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.

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.

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.

Solange Roberdeau (MFAST '12) Opens Her Solo Exhibition, Beyond Latitude, at Municipal Bond Gallery

Beyond Latitude, a solo exhibition of recent works on paper by Bay Area artist Solange Roberdeau. In this selection of reductive drawings, abstract forms reference shapes, happenings, and cadences of the natural world. Responding to nature in its distilled yet fluid form, Roberdeau explores moment and movement within various geography through gestural mark-making.

Adhering to a monochromatic or minimally colorful palette, shapes identify with an organic sensibility, orderly and wild. Geometry and negative space provide grounding, and contrast with the unfettered freedom of patterning, dripping, and the marbling of Suminagashi. Within these energetic exchanges, diptychs and series are joined together by the line, traversing space and holistically present.

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.

Brett Wallace (MFAST '19) Featured in Exhibition Curated by Renowned New Media Curator, Christiane Paul, PhD

Brett Wallace is one of the artists featured in the exhibition “The Question of Intelligence: AI and The Future of Humanity,” curated by Christiane Paul, PhD. The show is on view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, The New School, Parsons, New York City through April 8, 2020. "The Question of Intelligence" features works by artists exploring what intelligence means in the twenty-first century. The exhibition gives a conceptual overview of different ways in which digital art has critically engaged with developments in artificial intelligence, and investigates the social and cultural transformations generated by AI. Together the works in the exhibition examine and juxtapose the ability of humans and machines to acquire and apply skills and knowledge, raising questions of what the encoding of 'intelligence' means for the state of being human.

Brett will participate in a public program with Christiane Paul and artist Tega Brain on April 2, 2020 from 6:30-8:00pm.

Jacob Rowan's (MFAST '19) Solo Exhibition "Edifice and Alchemy"

"Edifice and Alchemy," opened is on view from February 22 through March 25, 2020 in the Bitsy Irby Visual Art and Dance Center Art Gallery at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi.

Rowan's practice is built around investigating what he terms "edificial epistemologies"—humanity’s efforts to construct knowledge into mental and physical architectures in a search for truth and transcendence. His research materials span from ancient cosmologies to speculative fictions and the myriad of philosophies, theologies, and aesthetics between. The scaffolding guiding the construction of this installation is an ongoing modular drawing. On these modules Rowan maps, diagrams, and notates his research into a labyrinthine puzzle of references and structures that serve as semantic gestures. For Rowan, drawing is thinking. It is a method of transcribing the intangibilities of thought into material substance. Like thoughts, Rowan's modular drawings can be endlessly reconfigured, separated, dispersed, replaced, and updated.

Suzy Kopf’s (MFAST ‘16 ) Solo Show at International Arts & Artists at Hillyer

Suzy Kopf was recently featured in a solo show at IA&A at Hilyer, Washington, DC.  Kopf’s work for the show was inspired by two trips the artist took to Puerto Rico’s Levittown, a suburb of San Juan, both pre and post Hurricane Maria. Between 1947 and the early 1970s the real-estate developers Levitt Brothers built more than 140,000 houses in towns they named after themselves in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico. These well-preserved mid century homes have largely been saved by their owners and still stand as both a testament to the United States’ ongoing colonialism of the Caribbean and a physical embodiment of a cross-cultural version of the American Dream of homeownership for the masses. Through her watercolors, oil paintings and large-scale sculpture, Kopf asks her viewer to scrutinize previously overlooked subjects for their problematic origins.

The title of the show, “Bow and Arrow,” was taken from the name for the design of the breeze blocks, decorative cinderblocks made of cement, used throughout the world to promote airflow and create a sense of partial privacy between public and private spaces. They are a shorthand for mid century leisure and design ideals. By making the to-scale blocks out of readily available lightweight housing insulation, Kopf adds her own questions to the familiar form. A student of the school of the American hyperreal— our national conflation and acceptance of a symbol for the real thing— Kopf asks us, in this era of fake news, will Americans continue to define ourselves by what we want to be true rather than reality? What does the mid century promise of prosperity for all mean in a late capitalist society?

Rachel Hubbard Kline (MFAST ‘19) Solo Exhibition “Symbiosis”

Rachel Hubbard Kline will be exhibiting her work of fragmented tiles and vessels at Cerbera Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri. The exhibition opens on March 6 and runs through March 28, 2020. This collection of work explores the wistfulness of personal connections to historical domestic objects and material culture. Rachel’s work seeks symbiosis in the relationship of surfaces to forms and addresses the hierarchy of importance between the form itself and the image or decoration.

The fragmented tiles reference early American quilt patterns and ceramic tiling. By pressing newspaper advertising mats from the 1950s into clay slabs, Rachel makes ephemeral advertisements and outdated means of technology a permanent record.

Stephanie Garon's Solo Exhibition "(De)composition"

Stephanie Garon’s (MFAST '22) exhibition “(De)composition” will be on view at the DC Arts Center in Washington, DC through March 22, 2020.

Stephanie’s work contains industrial elements juxtaposed with natural materials. While deceptively formal, the resulting artworks are ecologically motivated interventions. The physical process of decomposition becomes evident as the pieces change over time, emphasizing the fragility of nature. Rich in associations, her work functions as abstracted expressions of a time, place, and way of life. The resulting artwork is a visualization of an uneasy truce: the fragile balance between nature and humanity.

The exhibition closes with an artist talk on March 22, 2020 at 5 pm. There will be an artist panel discussion featuring Mike Dax Iacovone on March 4, 2020 from 7-9 pm.

Mike Dax Iacovone (‘09) and Billy Friebele (‘ 08) participate in “Applied Forces” exhibition at Arlington Arts Center

“Applied Forces” is on view through March 28, 2020 at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. The exhibition focuses on the collision of forces, bodies, objects, and spaces. For this exhibition, Michael Dax Iacovone has created an on-site land drawing and has included photographs and video from large-scale interventions in the deserts of Nevada and Utah completed over the last three summers. Billy Friebele’s contributions include drawings, videos, and a new kinetic sound piece that rotates slowly, periodically pouring water back and forth between two plastic bottles.

Solo Show for Recent Alumna Nikki Brooks

Nikki Brooks (MFAST '19) created an immersive art experience in her solo show "Between Ourselves," exhibited at the Prince George's African American Museum and Cultural Center. Nikki examined the assimilation of black people to white culture, the affirmation that comes from identifying with the black community, as well as the alienation and rejection from that come from that same community.

Natalia Gonzalez (MFAST '11) Participates in Two Biennials

Natalia Gonzalez, an MFAST alumna and Bolivian native, recently participated in two biennials, one in Cochabamba. Bolivia and the other in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. 

Natalia contributed "Brecha de mecanografía (Type-Gap)", a montage of colliding texts that stage the multi-valence of words and the possibilities of nonsense, to the sixth version of the Contextos Contemporary Art Biennial, UTOPÍA / DISTOPÍA, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. (image below)