU students, and a team of artists. KSMoCA recently expanded to form the Harriet Tubman Center for Expanded Curatorial Practice.

To support writing and web-based projects that offer documentation, critique, commentary and context for a field that is active and expanding, the program produces Social Forms of Art, a bi-annual journal. Graduating students are offered the opportunity to design and teach their own class; they also each produce a graduate project, a public artist lecture surveying their work in the program, and a graduate publication that adds to the unique breadth of publications on socially engaged art emerging from the program. Each Spring the program hosts Assembly, a co-authored social practice conference with workshops, lectures, and participatory projects. A Visiting Artist program creates exposure and sustained mentorship for students through the academic year. The Art & Social Practice Archive, a new initiative housed in the PSU Library Special Collections, is the first public archive of ephemera related to art and social practice. Learn more or apply.

MFA in Studio Practice
The Studio Practice MFA is built around a core of research-intensive creative investigation. This three-year, full-residency program is dedicated to interdisciplinary experimentation and exploration through the experience of making. Students are supported in a range of disciplines, from the traditional to the emerging, as they consider the various ways that art lives within and beyond the studio. We provide a variety of resources including spacious studios, making facilities, close ties with resident faculty, and dialogues with guest critics, artists, and scholars. Graduate seminars in research, writing, exhibition strategies, professional practices, and pedagogy are included as part of the three-year curriculum. Students participate in workshops and interview sessions with invited guests through the Visiting Artist Program. The program culminates with project exhibitions for graduating students at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Learn more or apply.

PSU’s School of Art + Design is a vital part of Portland’s progressive, nationally recognized arts community. Graduates from the program come from diverse backgrounds and have gone on to successfully engage with the expanded field of contemporary art through traditional and unorthodox avenues. More about admissions requirements can be found here or by emailing art [​at​]

Social Practice: Site / Instagram
Studio Practice: Site / Instagram
School of Art + Design: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

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