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.

Throughout the course of the program, students have a sustained, long-term engagement with the Mentor Faculty, as well as numerous interactions and one-on-one meetings with renowned Visiting Artists, Lecturers and Critics. 

Who Should Apply

This low-residency program is intended for experienced artists, teachers, and other art professionals who wish to engage in a rigorous interdisciplinary exchange with peers and faculty as they expand and develop their art practice and the conceptual framework for their work.

Solange Roberdeau (MFAST 2012’) opens a show with Artist Jochen Holz

Solange Roberdeau (Class of 2012) is showing her newest work along with London-based Artist Jochen Holz at the Blunk space gallery, Inverness CA from December 11, 2021 to February 6, 2022
“Solange and Jochen work across different mediums – drawing and glass – but share a penchant for spontaneity and experimentation. Both artists push the limits of their materials by incorporating and combining innovative processes and techniques. Additions of lusters and gilding, wood rubbings and textures, add depth and richness to their work. For this exhibition, Solange produced three series of drawings using sumi and walnut ink, including a collection of pieces made at the JB Blunk house, which will be presented alongside handmade tableware and neon lights by Jochen. Working with ink, paint, paper, wood, fabric, and nontraditional gilding (applying metal leaf to a surface), Solange creates drawings that reflect the cadences of the natural world and her immediate surroundings."

Lindsey Bailey (MFAST '2016) explores the dynamics of shadow, light and colors in new show

Zhàomíng Illumination 照明 is a new solo show by MFAST alumna Lindsey Bailey (Class of 2016) at the Pence-Chowning Art Gallery in Campbellsville University, Kentucky.
"Utilizing a variety of mixed media, I have created installations in each of the three spaces at the Pence-Chowning Art Gallery. Each installation is lit at various angles to create shadows on objects and walls. These shadows may be abstract or representational, and are loosely based on my experience living in China for three years. Some of the shadows are outlined with silver tape to reinforce the shapes. Threads of tiny bunting seemingly connect each installation, decorating found objects and discarded items, hiding their wear and tear. My process involves a lot of play and a vibrant energy. I want my work to energize the space or the space to be dynamic"
Excerpt from Bailey's statement
Opening: December 30th, 2021 to January 29th, 2022
Reception and artist talk: January 27th, 5 - 7pm
Workshop for students, January 27th in the afternoon

Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib, have created a new immersive film installation for Locust Projects

Philadelphia-based artists Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib, known for their fantastical moving images and alternate realities, have created a new immersive film installation for Locust Projects. Field Companion, set in a microcosmic forest, is based loosely on the pine barrens that dot Southern New Jersey near their home. The exhibition opened to the public with a reception on Saturday, November 20, 2021 and is on view through February 5, 2022.

MFAST alumni Kate Hooray Osmond ('2019) and Mary Stuart Hall ('2020) opened a show in Charleston SC with artist Alice Keeney

Entitled "Prototype for a Landscape", the show shines a light on the unspoken connections that hold our communities together. Artists Alice Keeney, Mary Stuart Hall and Kate Hooray Osmond explore themes of Power, Transcendence, and Generation within our land. Portraits of healers, agricultural field maps, celestial constellations, and molecular forces reveal the deeper threads that bind us to our land and to each other. With over 50 new artworks that range from small black and white photographs to large, bright printwork and gilded paintings, the show reflects a shared humanity and reveals that there is much more to a landscape when we consider the connections beyond what can be seen. The show is on view at City Gallery October 22 through December 21, 2021.

TRANSFORMATION - THESIS WORK OF THE MFAST GRADUATE CLASS OF 2021

The emphasis of the MFAST program 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. 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. This exhibition represents the culmination of this rigorous academic and creative endeavor.

Fabienne Lasserre, MFAST Co-Director interviewed Artist Annette Wehrhahn for BOMB magazine

The first time I heard of Annette Wehrhahn, I was standing in front of a huge painting of hers at a mutual friend’s apartment. It was an extraordinary work! At once garish, glamorous, cool, and vulnerable—it was total magic. When I finally met her several years later, it was during the preparation for Soloway gallery’s inaugural show, Parts and Labor, in 2010. Annette and three other friends, one of whom, Munro Galloway, was the person who had Annette’s dazzling painting in his living room, had just opened the space in Brooklyn and invited about forty artists to contribute small works. Years later, Annette and I had a two-person show at Safe Gallery in Brooklyn in 2016, and then traveled together to Luxembourg for an exhibition curated by Wallace Whitney at Ceysson & Bénétière Gallery in 2017. I still smile when I remember how much we laughed and the many stories she told me as we worked on those shows. Annette and I had a really strong connection right when we met and have been big fans of each other’s work since.
Annette lived behind Soloway for seven years and was the director for eleven. Her current solo exhibition at the gallery, Human Remains, marks her retirement as director after these many fruitful years.
—Fabienne Lasserre

Damon Arhos (MFAST ‘2017) opens a Solo exhibition at the Catalyst Contemporary gallery

“The word Cervidae describes the large family of even-toed, hoofed mammals that possess deciduous antlers. Members of the order Artiodactyla, these animals include deer, elk, moose, and the like. Growing up in Texas, Damon Arhos reflects on a variety of expectations for his behaviors and interests. “Hunting, for example, was a strong should”. The artist makes the parallel with expectations for gender and sexuality that he describes as inherently social.
With the solo exhibition Cervidae, Arhos explores gender and sexual identity via the image of a so-called “trophy buck” – one that, for him, represents pride, strength, and honesty. “By repeating this form, I am reenacting and contemplating my own actions – in many cases, those influenced by the beliefs and expectations of others. In addition, as I produce the work, I am imagining how I might have affirmed myself during many uncomfortable moments” notes Arhos.

Jacqueline Bishop (MFAST ‘2016) featured in the British Ceramics Biennial

Growing up in Jamaica, Jacqueline Bishop remembers her grandmother’s delicate bone china crockery that she kept in a large mahogany cabinet and only used on special occasions. Yet, the beautiful and bright images on these plates hid a brutal history of slavery and colonialism bu European countries. In “History at the Dinner Table”, Jaqueline depicts this history on 18 plates by reversing the narrative by juxtaposing somber images of hangings and auctions with vibrant images of fauna and flora. The powerful images are printed on delicate Staffordshire porcelain rivaling in beauty with the European pieces Jacqueline admired at her grandmother’s house as a child.

Members of the MFAST Class of 2021 present their thesis work at the Montpelier Arts Center

At the MFAST low-residency graduate program, most of a calendar year is not, in fact, spent on campus. The nature of MICA’s pedagogy also emphasizes the necessity of ongoing practice and its personal stakes—facilitating the exploration of how one makes work across mediums newly encountered or long-beloved, without the intensity of expectation (by students or others) to engage the art market or certain professional art worlds. As layoffs, this year have spread across the art world, with museums closing their doors to limited reopening and so many arts organizations being shuttered altogether, the professional opportunities for being an artist have faltered, and those remaining have searched themselves for why they make art, and how they might continue.
It is a truism that all art is rooted in the spheres of the personal, however during this year, the personal sphere has been a particularly pressured category and space for experience and exploration—with trajectories of life and thresholds upended, one’s a sense of kin wrecked by fear, illness, and grief, and the home now simultaneously an office, studio, ICU and school. And so it is no wonder that the work I saw investigated the personal as a realm organized by architecture, history, and matters of public concern.
Excerpt from an essay by Dr. Jeannine Tang

Fabienne Lassere's Eye Contact exhibit featured in Art papers magazine

Paintings have always talked to walls—what’s on, built into, attached to, hung from, and tucked away inside them; how they continually frame, curate, hold, and design our bodies’ activities—but Fabienne Lasserre’s exhibition Eye Contact, at TURN Gallery’s new, Upper East Side location, does even more. These works don’t attempt to erase the space with what they depict, or how. Rather, they absorb it, conversing with architectural niceties, nosing around the edifice’s many attributes, making something akin to an expanded transcript of the visible world in the moment.

Howard el-Yasin curates group show Legacy & Rupture

City Gallery is honored to present Legacy & Rupture, a group show curated by interdisciplinary artist and educator Howard el-Yasin. Work by artists Nathaniel Donnett, Sika Foyer, Merik Goma, James Montford, Ransome, Kamar Thomas, and Marisa Williamson will be on display from May 1 through May 30.

Legacy & Rupture brings together these seven wonderful contemporary black artists whose work expresses the multiplicity of our identities framed by the everydayness of precarity, trauma, and memories. Critical black consciousness thinker Christina Sharpe reminds us that “the past that is not past reappears, always, to rupture the present.” If rupture, as such, is also understood to mean resistance, black aesthetic practitioners have the capacity to resist the historical materiality (race, class, gender, and sexuality) and the subjectivity of blackness. The artwork in this show explores differences in representation rather than the reproduction of blackness.

Foraging and Landing: A conversation between Angelina Gualdoni, Fabienne Lasserre, and Sangram Majumdar on "Two coats of paint" blogazine

Contributed by Sangram Majumdar / I think I met Angelina first through a mutual friend Karla Wozniak when Karla and I were residents at the Sharpe Walentas Residency in 2009. Soon we realized we had other things in common, including MICA, where she went for a brief time. I met Fabienne when she began teaching at MICA, and over many drives between Baltimore and Brooklyn we learned a lot about each other. Both Fabienne and Angelina are also part of a studio group that have been meeting for a while, seeing each other’s work evolve and grow over time. On the occasion of their respective solo exhibitions in New York –– Angelina Gualdoni at Asya Geisberg Gallery and Fabienne Lasserre at Turn Gallery — we sat down via Zoom to talk about their recent work.

Members of the MFAST Class of 2020 Present Their Thesis Work at VisArts Galleries

April 2 - May 14, 2021

The Maryland Institute College of Art’s low-residency MFA (MFAST) program has always transcended significant distances, bringing together geographically-dispersed artists already established in their practices for intensive sessions of learning and critique. Rather than mediums, approaches, or themes, these artists hold in common the desire to develop their art within a tight community while they maintain their connection to their home locations and careers. The class of 2020, comprised of eight students living from Baltimore to Berlin, also share the unique experience of a pandemic disrupting their plans for a final in-person, on-site gathering and exhibition last summer. Consequently, the period for producing their culminating works has extended into unprecedented months of protests against social injustice, a presidential campaign reflecting extreme divisions in American society, and widespread uncertainty about personal and economic health. - Excerpt from essay by Kristen Hileman

Ritual Cleansing, an Outdoor Public Performance by Liz Miller (MFAST '20), Opens April 18th

In conjunction with the MFAST Class of 2020 exhibition at VisArts, join us for an outdoor public performance in front of the Gibbs Street Gallery on April 18th at 3PM. This performance will be led by Liz Miller, whose work is on view from April 2 – May 14, 2021 in the Kaplan Gallery.

This performance is a ritual cleansing of one of the sites where three African-Americans were lynched in the 1880s. Sidney Randolph was lynched a block from VisArts. Four performers will ritually cleanse the space. Each performer will serve as a surrogate for one of the lost lives; the creator of the ritual will preside as high priestess over the ceremony. The artist Liz Miller has conceived the ritual cleansing concept in conjunction with her wearable hair sculptures.

Fabienne Lasserre, MFAST Co-Director, Opens Solo Exhibition at Turn Gallery, New York

TURN Gallery is pleased to present Eye Contact a solo exhibition with Fabienne Lasserre opening March 10th, 2021. This marks Lasserre’s first exhibition at the gallery.

Lasserre’s abstract paintings and sculptures merge the tactile with the visual. Her pieces speak of an “excluded middle”, the part that is left out when things are divided into categories. Object-like and with bodily attributes, they exemplify a shared ground between the animate and the inanimate. Creating painted planes of color that choreograph viewers’ gaze and motion through space, Lasserre examines human movement and perceptual faculties through color, form and abstraction.

David Salgado (MFAST '21) Opens Solo Exhibition at Strathmore Mansion

Fields at the Strathmore Mansion on view until May 22, 2021. A solo exhibition of recent paintings by MFAST Class of 2021 David Salgado. Includes abstract geometric paintings with a wide range of colors and sizes.

In this selection of works, Salgado explores the process of color mixing and understanding color. The works are created by a repetitive and meditative process that uses color mixing to understand the physical properties of color and the associations we assign to color. The viewer is asked to be saturated by the vast fields of color and explore their own connections with color.

Corinne Yonce (MFAST '23 - anticipated) Featured in Solo Exhibition at Soapbox Arts

“Home,” especially as it bumps against the private/public, threads my art practice, my community projects, my employment. Most of my childhood objects scatter in basements where my family landed and then eventually vacated, spaces condemned, foreclosed on, or never our own. Perhaps painting is an impulse to re-materialize my personal histories lost over time.

With the Stay At Home order, my murals of 2019 scaled down to the paper works of 2020. The works in home in what remains depicts figures lounging, laying, and leaning on one another in domestic interiors. The feminine figure is prioritized in a tight domestic space by enlarging the female figure and warping into the first-person “i” perspective. The paintings reach for domestic reference points both in content and in material, hanging like drapes and featuring puddling mops & reflective mirrors.

My deepest personal inquiry as a painter right now is how to bridge my paintings back to my community art, my housing advocacy, and my community organizing. For me, the answer lies in the personal, and where my “personal” is orientated within the context of today. What is my relationship to my home space, and how does that confirm or deny traditions of the feminine domestic? My commitment to painting bumps up against my work as a housing advocate and my lived experience of housing insecurity. I am contending with these twin impulses to document, witness, interpret other’s narratives and to unpack my own personal narratives of housing insecurity in an all female family.

Fabienne Lasserre, guest of episode 52 of the Deep Color Podcast

Fabienne Lasserre makes three-dimensional work that oscillates between sculpture and painting. Fabienne talks about using materials that allow her to change her mind, the process of unthinking and undoing, how color can linger in memory, the indescribable aspects of art, making work that can adapt to its surroundings, a feeling of ease in studio and stubbornness as a guiding principle.

DESPITE THE DISTANCE- THESIS WORK OF THE MFAST CLASS OF 2021 and 2022

The emphasis of the MFAST program 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.
During each 6 week summer intensive, graduate students in their 2nd and 3rd academic years of the MFAST program, are invited to participate in a public exhibition of their work.
Aptly named for the inability to physically gather in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Despite The Distance, is an online iteration of this annual event.