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Community Arts Curriculum (2013-14)

Requirements for students entering Fall 2013 and later

Requirements for the MFA in Community Arts: Year One Fall
Course TitleCourse #credits
Community Arts Residency I MFACA 5540 6
Community Arts Seminar I MFACA 5520 6
Making Art in Community I MFACA 5600 3
Community Arts Residency II MFACA 5640 6
Community Arts Seminar II MFACA 5620 6
Making Art in Community II MFACA 5610 3
Studio Elective 3
Year One: Subtotal 33
Requirements for the MA in Community Arts: Year Two
Course TitleCourse #credits
Making Art in Community III MFACA 5700 12
Philosophy and Pedagogy (optional) ED 5533 0-3
Studio Elective 3
Making Art in Community IV MFACA 5710 12
MFACA Thesis MFACA 5800 3
Year Two: Subtotal 30-33
Total 63-66

Course Descriptions

Community Arts Residency I–II

MACA 5540 and MACA 5640

6 credits each semester; 12 credits total.

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Students fulfill a 1,170-1,700-hour, 9-11 month long residency as a full-time resident artist working for one or more of community organizations including: arts/cultural organizations (education and community outreach arms of museums, libraries, theaters); faith-based and youth-service organizations (community and youth centers, out-of-school programs, national membership groups); community associations; and educational institutions. During this residency, students design, implement, or expand arts-based educational programming for youth or adults; create and plan arts-based events in the community; and support the institutional, managerial, and fiscal health of the host organization—providing substantial assistance to the host organization in achieving its goals and mission while gaining invaluable experience in all aspects of community arts work. Throughout the academic year, students participate in on-campus and online review of their work in community, document findings and outcomes, and receive ongoing supervision and support from the MFACA faculty, guest artists, and critics.

Community Arts Seminar I and II


Should be 6 credits each semester; total 12 credits

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MFACA students investigate the principles and practices of community-centered, social justice grounded arts, projects, and programming, including asset-based teaching models for children and youth, curriculum design and implementation, program evaluation and assessment, community organizing, participant and volunteer recruitment, grantwriting and fundraising. Additionally, this study investigates the role the arts have in articulating the identity of a particular cultural or communal setting. During the fall, a month long, five-day-a week-series of seminars prepares students for the commencement of residencies that begin in early October. Once the residencies begin, a series of seminars continue throughout the fall and spring semesters with daylong Monday meetings.

Making Art in Community I and II

MACA 5600 and MACA 5610

3 credits each semester; 6 credits total.

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Community artists are creators and visionaries whose artmaking both informs and enriches their work in community. Students conduct an investigation into community-based art forms and build a portfolio of work that documents their activities and experiences during the full-time residency. Students may pursue any number of traditional or community-based art forms including site-specific, public, or performance pieces; videos; oral histories; murals; special events; and other collaborative ventures. Two culminating exhibitions showcasing student artworks are held – one on campus and one in community.

Making Art in Community III and IV

MFACA 5700 and 5710

12 Credits each semester, total of 24 credits.

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MFACA's second year supports: tangible, authentic engagement in community; written and visual research; the application of professional skills, knowledge and competencies; creation of an articulate body of advanced artwork; utilization of self-defined assessment strategies and documentation of creative processes, products and their application. This course of study focuses on the development of work that is consistent with the practices and principles of socially engaged art. All aspects of installation, site-specificity, community integration, audience and presentation of form are to be considered by the student and evaluated by faculty. This culminating study of work focuses on the conceptual development and fabrication of project-based investigations into a cohesive whole: a nexus of form and content. With support of MFACA faculty and guest experts, students take into consideration all aspects of installation, site specificity, community integration and presentation.

Studio Electives


6 credits

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MFACA students select two studio courses from a full range of 200-400 level electives providing opportunities for the acquisition of new skills and knowledge in direct support of their own artmaking and programming in community.

MFACA Thesis


3 credits

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The primary expectation for this course is the presentation of a body of work, as part of two related thesis exhibitions, which is grounded in advanced-level theory and practice. Work is subject to evaluation by the thesis committee. Successful completion of the MFA degree includes a professionally conceived and implemented body of work, artist’s talk or other presentation(s), related documentation, and assessment of process and outcome.

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