MFA in Visual Art

The Role of Artist-Teacher Role

Role of the Artist-Teacher:

In our MFA program, one of the two major components of a student’s course of study is a semester long (six-month) studio project in which he/she works with the guidance of an Artist-Teacher, preferably from their local area. While each individual student generates an individual study plan for their semester based on the particular necessities or demands of their art practice at that given moment, the dialogue between ArtistTeacher and student generally focuses on the ideas that inform the student’s work, intention vs. execution, formal aesthetic qualities, the relationship of the work to other artists and/or other traditions of art making, and their work’s overall relation to their artistic goals and to current social and cultural contexts in which their work exists.

Scheduled Meetings:

Outside of an initial meeting to discuss the possibility of working with each other, the recommended scheduled meetings are as follows:

1. Preliminary meeting to review and discuss the student’s Studio Study Plan. This plan describes the work to be done, the aesthetic and thematic aims, the intended style and form, technical and/or formal problems anticipated, and amount of work to be completed during the term. A Studio Study Plan should be as concrete and specific as possible, without inhibiting or
obstructing the student’s ability to work freely.

2. Four additional studio visits of approximately two hours each.


Because of the low-residency nature of our program, we require two written evaluations over the course of the six-month semester so that we can remain in contact with the student’s progress and so that you can register any concerns you may have with the student’s progression.A Mid-Term Evaluation is due after the second visit and a Final Evaluation after the fifth visit. In addition, the student will write a Mid-Term and a Final Evaluation that he/she should e-mail, mail, or give a copy to you. These evaluations assess the progress of the study according to the guidelines and evaluative criteria collaboratively agreed upon beforehand.


Program faculty will make a final decision regarding the granting of credit to your student’s studio component after critique and review of the student’s work and review of your final evaluation. ArtistTeachers do not attend the residencies.

Selection Process:

Please be aware that the process of finding an appropriate Artist-Teacher to work with is a critical challenge for our students. Not only will they be spending the semester having this artist critique their work, but they will also benefit by the social interaction and the opportunity to develop contacts with a network of regional artists.

The program maintains a list of Artist-Teachers who have been approved to work with students; some have previously worked with students and some have not. If you are approved as an Artist-Teacher and give us permission, we will add your name, address, and phone number to this list and you may be contacted by any of our students, regardless of their medium. At specific points in their study, students may be encouraged to work with someone outside of their medium based on a number of different interests and desires.

Once a student finds several possible Artist-Teachers, he/she will arrange to meet with each one. Note that a student is very likely having initial meetings with several other artists. Please give the student the room to work through a process of determining who will be the best match for them at that particular time. We encourage you to use this meeting to get to know the student and to let them get to know you. You may want to show the student your artwork, see his or her artwork, and talk together about learning styles, methods of critiquing work and study plans.

Also students are required to refrain from making a final decision regarding an Artist-Teacher until after the MFA Program Residency. They receive a lot of input at the Residency and may, very likely, find the course of their work change drastically and, therefore, their needs for an Artist-Teacher may also change.

Despite this contingency, if the pre-residency meeting goes well and you would like to consider working together, we ask that you complete an application so that we can assess your suitability for our Program. We will let you know if the application is approved shortly after receiving all required materials (please see application form for details.) Artist-Teachers must submit a completed application, and be approved, prior to or during the residency.

Letter of Agreement:

Once a student is paired with an Artist-Teacher, a Letter of Agreement for this collaborative partnership is provided by Vermont College of Fine Arts, along with the necessary forms for midterm and final evaluations. Artist-Teachers are paid in two equal installments totaling $1000 per student, per semester.