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MFA PAINTING SAFETY SCHOOLS


colbz

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We all know what the really good schools are...I am applying to Tyler, Rutgers, UT Austin, SUNY Purchase, and SVA so far for painting, and deciding where else I want to apply...I'm not sure if I want to apply to Yale or RISD yet. All of these schools, even the ones that aren't Yale, RISD, Columbia, MICA, VCU, Tyler, Cranbrook, etc are still quite selective, with most of them taking only about 10% even if they aren't a top tier school! So, what I am asking, is what schools are you all applying to as "safety" schools, or places that are less selective, yet still worth attending? One of my professors recommended University of Delaware, and Texas Tech. I would like to chose 2 or three schools to apply to that I have a greater chance of getting accepted, as it would be nice to only go through this process once. Any thoughts?

Also, what have you all heard about SUNY New Paltz?

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I looked at a lot of programs online...A LOT and I lowered it down by a few criteria,

1) I wanted a 2 year program rather than 3

2) Did they still offer private studios or other facilities seen in more upscale schools

3) Did the faculty or students produce work that is similar to mine (for me that was figurative and leaning toward realism, things which aren't seen that often any more) basically does it seem like you could learn a lot there

I ended up with a few Michigan schools, Eastern Michigan, Michigan state as well as UMASS Dartmouth. They were all sort of random, but something caught me with each. I liked some state schools in California which I ended up eliminating. You might want to get a super used copy of the U.S. News Report because they have a list of the top 50 art graduate programs and its a good place to get started.

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I looked at a lot of programs online...A LOT and I lowered it down by a few criteria,

1) I wanted a 2 year program rather than 3

2) Did they still offer private studios or other facilities seen in more upscale schools

3) Did the faculty or students produce work that is similar to mine (for me that was figurative and leaning toward realism, things which aren't seen that often any more) basically does it seem like you could learn a lot there

I ended up with a few Michigan schools, Eastern Michigan, Michigan state as well as UMASS Dartmouth. They were all sort of random, but something caught me with each. I liked some state schools in California which I ended up eliminating. You might want to get a super used copy of the U.S. News Report because they have a list of the top 50 art graduate programs and its a good place to get started.

Thanks, yes that's good advice... this is so overwhelming!

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I also recommend checking out The CAA Directory: Graduate Programs in the Visual Arts.

It lists all the schools in the US and a few abroad. You can purchase it on Amazon.com

or directly from the source here:

CAA

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I also recommend checking out The CAA Directory: Graduate Programs in the Visual Arts.

It lists all the schools in the US and a few abroad. You can purchase it on Amazon.com

or directly from the source here:

CAA

already got it a while back...still overwhelmed. lol. I did pick out a few easier to get into places. but I guess there really isnt such a thing as a good safety school when it comes to studio art

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  • 5 weeks later...

To be honest, I don't think there is really such thing as a safety school, if this is your first BBQ...then I think you are in for an awakening, most schools accept sub 5% of applicants since everyone applies everywhere. This isn't undergrad, the faculty takes your work extremely seriously and makes sure it fits in with thier program.

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To be honest, I don't think there is really such thing as a safety school, if this is your first BBQ...then I think you are in for an awakening, most schools accept sub 5% of applicants since everyone applies everywhere. This isn't undergrad, the faculty takes your work extremely seriously and makes sure it fits in with thier program.

Yes, that's what I have been finding. I guess what I meant is, for example, a school like Yale or SAIC is going to have students making better work than a school in some dinky town where they get 14 MFA applicants per year (there are lots of schools like this). I think the real question is, clearly the dinky town school with 14 applicants is going to be easier to get into than Yale, but would it still be worth attending? Or if you got into that school should you just forget about it.

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Yes, that's what I have been finding. I guess what I meant is, for example, a school like Yale or SAIC is going to have students making better work than a school in some dinky town where they get 14 MFA applicants per year (there are lots of schools like this). I think the real question is, clearly the dinky town school with 14 applicants is going to be easier to get into than Yale, but would it still be worth attending? Or if you got into that school should you just forget about it.

Have you looked into Claremont Graduate University? The whole school accepts only graduate students so its most likely a sure thing. The art department is pretty large, having around 50-60 grad students which could be a good or bad thing because you have many different people at different skill levels. Also it is pretty expensive, I'm not sure about the financial aid situation, I know they offer a few spots that are fully funded. I have a friend who is going there now and she said the faculty is top notch and they have pretty well known contemporary artists coming each semester to talk and teach classes, in terms of the painting that comes out of there, it definitely varies in style and skill, some great stuff and some not so great stuff.

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Have you looked into Claremont Graduate University? The whole school accepts only graduate students so its most likely a sure thing. The art department is pretty large, having around 50-60 grad students which could be a good or bad thing because you have many different people at different skill levels. Also it is pretty expensive, I'm not sure about the financial aid situation, I know they offer a few spots that are fully funded. I have a friend who is going there now and she said the faculty is top notch and they have pretty well known contemporary artists coming each semester to talk and teach classes, in terms of the painting that comes out of there, it definitely varies in style and skill, some great stuff and some not so great stuff.

I've actually heard about Claremont because I saw one of their MFA candidates in "New american paintings" and the work was incredible.

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A Professor recommended Claremont to me saying it is the next "big" school in art. I am applying there.

Yea, I'll for sure look into it. First I have to look into the financial aid situation because I am broke, but if two students there have full funding then that must mean there is hope for at least a little bit.

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unless you are going for free, there should not be safety schools. use the money to make work on your own, and network.

unless, you want to teach. But even then, where you go to school makes a difference in where you are going to get a job.

1st tier in nowhere, usa v. 3 tier nyc... you get the idea.

Just dont sell yourself short. think before you go somewhere that you are not in love with.

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A Professor recommended Claremont to me saying it is the next "big" school in art. I am applying there.

...also, if anyone is interested in teaching in California on a college level Claremont seems to be the program for college administrators and professors. Good networking school.

...but I'm not applying there.

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unless you are going for free, there should not be safety schools. use the money to make work on your own, and network.

unless, you want to teach. But even then, where you go to school makes a difference in where you are going to get a job.

1st tier in nowhere, usa v. 3 tier nyc... you get the idea.

Just dont sell yourself short. think before you go somewhere that you are not in love with.

Speaking of teaching...I wonder if anyone has any advice for my situation: I have a bfa in studio art but was also an art education student. Yes it took away from my own studio time, but I took an extra semester of school for my own art because of this. I mentioned a little bit in one of my statements of purpose about my studies in art ed, and its relation to my own development as an artist. I showed it to my painting professor, and he deleted it from my statement, saying that the school would not want to hear anything at all about art ed because it would make them think I'm not as serious of an artist. Any thoughts on this?

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Speaking of teaching...I wonder if anyone has any advice for my situation: I have a bfa in studio art but was also an art education student. Yes it took away from my own studio time, but I took an extra semester of school for my own art because of this. I mentioned a little bit in one of my statements of purpose about my studies in art ed, and its relation to my own development as an artist. I showed it to my painting professor, and he deleted it from my statement, saying that the school would not want to hear anything at all about art ed because it would make them think I'm not as serious of an artist. Any thoughts on this?

Makes sense...If you are going for a MFA in studio art...what does art education have to do with anything? Yes, we all know that a good chunk of people want to teach, but the whole problem is that a lot of professors out there are working artists...and thats who schools want teaching.

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Totally understandable. I did end up briefly mentioning it...just because I felt that being an art ed student increased my cultural awareness of contemporary art, and gave me the ability to view art from the point of view of art critic or historian as well as artist. Hopefully they don't take that the wrong way...it really sucks that some people think you can't be serious about your art and love working with kids at the same time. With that said, I did spend a lot of time writing lesson plans in which we quack like ducks with our fingers to make pinch pots when I could have been in the studio, but oh well, no regrets in life.

Makes sense...If you are going for a MFA in studio art...what does art education have to do with anything? Yes, we all know that a good chunk of people want to teach, but the whole problem is that a lot of professors out there are working artists...and thats who schools want teaching.

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Totally understandable. I did end up briefly mentioning it...just because I felt that being an art ed student increased my cultural awareness of contemporary art, and gave me the ability to view art from the point of view of art critic or historian as well as artist. Hopefully they don't take that the wrong way...it really sucks that some people think you can't be serious about your art and love working with kids at the same time. With that said, I did spend a lot of time writing lesson plans in which we quack like ducks with our fingers to make pinch pots when I could have been in the studio, but oh well, no regrets in life.

I think it's alright as long as your art ed background has made you who you are as an artist now and stronger for it. And as long as you briefly mentioned it and didn't make your whole essay about it then it should be fine, anyways aren't the schools going to see your art ed degree on your transcripts?

Edited by vermillion
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am currently an MFA student at Claremont Graduate University. It is a great school. The studios are very large with 14 ft. ceilings, track lighting, and pristine walls. Your studio looks like a mini-gallery, which is great to see your work in a gallery context or if you are an installation artist. There is a large outdoor work area with plenty of room for sculptures as big as you can imagine. It is 75 degrees in Claremont this week so you can work outdoors most of the year. It is about an hour from LA which means the faculty and visiting lecturers are all practicing LA artists. Someone who graduated last year just had a big show at Ace Gallery, one of the biggest in the country. I don't think it should be a very difficult school to get into. There were several empty studios this semester.

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sounds great, but what's the financial situation? I have about enough money saved to pay for 4 months of groceries...

I am currently an MFA student at Claremont Graduate University. It is a great school. The studios are very large with 14 ft. ceilings, track lighting, and pristine walls. Your studio looks like a mini-gallery, which is great to see your work in a gallery context or if you are an installation artist. There is a large outdoor work area with plenty of room for sculptures as big as you can imagine. It is 75 degrees in Claremont this week so you can work outdoors most of the year. It is about an hour from LA which means the faculty and visiting lecturers are all practicing LA artists. Someone who graduated last year just had a big show at Ace Gallery, one of the biggest in the country. I don't think it should be a very difficult school to get into. There were several empty studios this semester.

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sounds great, but what's the financial situation? I have about enough money saved to pay for 4 months of groceries...

The financial situation is horrible at CGU, as it is with 95 percent of other MFA programs in the country. There is no funding. MFA seekers make it sound like the go to grad school for free and get tuition waivers for being TAs and stuff. This is rarely true. A few people at school like SAIC, RISD, etc. will get funding, these are private schools. Nobody in the state of california is getting funding because they are a TA. People on this forum make it sound like MFA candidate deserve half off tuition because they are a TA. Grad school at a private school is expensive and there are not many funding options. HOWEVER, anyone who pays attention to anything know about the IBR government repayment plan. I thought it was too good to be true myself, but it was in the fine print when I signed my promissory note for my FASFA loans. If you cannot afford to repay your loans, a payment plan will be made for you up to 15 percent of your annual income and then your debt will be cancelled in 20 years. Someone will reply to this post and talk about "but what if you are married" or "it depends on how much you make". You would have to make over 100k a year for it not to take effect with you, and that isn't your situation. IBR takes my $1,500/mo payment down to about 10 percent of that.

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I went back and forth about it, but I didn't apply to any 'safety' schools.

Honestly, my priorities are 1. looks good on CV 2. location

So that's how I chose my schools, I am planning on going to whichever offers the best aid. That is, if I get into any!

And yes, this is my first ride at the Rodeo. prayin for 8!

ashleighrauen.blogspot.com

Applied:

VCU

Cranbrook

Columbia

USC

MICA

Parson's (this is my 'safety' school knock on wood!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just visited USC and was surprised to hear that nearly every MFA student receives major aid. I think it was something along the lines of 8 TAships with full tuition (there are only 8 MFA candidates per class). This full tuition included a ~$1000/month stipend (it may have been 900, can't remember). The remaining students received Studio Assistantships. In exchange for 6 hours a week, the students receive $1000/month stipend and no tuition assistance. After completing a Studio Assistantship, you would be moved up to a TA with full tuition. So all 16 MFA candidates receive some sort of funding upon admittance. I guess that's one of the benefits of getting into such a small interdisciplinary program. They may admit 3 painters max in any given year so I probably have a better chance of winning the lottery...

The financial situation is horrible at CGU, as it is with 95 percent of other MFA programs in the country. There is no funding. MFA seekers make it sound like the go to grad school for free and get tuition waivers for being TAs and stuff. This is rarely true. A few people at school like SAIC, RISD, etc. will get funding, these are private schools. Nobody in the state of california is getting funding because they are a TA. People on this forum make it sound like MFA candidate deserve half off tuition because they are a TA. Grad school at a private school is expensive and there are not many funding options. HOWEVER, anyone who pays attention to anything know about the IBR government repayment plan. I thought it was too good to be true myself, but it was in the fine print when I signed my promissory note for my FASFA loans. If you cannot afford to repay your loans, a payment plan will be made for you up to 15 percent of your annual income and then your debt will be cancelled in 20 years. Someone will reply to this post and talk about "but what if you are married" or "it depends on how much you make". You would have to make over 100k a year for it not to take effect with you, and that isn't your situation. IBR takes my $1,500/mo payment down to about 10 percent of that.

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