The MFA in Community Practice is a multi-layered program that approaches art-making through social engagement with the public. Candidates should be active artists who are interested in establishing a practice that is community-based. In this highly focused graduate program, candidates will learn as a group of peers in an integrated communal setting. The program will support practitioners and peers through courses designed to ignite the exchange of ideas for individual and group projects and functions as a “learning hub” where knowledge and information are shared. It serves as the central axis point for multiple shared courses within the MA in Art & Social Engagement and the MFA in Studio Art programs. Candidates will research, examine and address the differences between solo practice and working within groups to create public art and acquire a refined understanding of the challenges and opportunities of working with communities.


  • Engage candidates in a forum that supports the exchange of multi-disciplinary ideas and establishes networking opportunities to test collaboration within communities.
  • Encourage candidates to re-examine their work by providing innovative and interactive methods for community-based projects.
  • Engage candidates in project-based experiences on- and off-campus to prepare them for proposing and creating relevant projects within diverse communities.
  • Prepare candidates for  a life-long practice in publically produced, individual and collaborative projects and develop the knowledge needed for funding sustainable careers.


The aim of the program is to foster experiential collaboration during both on-campus summer intensives and a required four-week practicum entitled Philadelphia as a Laboratory under the guidance of Mural Arts. During the online fall and spring terms, candidates will work independently on research-based projects in their respective communities. Under the advisement of faculty and the mentorship of experts contributing to this discipline candidates will be working as professionals throughout the duration of the program.

Who is this program For?

This program is intended for candidates who are interested in a non-traditional, summer intensive program that provides flexible scheduling by offering online delivery during the fall and spring. This flexibility supports distance learning for domestic and international candidates and  fieldwork that can be initiated within the students’ communities, either as new projects or capitalizing on established ideas.  In all cases, candidates who are looking to build their network of community-based practitioners will become part of a growing cohort of those doing this work nationally. The ideal student for this degree may include:

  • Studio Artists wishing to define their work for public impact
  • Interdisciplinary Artists
  • Designers with an interest in social practice
  • Writers who want to expand their practice
  • Performance Artists with an interest in engaging communities