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Graduate studies programs


#1

Hi everyone

I am looking into applying for my MFA in jewelry for the fall of 09
or 10 and was wondering what people thought of the different
programs out there. My metalsmithing training has been a mix of
undergraduate jewelry studios while going for art education, class
at local art centers, and peter valley workshops. I know US news and
report ranked the top five programs but i was interested in what
everyone here had to say.

Thanks!
Meghan


#2

The first question is: What do you want? Where do you envision
yourself in five years? This should be about your needs, you visions
first.

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sharon
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc


#3
I am looking into applying for my MFA in jewelry for the fall of
09 or 10 and was wondering what people thought of the different
programs out there. My metalsmithing training has been a mix of
undergraduate jewelry studios while going for art education, class
at local art centers, and peter valley workshops. I know US news
and report ranked the top five programs but i was interested in
what everyone here had to say. 

A lot of the choice you should be making would depend on what sort
of directions you are hoping to follow. Various programs differ quite
a bit in their strengths and emphasis. For example, if you’re
fascinated with Digital techniques, CAD/CAM, RP, or similar
computer-centric approaches to the field, you’d have a hard time
finding a stronger program than that at Tyler School of Art, part of
Temple University in Philadelphia. That program, under Stanley
Lechtzin, was one of the first pioneering programs in the country to
really explore and center on these technologies. If, however, you’re
looking for in depth exploration with other like minded students into
ancient techniques, or the fashion jewelry world, or traditional
silversmithing and hollow ware, then each of these would suggest a
different set of potential schools. And not necessarily what U.S.
News thinks they know about it. I doubt they were weighing the real
differences in emphasis between programs.

Peter


#4

I agree with Peter that you should largely ignore the US News and
World Reports info… both undergraduate and graduate.

Look at the work of current students and recent graduates - do they
show the skills you wish to acquire at the level you wish to acquire
them?

Where have their recent graduates gone to work - is this where you
want to be?

Do they offer any business classes (if you think you might want to
ever be in business for yourself you will need some!)? If not, is
there somewhere nearby that does?

What kind of placement services do they offer? How affordable is
housing in the area?

I attended Cranbrook Academy of Art years and years ago (not in
metals), and they had a metals program, but no business offerings at
all. Strictly “art”. So that is another thing to look at - are you
wanting the “art” of metalsmithing, or the craft of it?

Good luck!
Beth in SC


#5

There certainly are a lot of MFAs on this forum. I would hope that
there are also some professors. Very interesting how few are taking
the opportunity to promote their programs.

Do they offer any business classes (if you think you might want to
ever be in business for yourself you will need some!)? If not, is
there somewhere nearby that does? 

An important thing to look for. If you bring up business and they go
on about how above that sort of thing an artist should be, you will
know that they are deliberately out of touch with careers outside the
ivory tower.

I went to three art schools. The first one was strongly
anti-commercial, but had a good reputation and famous professors. The
other two, Syracuse University and SIU Carbondale did make an effort
to give students some real life knowledge of what it takes to make a
living outside of education. Several days were devoted to business.
Not a lot, but at least they were not hostile to the idea. Several
years later I ran into one of my professors from the first school and
he was VERY surprised that I was making a living off the sale of my
work. I guess he was not used to seeing that happen. It is quite
common for graduates of Carbondale and Syracuse Metals programs from
the same period (1970s - 1980s) to be earning their living from the
sale of their work.

So, like Beth wrote, look for a program that has successfully sent
graduates on to the sort of career you want for yourself. You will
have too much time and money invested in it to settle for less.

Stephen Walker


#6
Several years later I ran into one of my professors from the first
school and he was VERY surprised that I was making a living off the
sale of my work. I guess he was not used to seeing that happen. 

In 1978 I studied sculpture for 2 semesters with Michael Lantz. We
kind of developed friendly relationship. Most of the students in the
class were simply looking for the way to spend their inheritance. I
had background in sculpture, so he took a notice. He strongly advised
me to look for something different than sculpture in order to make a
living. He would always used himself as an example of how financially
unrewarding the profession of sculptor is.

He was in his seventies, and he thought that he could not afford to
retire. At a time, he was teaching in National Academy of Arts; he
had another job in Philadelphia Mint; he was consulting on sale of
Henry Moore collection; and a few other projects. An interesting note
is that he was driving a Silver Shadow and he had a house in Old
Saybrook, Connecticut. Hardly a humble existence.

Michael Lantz was truly remarkable artist and he did not have a
single business bone in this body, and he did quite alright just been
himself.

What is the moral of this story? If someone offers you an art
program with business courses, do not walk away from this offer, but
run and never look back !

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com