Rachel Z on mon 9 mar 98
At 33 I'm just about to graduate from undergraduate studies in Fine Arts
and now seriously considering going on for a MFA in ceramics (or mixed
media). I thought it would be helpful to me and hopefully interesting to
others to read about peoples experiences concerning higher education.
I am just starting the application process, (looking at University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor) so wisdom about applying to schools would be
wonderfully helpful. Notes that wouldn't serve the whole list can be
mailed to me privately at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS, A while ago I took part in a thread concerning "teaching the blind."
I mentioned that I am legally blind and if anyone wanted to know what
has been helpful to me, should feel free to write. My email to one woman
seems to bounce back at me when I send it, so write again if you still
have an interest.
Thank you in advance,
Vince Pitelka on thu 12 mar 98
>At 33 I'm just about to graduate from undergraduate studies in Fine Arts
>and now seriously considering going on for a MFA in ceramics (or mixed
>media). I thought it would be helpful to me and hopefully interesting to
>others to read about peoples experiences concerning higher education.
Perhaps I should respond privately, because we have been around and around
on this on the list, but I think it is something that needs to be said again
If you are interested in an MFA as an opportunity to immerse yourself in art
for a few years and drastically accelerate your artistic evolution and
increase your artistic horizons, go for it, find a way, DO IT NO MATTER
WHAT. It will be one of the most important experiences of your life.
If you are interested in an MFA as career training for a college teaching
job, think long and hard about it. If you want to teach, you NEED to have
the MFA, but you must accept the fact that you will have to scramble for
residencies and part-time teaching opportunities for years and years before
you secure a full-time college teaching job. This should in no way defer
you if the commitment is there. It is important to consider that the MFA
is appropriate training for many art careers outside of academia, and your
experience in graduate school will give you a tremendous advantage in
pursuing such careers.
As long as you make the most of your graduate school experience, there is
absolutely no way it can ever be considered a waste of time or money, no
matter what you do after graduate school..
There are many many good MFA ceramics programs in the country. The
recommendations you receive about specific programs are important, but just
as important is the sense of place and "program personality" you get from
talking to faculty and current graduate students at the schools you are
interested in. It is easy to do. Call the department office at each school
you are interested in, and get the phone number for the graduate studios,
and get phone numbers for the faculty. Often they will only give you office
and studio numbers, but that is enough. You can often go to the university
website and find phone numbers and email addresses for faculty. Make sure
you talk to at least a few graduate students, and talk to all of the
ceramics faculty. Have questions prepared before hand. Ask what kind of
work students tend to do. Look up the work of the faculty in the Art Index
BEFORE you call them. Ask students about the social climate within the
ceramics studios, and between different media areas within the department.
And of course ask about assistantships, fellowships, and employment
opportunities. If possible, get the names and phone numbers of several
past graduates from the program and talk to them.
Vince Pitelka - vpitelka@DeKalb.net
Home 615/597-5376, work 615/597-6801, fax 615/597-6803
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166