MFA Mission Statement

Wilson College’s Master of Fine Arts Program serves as a creative and academic incubator for our community of artist-scholars. Students and faculty in the program work in a range of classic and contemporary modes of artistic and academic inquiry and productivity in our quest to better understand various elements of the human condition and experience.

MFA Vision Statement

The Program locates the study and practice of art-making within human ecology. Therefore, we examine historical art works (and historical artistic movements) and develop our own creative practices by investigating the human relationship to our natural, sociopolitical, constructed and curated environments. We recognize that the connection of body, mind, and human spirit serves as the conduit through which theory, technique, idea, and practice become something we call art. Our rigorous approaches to inquiry respect historical disciplines, even as we forge ahead into dynamic interdisciplinary frontiers, and contemporary collaborative projects.

Because our students and faculty engage in a variety of creative pursuits, and come from a broad range of cultural backgrounds, we embrace a practice of dialogue that does not privilege one art form over another, or one set of experiences over another. To that end, we seek a common language that fosters transdisciplinary communication and understanding that also places agency in the hands of the individual artist. Therefore, Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process forms the basis of our approach to feedback.

The Program Faculty is Committed to:

[Note: The term artist is used below to describe creative producers working in any discipline addressed in the MFA Program.]

  • fostering an environment where a holistic approach to creative and academic research is facilitated through somatic practices connecting the body, mind, and human spirit to space, time, and social context
  • empowering artists in developing their creative work and to articulate their artistic aesthetics/interests through both oral and written mechanisms
  • providing a creative incubator for emerging master artists who are at the forefront of contemporary practice, yet who possess both critical and creative command of historically-relevant philosophies and modes of working as artist-scholars
  • developing a creative community dedicated to advancing individual disciplines even as we explore and expand transdisciplinary intersections and collaborative academic and creative research agendas
  • empowering MFA candidates to utilize sound business/entrepreneurial practices in furthering their artistic and/or academic careers

MFA Program Goals

As Wilson MFA students move through the Program they:

  • deepen their artistic voice, demonstrating
    • the creation of original works
    • a command of compositional technique 
    • refinement of their ability to conceptualize and realize resolved works of art
  • investigate and integrate a range of
    • knowledge
    • technique
    • craft
  • effectively implement collaborative and independent scholarship processes
    • using methods and tools appropriate to the discipline
    • crafting increasingly sophisticated questions designed to move both practice-led and academic scholarship agendas forward
  • promote sound business and entrepreneurial practices in the arts
    • describing their practice-led scholarship and aesthetics in a sophisticated manner in writing 
    • describing their practice-led scholarship and aesthetics in a sophisticated manner in conversation
    • creating materials and articulating their work in an accomplished practice as professional artist-scholars

MFA Program Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • design and pursue increasingly sophisticated practice-led research questions and projects necessary in sustaining life-long careers as artist-scholars
  • produce a body of artwork (portfolio) rooted in human ecology
  • create and participate in collaborative projects with colleagues 
  • contextualize their work and aesthetic interests in the artworld and beyond (both verbally and in writing), engaging in critical response around their own artwork and that of other artists
  • produce a thesis integrating discipline-specific and interdisciplinary theory in the practice-led project appropriate to their field and concentration within the MFA program