Moore’s MFA in Socially Engaged Studio Art supports and serves the interests of graduate students engaged in traditional studio practices, as well as those with interests in community practice. This unique MFA program is focused around a vibrant community of artists who are open, curious, highly motivated and collaborative. A critical dialogue with faculty, visiting artists/critics and other graduate students are key components within group and individual critiques, seminars, lecture courses and in independent advising. This program emphasizes rigorous and immersive study and challenges the artist to confront both practical and philosophical concerns facing artists today, while also critically investigating the role of studio and community-based art practices taking place in a wide variety of local and global contexts. This program is unparalleled for facilitating a meaningful dialogue between the studio and the social world, and privileges neither while promoting deep consideration of their interconnectivity.
At Moore, we see the values and goals represented by this degree name as a spectrum of interrelated work – and with a recognition that artists, we respect such as Theaster Gates, Ann Hamilton, Kara Walker, Ai Weiwei, Michael Rakowitz and Mark Bradford move with agility between participatory art, object making, the studio and the community. Our curriculum is responsive to a range of interests and emerging issues in the arts and is designed to develop and support our students to have satisfying, sustainable, ethical, diverse and life-long careers in the arts. The program encourages multiple processes and media by providing candidates access to all of Moore’s facilities including, but not limited to, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, video, digital fabrication, metals and textiles. Equally emphasizing art practice, theory and research - the faculty who teach in the MFA represent studio art, social practice, cultural criticism and other hybrid and expanded practices.
Moore’s program has an unusually refined critique and evaluation process that is designed to offer feedback to works in progress that will be retroactively discussed and incorporated into workplans for the future. The school’s history informs a thoughtful career and professional practices curriculum running throughout both years that strives to model a wide range of trajectories for a life-long creative practice. MFA candidates spend the first year focusing on skill development and experimentation and conclude that year with the presentation of a thesis question that will guide their work into the second year. They are expected to write a 25-page thesis that is developed alongside a project that will ultimately be exhibited in The Galleries at Moore, which has featured exhibitions reviewed by Art Forum, ARTnews, artnet news, Art In America and Hyperallergic. Students are introduced to a wide range of organizations and methodologies for work ranging from Moore’s unique partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia, the largest public art agency in the country, to occasional and project-based collaborations with community groups and individuals.