Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies


PNCA’S LOW-RESIDENCY MFA IN VISUAL STUDIES (LRVS) program, rooted in critical investigation and rigorous, self-disciplined creative practice, is ideal for motivated students who can work independently, who desire a flexible structure, and who are seeking the challenge and community of an immersive graduate program, inclusive of both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary practices.


The eight-week summer intensive includes graduate seminars, critiques, studio visits, visiting artist lectures and demonstrations, and focused periods of studio practice. Each MFA student is provided with a private studio to make new work over the course of the summer session. Work made each summer is used for display, critique, dialogue, and iteration. While the majority of the students’ studio work is developed and guided by mentors in subsequent terms, the summer provides valuable peer-to-peer observation and focus guided by the MFA Chair and visiting artists and faculty.

Each week during the intensive, the program hosts a Visiting Artist or Scholar, introducing MFA students to the breadth of contemporary artistic, scholarly, philosophical, and cultural voices.

Graduate Seminars expose students to contemporary art histories, strategies, artists, curators, critics, and systems that influence and drive the expansion of the current art world. In these courses art and theory are approached in an interconnected fashion, with an emphasis on the flow and interchange of significant ideas between the visual and the textual—art in dialogue with theory and history. These seminars provide students with an intellectual community and critical forum in which they may test, temper, and enlarge the ideas that underlie their artistic goals.

Learn more about the curriculum


For students unable to commit 18-24 months of their lives to full-time schooling this program provides a platform to engage in rigorous study with a diverse range of contemporary cultural voices. Students gather on-campus each summer for an eight-week intensive that includes:

  • Graduate seminars
  • Critiques
  • Studio visits
  • Visiting artist lectures and demonstrations
  • Intensive periods of studio practice

2018 Summer schedule

June 6 Studio move in
June 11 Orientation 
June 12 Academic Session Begins
June 13-July 25 Wednesday evening Visiting Artist Lectures 
August 2 Thesis exhibition opening 
August 7 Academic session concludes 
August 8 Graduation
August 12 Studio move out 

2019 Winter Intensive

January 5 Arrival and orientation 
January 7- 11 Academic programing 
January 13 Winter program conclusion 

Studio spaces

Each student receives his or her own studio space where they develop new work as well as have one-on-one studio visits and critiques with visiting artists. The Summer Intensive studios are located on campus where students have access to PNCA’s robust and varied centers for making, including digital production studios, sculpture shops, print studios, and more. Each week during the intensive a Visiting Artist or Scholar is hosted by the program introducing MFA students to the breadth of contemporary artistic, scholarly, philosophical and cultural voices. Each summer the Low-Residency MFA also hosts an Artist-in-Residence who works for an extended period within the program. Visiting Artists, Scholars, and Artists-in-Residence are selected specifically in response to the MFA students within the program and their areas of inquiry.

Fall & Spring Semesters

The Fall and Spring semesters are periods of deeper contemplation and productivity during which the MFA students work off-site in their personal studios to incorporate the ideas and insights gained from the Summer into their studio practice, research, and writing. The MFA Chair assists in the selection of a local mentor for these semesters, an expert in the student’s area of focus who will provide guidance and support while maintaining the rigorous standards of the program. This mentorship is an integral component of the program bringing diversity, richness and depth of experience to the MFA candidates. 

During five days in January, students meet on campus for Winter reviews during which they receive feedback on work produced during the Fall and engage in intensive seminars and short workshops.

Aeron Bergman

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