What is the difference between a BFA and MFA?
BFA assumes that you are a dry sponge, willing and able to soak up a
wide variety of techniques, insights, and “stuff”…
that you are not bringing anything to the table, necessarily, other
than “raw” talent or an inclination. The goal of the program is a
"basically trained" artist with broad-brush experience in a lot of
different things and a little bit of depth in one or two.
MFA assumes that you have a set of knowledge, experience and
techniques on which to build toward your own goals. Rather than being
a wide open sponge, you’re more like a crevice tool on a vacuum
cleaner - pulling in as much as possible from a much more narrow
direction and focus. The goal of the program is to develop mastery in
a discipline, resulting in a “master-piece”
What would you want to experience in a Craft MFA?
To develop mastery in any craft, I strongly believe you need
challenging assignments that build both knowledge and confidence.
That includes a rich collection of “guest instructors” with deep
expertise in specific areas who can supplement the school’s own
instructors. It also includes developing relationships with
businesses in the field to place students in externships and research
internships that have “meat” to them (i.e., that aren’t “spent the
summer filing paperwork” opportunities, but that have the students
take on real responsibilities and produce actual work in the business
In addition to the mastery of the craft medium of interest (which is
absolutely critical), the MFA also needs a strong focus on the
business end of craft… how to survive and thrive as an artist,
gallery owner, curator, or whatever. That includes marketing,
accounting, law, effective speaking, business
writing/communications… possibly some web design and photography,
The other thing that is missing from every program I’ve seen so far
is a recognition and structure that supports WORKING ADULTS. The main
reason I don’t have an MFA is that my life doesn’t allow for the
flexibility to drop everything, stop working for 2 years, and go
full-time. A combination of distance work and evening/weekend options
(like executive MBA programs) would make all the difference.
Hope this helps!
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry