Graduate Programs

Studio Art (Summer Low-Residency MFA)

MICA's M.F.A. in Studio Art Summer Low-Residency (MFAST) program is designed for experienced artists who want to pursue graduate study without disrupting their ongoing careers.

The emphasis of the MFAST is in integrating practice with theory, where students are encouraged to be independent thinkers and researchers who may focus on one specific medium or work across various media.

Program Overview

MFAST students complete their graduate studies over three years plus one summer. Each year, students come to MICA for an intensive six-week summer residency combined with independent work during the academic year and a return to campus for a short winter session. During the time that students are not on campus, they keep in touch with their dedicated faculty mentor through distance learning tools. Intensity and length of the program help to create a strong community of peers and a network of visiting artists, critics, and alumni that truly influence the students thinking and practice.

Areas of concentration include the full range of contemporary art practices; students may focus on one specific medium or work across various media. Although the program promotes interdisciplinary approaches to art production students are encouraged to work in ways most appropriate to their individual research.

Individual studios and a broad array of academic resources and facilities are provided for all the students while they are in residence during the summer session. Candidates must develop their own studio facilities for use during the academic year. Exhibition space is provided for group shows and individual thesis shows during the summer.

Each candidate is assigned a faculty mentor based on the work submitted for admission. These faculty mentors the student for the duration of the program. More feedback comes from a visiting critic who also meets with the students weekly during the summer. Finally, there is a different visiting artist or critic each week during the summer session as well as during the winter critique.

Who Should Apply

This low-residency program is intended for a broad range of experienced artists, teachers, and other art professionals who wish to expand their understanding of contemporary art through an engagement with extensive studio practice while developing a conceptual framework for their work.

Solo Exhibit for Mary Stuart Hall (MFAST '20)

Mary Stuart Hall (MFAST ‘20) is exhibiting her sculptural installation “Sympathetic Dissonance,” in the Carlos Gallery at The University of the South from October 21 through December 12, 2019. In this work Hall explores a phenomenon known as sympathetic resonance, where under certain conditions, bringing a ringing tuning fork nearby can make a silent tuning fork begin to ring. Illustrating the materiality of sound in space, Sympathetic Dissonance considers how the idea and reality of encountering a landscape can be incongruous. The installation relies on the complex experience of a place and space to create a contrast between the idea of a place, an imaginary landscape, and the sensational experience of the material world.
Hall states, “The distance sound travels can define a space in ways that walls or lines on a map cannot. Political boundaries have evolved as lines often divorced from the everyday experience of a place. In contrast to a binary expression separating here from there, an ancient Germanic tradition defines the boundary of a town with a church bell. Any person hearing the bell is inside the town. By using sound to define a boundary, the perceptual experience of a place is incorporated in its existence. One could even be in two places at once.” Sympathetic Dissonance complicates the understanding of how we measure space and define a place.

Kate Hooray Osmond (MFAST '19) Solo Show

Kate Hooray Osmond’s solo show “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” runs from Nov. 1-23 at the Miller Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. The work in the show originated with Kate’s MFA thesis work presented this summer. Kate describes the connection between her current show and her thesis work in an interview with the “Charleston City Paper”:

“It featured 59 painted panels on 59 canvases, placed in a circle. In the center were 6,000 dominoes. ’It was my model of the universe," says Osmond. The panels were images of the Charleston area, AK-47s, schools, nuclear waste facilities, "everything that could be in a landscape.’

‘The idea for this project,’ says Osmond, ‘was creating a model for a child to go into and understand the workings of the universe so they wouldn't be afraid.’

The panels will be displayed differently at the Miller Gallery, separate from one another instead of in a circle. "All the panels will be in a different order to display energy and change without change; they're endlessly rearrangeable," says Osmond.”

Sarabel Santos Negrón (MFAST ‘19) exhibits at the University of Virginia

Sarabel Santos Negrón (MFAST ‘19) has recently shown her work “Groundscapes Displaced” during the “Coasts in Crisis: Art and Conversation after Recent Hurricanes” event at the Environmental Resilience Institute at the University of Virginia. The event poses the question “Why do the arts matter after a hurricane?” Artists participating in “Coasts in Crisis” performed, displayed and discussed their work forged out of the experiences common to climate refugees and hurricane survivors: homelessness, forced migration, family separation, food insecurity, and living without electricity or running water. Sarabel’s work addressed ongoing displacement; in her own words, “Two years after María, this piece continues displacing in memory of all the floors, homes and lives that we lost as a result of the hurricane.”

Sarabel will also be a visiting lecturer for the Program in Latin American Studies at Princeton University on November 20th, 2019.

Howard El-Yasin (MFAST '16) Featured in "Connecticut Art Review"

Howard el-Yasin, class of 2016, is featured in the October, 2019 studio visit series of "The Connecticut Art Review." Jacquelyn Gleisner writes of Howard’s early forays into art and how his exposure to Eva Hesse’s work informed his desire to make “ugly work, once cited as raw by a critic, and....embracing it.” In the MFAST program at MICA, Howard “...became much more attuned to conversations about identity, which is central to my work,” although Howard prefers his work “to be open-ended, not a finite statement about his own experiences.” Howard’s work continues to utilize discarded and unconventional materials, such as the dryer lint and desiccated banana peels seen in the photos below. For a current work in progress, Howard explores the color black with a selection of discarded objects. In the article, Howard’s explains that the work is about much more than the “racial energy” contained in the color black: “the objects embody a poetic spectrum of blackness by exhibiting a full range of textures...[the] collection is a metaphor for the multiplication of existence.”

Left Space Show

34 MFAST alumni, faculty, and current students tackled an industrial space for the "Left Space" pop-up show on October 5-6, 2019. The empty seventh floor of 1100 Wicomico Street in Baltimore hosted contemporary art installations for two days, with an opening reception on the afternoon of October 5. Bart O’Reilly (‘12)) organized the exhibit, which included the work of the following artists: Damon Arhos (‘17), Erin Barach (‘14), Shannon Brinkley (‘20), Nikki Brooks (‘19), Samia Bzioui (‘22), Sarah Clough (‘17), Joe Corcoran (‘21), Mark Dixon (‘12), Chas Foster (‘12), Lauri Hafvenstein (‘20), Emily Hager (‘19), Christian Hall (‘12), Michelle Lisa Herman (‘20), Fritz Horstman (‘11, Cassandra Kapsos (‘11), Denese King-Ashley (‘21), Suzy Kopf (‘16), Caryn Martin (‘17), Liz Miller (‘20), Katie Morris (‘18), Bart O’Reilly (‘12), Kirk Palmer (‘16), Dianne Pappas (‘12), Jassie Rios (‘11), Rebecca Rivas Rogers (‘18), Solange Roberdeau (‘12), David Salgado (‘21), Rolf Sjogren (‘22), Anna Skarbek (‘18), Wendy Tribulski (‘21), Renee van der Stelt, Elena Volkova (‘07), Ashleigh Wink (‘19), and Jean Yang (‘15).

Michelle Herman (MFAST '20) Receives Second Year of DC Arts & Humanities Fellowship Funding

For the second year in a row, Michelle Herman (MFAST '20) has been announced as a recipient of a Visual Arts grant from the DC Arts & Humanities Fellowship Program!

MFAST Alums

Recent Projects and Publications of Fritz Horstman, class of 2011

"Emergence: Art and the Incarnation of Space" at the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University includes two of Fritz’s large sculptures based on glacial valleys and 25 small Formwork sculptures included along with the work of five great painters: Edith Baumann, Benny Fountain, Richard Kenton Webb, Shingo Francis, and Jane Harris. The exhibit was curated by Richard Davey and also features a series of Josef Albers's prints. Pictured below is an installation view from the Martin Museum of Art.

Fritz is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Dessau Bauhaus in Germany, working on an installation drawn from their Bauforschungsarchiv (building and materials archive). This is a collaboration between the Bauhaus and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, where Fritz is resident artist and education coordinator. "Archive Assemblage (Dessau") will be on long-term display in the Bauhaus building.

Recent publications include "A Blue Dark", a book pairing Fritz’s drawings with Fiona Sze-Lorrain's poems, "The Original Bauhaus Workbook" (50 exercises from the Bauhaus Preliminary Course), "The Bauhaus and Harvard" (a catalogue from the recent exhibition) and an article available both in print and online in "The Royal Academy Magazine."

Finally, Fritz is looking forward to curating an exhibition, to open in March at the New Britain Museum of American Art, called "Anni Albers in Connecticut: 40 Years of Innovation."

MFAST Alums

Katrina Bello ('13) Shows Work in Two-Person Exhibit

Katrina Bello, class of 2013, presented work inspired by her experiences with immigration in a two-person exhibition (with artist Mariejon de Jong-Buijs), “Vast Expanses,” at the Brick + Mortar Gallery in Easton, Pennsylvania. In her series “Immensity,” Katrina uses a somewhat formal representation of landscape by including the outline of Mindanao, her former childhood home in the Philippines. This relatively small island holds within it the Pacific Ocean, breaking with a traditional use of scale as the great ocean is constrained by the small island.

Katrina explored the shared experiences of migration with her daughters, each residing on one end of the vast Pacific which both separates and binds them. As the series progressed Katrina considered the political and environmental effects on the ocean today, touching on pollution and ownership in an inconspicuous manner. Creating an abyss of negative space, in contrast with the highly detailed representational drawings of islands and oceans, Katrina laid bare the medium by allowing the water and charcoal to change the topographical landscape of the work. The photo below was taken during Katrina’s artist talk for the exhibit.