Art News

CCAD launches Project-Based MFA Degree Program

Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD)
CCAD launches Project-Based MFA Degree Program
Columbus College of Art & Design
60 Cleveland Ave. at E. Gay St.
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) has welcomed its inaugural class of 11 graduate students to the newly established Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts: New Projects program. Preparing professional artists to be creative leaders in the community and the world at large, this terminal degree is granted at the completion of a two-year, full-time curriculum comprised of both academic seminars and studio practice.

The NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design)-accredited coursework employs a multi-disciplinary approach with an entrepreneurial emphasis. MFA candidates explore different media in four semester-long individual projects that they propose, develop, and execute, culminating in a senior thesis with oral defense. All MFA students are assigned faculty members for individual mentoring and routine meetings to assess progress and guide research.

Housed on the top floor of the newly renovated Design Studios on Broad building, the 9,700 sq. ft. MFA facility includes well-lit individual student studios, exhibition/flex space, an interactive media seminar room, and faculty offices. At capacity, the program will be able to accommodate 20 MFA candidates. Artists working in traditional studio practices, as well as installation and digital time-based media, participate together in the program.

Ric Petry, director of graduate studies, feels that the projects encompass a journey from start to end.

“In addition to describing the project, the students must include detailed timelines, budgets, and resource allocations—similar to any grant one would receive,” Petry explains. “In turn, we provide the students with a lot of freedom, and they hold themselves to a high level of discipline in presenting each project.”

So far, Petry is pleased with the progress the inaugural class has made.

“We’ve got a wonderful group of grad students getting their footing, and in a year and a half we can look back and say it was a success,” he says.

Chris Harman is an MFA candidate working with glass installation and drawing. After completing a three-month residency in Fukui, Japan—under the direction of glass artist Hiroshi Yamano, chairman of the Osaka University of Arts—Harman enrolled in CCAD’s MFA program. His first-semester project involves suspending a translucent, 500 lb. glass box containing visible elements that reflect light. CCAD’s MFA studio is the only area on campus with the means to facilitate an installation of such magnitude.

“The program has been very accommodating, and I’ve learned a lot about coordinating suppliers and gaining resources,” Harman explains. “Tracking my finances and meeting deadlines are grooming me for a professional environment.”

At the conclusion of each semester, students display their work for one week in the MFA studio; a digital presentation is made available online as well. “With these projects in their early phases, different things constitute success for different artists,” Petry says.

MFA candidates are eligible for financial aid including a number of merit-based scholarships; they may also apply for adjunct teaching positions during their second year.

The program hosts a range of visiting lecturers throughout the year. Visiting lecturers for fall 2010 are:
• Jon Rubin, multidisciplinary artist whose work explores the social dynamics of public places and the idiosyncrasies of individual and group behavior (produced by CCAD’s Bureau for Open Culture);
• The Venerable Geshe Kalsang Damdul, assistant director of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics;
• Terri Cohn, San Francisco–based writer, curator, art historian, and contributing editor to Artweek magazine; and
• Matthew Higgs, artist, curator and director and chief curator of White Columns, New York’s oldest alternative arts space (produced by CCAD’s Bureau for Open Culture).

Mission Statement
Columbus College of Art & Design prepares tomorrow’s creative leaders for professional careers. With a history of commitment to fundamentals and quality, CCAD advances a distinct, challenging, and inclusive learning culture that supports individual development in art, design, and the humanities.