December 5, 2022

MFA program

Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

effie bowen, Live Edit, 2022. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Kubo, jidoka (​​じどうか ), 2022. Video animation, CRT tvs, quadraphonic sound, quilted shop towels, ratchet straps, milk crates, children’s shoes, dimensions variable. Courtesy of Terry Brown.

Katherine Thompson, Hold me Jamaica, 2022. Adhesive fabric, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Ivy Li, On Being A Factory Worker, 2019. Mixed media, dimensions variable. Photo: Terry Brown.

Saar Shemesh, It Takes a Muscle, 2022. Installation, foam tiles, pigmented platinum silicone rubber, polycarprolactone, alcohol, ink, mica, silicon tubing, plastic, blown glass, dimensions variable. Photo: Terry Brown.

Stacie Sabady, Forest of Untitled Truths with Cake, 2022. Mixed media, dimensions variable. Photo: David Hunter Hale.

Bradley Sinanan and Yuan Xin. Photo: nicole killian.

The VCU School of the Arts MFA program is a vital, inclusive community of artists and scholars. The studio program offers students the opportunity to pay close attention, engage in heightened critique, and scrutinize what has been overlooked and disregarded. To dig into what has been unacknowledged, inadequately redressed. To consider the serendipitous, the sublime. Or to delve deeply into one’s interiority, affinities, historical inheritance.

The current moment embodies an undeniable, palpable shift. In anticipation of a post-pandemic—what comes next, who decides, what alternatives might be realized? These questions, at this moment, point to a particular urgency of creative discourse that is at the core of VCUarts Graduate Studies—an international community of thinkers, makers, performers, teachers, and scholars who collectively and perpetually explore uncertainties, consider alternatives, and compel others to do the same.

VCUarts graduate programs are collaboratively directed by an accomplished faculty whose creative work and pedagogical approaches transcend disciplinary boundaries. The rigor of graduate work is upheld within a supportive environment that allows oneself to feel, examine thoroughly, question and doubt—while also producing work that variously prompts new insight, challenges perceived proclamations and/or calls attention to pressing contemporary issues and their historical roots.

Artmaking, scholarly research, creative performance—these are simultaneously private endeavors and means to connect. Resonant connections arise from an annual roster of acclaimed visiting artists and guest speakers, and alumni across the country and around the globe.

We believe artists have prescience, are engaged in displacing the legacy of colonialism, and question how to live and work in the present moment while shifting through the debris of the past and the precarity of the planet. Richmond, Virginia, is an excellent basis for research. It is one of the region’s most culturally vibrant cities and a vital part of the graduate experience. The city is home to the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, numerous galleries, and performing arts venues. It’s also a quick trip to Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City.

Funding and teaching assistant opportunities: Applicants to all graduate programs are eligible and considered for graduate teaching and research assistantships. Funding also supports graduate travel and research grants. While completing the degree, graduate students are eligible to apply for a VCUarts post-master’s teaching fellowship, which offers recent alumni continued teaching opportunity.

Please see the VCUarts website for more information and application details, or contact artsgrad [​at​]

Graduate departments: Craft/Material Studies, Kinetic Imaging, Painting + Printmaking, Photography & Film, Sculpture + Extended Media, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Art History, Art Education.

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