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Bard College - Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts

Milton Avery Graduate School

Graduate School

Since 1981, the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts has offered a master of fine arts (MFA) degree program which is conducted in a work-centered and stimulating environment for artists practicing in six disciplines: film/video, painting, music/sound, photography, sculpture, and writing.

The program takes place over two years and two months, with a residency on campus over three consecutive summers intersected by two winter semesters of independent study off campus. Each summer session runs for eight intensive weeks. The day-to-day focus is on the individual process and work in progress as each student confronts the conceptual and practical questions that are at the core of all artistic production. Work toward the MFA degree continues during independent study sessions in the two intervening winters. Scheduling sessions-in-residence during the summer and independent work during the winter makes earning the MFA degree possible without sacrificing employment or other commitments. The result of this program design is a diverse group of students including active mid-career artists, teachers, and professionals in other fields, as well as recent college graduates.

During the summer sessions, each student is assigned a studio and spends a majority of time at work in this space. The student leaves the studio to join the community of students and faculty for discussions about the work. The program endeavors to nurture dialogues between individual artists at varying stages of their development and then expand these dialogues to include progressively larger sections of community, culminating in a public presentation of each student's work.

Faculty are drawn from a range of mid-career working artists from diverse backgrounds. Their experience is available to students in all six disciplines: a writer will meet with a painter, a sculptor with a filmmaker, a musician with a photographer. These intense one-on-one conferences are the core of the program.

A second level of conversation occurs within small groups that meet weekly in which the individual disciplines meet separately to address ideas and issues germane to their practice.

A third level of conversation occurs during Presentations, or "crits," in which the student presents work to the entire community for critical response. At the conclusion of the three-year degree program, students introduce their work to the public through a Master's Project and formal presentations.

The broad intellectual and artistic concerns of those who teach and learn at the Milton Avery Graduate School call for and produce a context of critical support and respect that extends beyond professional boundaries and categories. An awareness of other disciplines and a willingness to take risks mark successful artists in every field. Students must be willing to become actively involved in the interdisciplinary program while they concentrate on their chosen field. Knowledge of and interest in other fields should accompany primary involvement in their own.

Our brochure can be found at or email or call 845 758 7481 to have a copy mailed to you.

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Last Updated 22nd Sep 2005

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