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 M.F.A. 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 a) the creation of original works, b) a command of compositional techniques, and c) an emerging mastery of their ability to conceptualize and fulfill the goals of a professional practice-led (creative) research agenda
  • investigate and integrate a range of knowledge, technique, craft, and historical/theoretical perspectives of the art forms practiced in the program via both practice-led and academic inquiry, developing their potential as artist-scholars
  • collaborate with other artists within their own discipline(s) and across the various disciplines practiced in the Program
  • promote sound business and entrepreneurial practices in the arts

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 some aspect of human ecology
  • create and participate in collaborative projects with colleagues (in person and online)
  • 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 lead project appropriate to their field and concentration within the MFA program