The University of Louisville has admitted the first class of students in its new Master of Fine Arts in visual art program. The three MFA candidates – two from the region and one from New York – start in the fall.
The University of Kentucky offers the only other visual art MFA in the state, but U of L expects to distinguish their program with an interdisciplinary approach that pulls in the university’s programs in hot glass, graphic design, interior architecture and curatorial studies.
“We look at this as an entrepreneurial degree, where the students are actually developing their abilities in an array of areas – leadership, artistic vision, community engagement, many different things, so they are better equipped to adapt and evolve in an ever-changing marketplace,” says acting Fine Arts department chair Scott Massey.
The university expects the Speed Art Museum to be a source of internships and a collaborative partner in bringing artists and programs to the campus once the museum re-opens.
Massey says each candidate will be fully funded through a combination of scholarships and graduate student assistantships, so they can graduate with minimal student loan debt.
“When they get finished, what we want to see is that they’re able to move out into the world with their creative vision and make applications and generate new opportunities that haven’t existed before in a way that they become the most valuable players,” he says.
They will work in existing studio space, but the university is also in an active search for a new facility to showcase the emerging department’s work.
The university approved the MFA program last June after more than a decade of development. U of L had tied the program to the Museum Plaza development and it stalled when the museum project was canceled due to funding issues in 2011.