MFA in Visual Art

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The first low-residency program in visual art in the country, the MFA in Visual Art at VCFA is a vibrant, local, national, and international community of artists and critical thinkers.

The program’s precedent-setting pedagogy is based on the understanding that art does not exist in a void, but within a social context. Students emerge from the program with a dynamic new vision of themselves, their art, and the world around them.

G. Roy Levin, founder of the MFA in Visual Art program at VCFA, sought a new standard of graduate arts education, one in which students would pursue their MFA degrees while remaining within the context of the communities in which they live, work, and make art. To this day, the pioneering methodology Levin and his collaborators designed endures. The program’s bi-annual residencies, artistic community, and innovative structure encourages a focus on the relationship between art and societal values, which in turn helps students recognize the inevitable conflicts and contradictions of being an artist/cultural producer in today’s world.

Since 1991, the MFA in Visual Art program has based its educational success on the principle of individualized learning. In the program, students complete a series of interdisciplinary writing projects with a faculty member and pursue their studio work with a local artist chosen in collaboration with the program. This system encourages artists to develop their own mentor system and determine educational values and expectations according to self-initiated ideas of progress and professionalism.

The program places emphasis not on the particular medium, but on the content of each artwork. The result is a unique, interdisciplinary program in which students examine self and art simultaneously, emerging from the program with a dynamic new vision of themselves, their work, and the world around them.

Program Faculty


Paul Johnston


Eshrat Erfanian