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Digital Media MFA - Statement of Purpose - HELP!

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Hey there! I could really use help editing/proofing my statement of purpose. Deadlines are on quick approach (one month, to be exact), and I have yet to let others read my S.O.P. Any feedback would be highly appreciated. Be honest! Thanks :)

December XX, 2009

Department of Design Media Arts - Admissions Review Committee,

In the world of MY NAMEl, home is a place that cannot be described in words or envisioned with eyes closed. Rather, it is an idea with no point of reference, a feeling invoked by an unlikely avocation. Art has been the most valuable and nurturing constant in my life. Though lacking a white picket fence and three-cheese casserole dinners, my relationship with design has proven dependable and uncharacteristically symbiotic.

At age fifteen, my artistic endeavors shifted from sketchpads to computer screens; Adobe and Macromedia software became my media of choice. Although my first love is a toss-up between graphic design and digital photography, my prowess transcends still imagery. Thanks to dedicated teachers, video editing, camera operating, Web design, Flash animation, HTML coding and audio mixing are also skills that I have been fortunate enough to acquire. Because of the collective efforts made by aforementioned instructors, I found my chosen career path.

Ultimately, my goal is to teach digital art at a ninth-grade level in the public school system. If I arouse a fraction of the passion that I felt for the field as a sophomore, I will consider myself a successful artist, teacher and human being.

For many teenagers -- including Miss MY NAME, circa 2002 -- the high school years were an angst-filled identity crisis. Having a creative outlet during this volatile period offered solace, and enabled much needed self-expression. As an educator, I will help my students build an artistic foundation centered around design media.

In addition, I will provide them with a comprehensive understanding of the affect that visual communication has on society in various contexts. Thanks in large part to digital artists, millions of young women harbor unhealthy body images. Photoshop is a tool that can have damaging effects on an impressionable teenage girl. The media's impact on the masses, particularly in it's portrayal of the female body, is an issue that has affected me firsthand. At age sixteen, I was diagnosed with anorexia. Albeit I have long-overcome this illness, I still catch myself holding the impossibly-thin women depicted in fashion magazines -- and on primetime television -- as the standard. My mission in working with teenagers is to help them build a healthy and realistic idea of beauty.

Technically, I could complete my California teaching credential and become an instructor within one year. This may be the path of least resistance, but it is not the path that I wish to take. Thus, finding the best setting to continue my artistic voyage has been the most important quest to date. The Design Media Arts program at U.C.L.A. was the first public, non-traditional art school curriculum that caught my attention. The interdisciplinary nature of this M.F.A. program satisfies my desire for a strong theoretical framework, while providing access to comprehensive facilities and renowned instructors, specifically Rebeca Mendez. Ideally, I would love to participate in the Teaching Apprenticeship program under the direction of Rebeca.

The ambiguous, existential subject matter referenced in Rebeca Mendez's body of work in particular has resonated with me. Her recent project, There Is No There, falls completely in line with my creative vision to shed light on philosophical issues. Subjectivity, the human condition, absurdity and absolute truth -- or the lack thereof -- are topics that I look forward to further exploring with design media. In case you are wondering, Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy is a muse of mine. Compelling aesthetics are important in design, but having a deep-rooted message behind those visuals is what adds true value.

By simultaneously positioning myself as an artist and social activist, I hope to lend a voice to marginalized groups. As a teacher, I will help my students build a design media skill set, while encouraging them to critically analyze the world in which they live.

Art is my requited love. It provides me with comfort and strength. My growth may not be etched in Sharpie on a doorframe at the Broad Art Center, but I'd appreciate nothing more than to have it measured with compelling research as a Teacher's Apprentice. As a graduate student in the Design Media Arts program at UCLA, my expectation is to be part of a community that encourages creativity, fosters personal growth, challenges the status quo, and provides research opportunities that will prepare me for a career teaching digital media to American teenagers.

Your time and consideration has been much appreciated.

All the Best,


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So, I am sorry to say that you might want to take out the part about teaching, unless you are applying to a teaching-specific program...MFA admissions people hate to think that their degree is being seen as a teaching certificate. You may be dedicated to eventually teaching high school, but teaching college is more appropriate to list as a goal in your statement anyway. I know this because I worked on the admissions work-study crew at a well-known and highly selective MFA program.

Refer to Rebeca Mendez as "Ms. Mendez", not "Rebeca". Talk first about the direction of your work, what other artists you see yourself as working in the tradition of, your motivations, etc, THEN mention all of your technical and software skills.

I'm not really sure if the program you are applying to is teaching-specific or not, but if not, you might like to look into those that are. I think the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design has a pedagogy-based MFA, and I know the Maine College of Art has a good art ed post-bac, as does Mass Art and many other places. If teaching is your real goal, look for these places to apply to. Otherwise, keep this aspect of your long-term goals quieter in the statement. You can always study for a certificate after grad school without making such a big deal of it in your application...you don't have to promise them anything when you are accepted, BUT they are looking for career artists in most MFA places, not career teachers.

good luck!


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  • 1 month later...

Not all departments hate to see that their students want to teach. I have heard this before as well. For example, at NYU they explicitly state on their website:

"The acclaimed artists who make up the Full-time and Adjunct MFA faculty include artists, critics, and writers with many diverse interests and disciplines who see teaching as an integral part of an ongoing and influential creative practice."

That might be a good way of phrasing it..

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  • 2 months later...

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