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2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin

Department of Art

College of Fine Arts

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Chair: Carolyn Henne; Professors: Garcia-Roig, Hanessian, Henne, Lindbloom, Messersmith, Stewart, Weishar, Williams; Associate Professors: Baade, Bookwalter, Mann, Roberson, Rushin; Assistant Professors: Beekman, Cheung, Duarte, Torop; Assistant Teaching Professors: Comellas, Curry; Associate in Art: Stagg; Professors Emeriti: Bell, Blakely, Burggraff, Fichter, Hartwell, Rubini, Rutkovsky

The Department of Art offers a course of study leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. The program is national in orientation and contributes to the cultural life of the University, the Tallahassee community, and the state of Florida. The strength of the department lies in the excellence of its artist-faculty members and their commitment to the personal practice of art as a vital part of a university.

A major role of the University is to maintain and develop a sense of research and inquiry. Within this context, students of the department are taught how to approach and solve visual problems in two and three dimensions. The program has several general goals: to stimulate students to the free expression of their creative ideas, to provide instruction in the skills and techniques necessary to this expression, and to guide students to an understanding of contemporary issues in the visual arts.

The curriculum of the Department of Art is largely designed to train professional studio artists, giving students the discipline and artistic understanding required for life as practitioners. Students develop the capacity for creative thinking and a sense of open inquiry, together with a thorough awareness of the multiplicity of new and traditional principles, thus enabling them to make a valuable contribution as artists, teachers, or arts administrators. For more information about our program, visit the Department of Art Web site at


It is the graduate student’s responsibility, in concert with his or her faculty, to find the appropriate media with which to express an original aesthetic vision. Work may be done in ceramics, electronic media, design, drawing, painting, performance, photography, printmaking, sculpture, video or any combination. The studio workshop class structure and interdisciplinary freedom that is part of the departmental philosophy allow the ideas to dictate the medium that students use.

Student and Faculty Responsibilities

Just as the primary responsibility rests with the students to find their own appropriate media, they are also expected to find an articulate visual language. The MFA program is for those persons who are ambitious and willing to grow as artists. As students, they must search for their own appropriate media and work toward becoming fluid practitioners in art. The faculty is challenged to respond to the students’ individual needs, helping them in their search for a personal position in their work.

The representative career choices for graduates in studio art include: professional studio artist (painter, sculptor, photographer, ceramicist, printmaker, multimedia artist, digital arts artist), designer, creative director, illustrator, and production artist, to name the most obvious. Some graduates of the MFA program choose careers in college teaching, while others pursue careers as exhibiting artists or freelance designers. Additionally, the program fosters interdisciplinary research and investigation, preparing artists who can embrace unknowable future career options. Faculty members are proactive in assisting students with individual professional goals both during and after their degree.


The department is housed in five locations, including large spaces converted to studio spaces and equipped to meet the needs of working artists. All MFA students are provided with a suitable space to work. In these spaces, students participate in group seminar classes and individual tutorials, and faculty members will typically visit the studio and talk about specific problems suggested by the work, or they may bring up more general artistic issues or technical problems. These discussions may be formal reviews with the student’s thesis committee or may be very informal. A rich dialogue always occurs among students.

Graduate students also have access to the department’s photography labs, sculpture labs, computer labs, digital fabrication labs, printmaking labs, sound and video editing lab and installation rooms. The Facility for Arts Research (FAR) is a research facility that provides graduate students with an opportunity to work with visiting artists and researchers on arts projects that investigate the integration of digital technologies with traditional processes. The Working Method Contemporary gallery provides an exhibition space devoted to regular MFA exhibitions while also serving other departmental uses. This space offers monthly exhibition opportunities with excellent public exposure.

Visiting Artist and Scholar Program

The Department of Art recognizes the value of presenting diverse experiences to our students, and the visiting artist and scholar program is essential to this goal. An active visiting artist and scholar program brings in artists, designers and critics from all parts of the country who are experts in their field. They will usually give a public lecture, as well as student critiques, seminars and workshops. The University’s annual celebration of Opening Nights Performing Arts also brings prominent artists, critics, and historians to the campus.

Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA)

The Museum of Fine Arts is an integral part of the educational mission of the department. It has a tradition of originating exhibitions of important contemporary and historical issues, as well as bringing to the community some of the best shows other galleries have originated. The program regularly includes national and regional competitions and invitational, faculty, and student exhibitions, along with lectures and symposia devoted to significant developments in art history and art criticism. Graduating students display their thesis exhibitions in the museum. The University and the city offer a variety of other exhibition spaces.

Art History

Art history and criticism are an essential part of the MFA program with at least three courses required. A broad range of courses is available to help provide depth of understanding of fundamental artistic issues.

Financial Assistance

The art department offers financial support in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, and technical or laboratory assistantships. Those who are interested in a teaching assistantship are required to take an art pedagogy course prior to the award. Technical assistantships may be awarded to first-year, second-year, and/or third-year students. Teaching assistantships may be awarded in the second and/or third year of residency except in the case of students with a master’s degree or equivalent teaching experience, who may be awarded a teaching assistantship earlier. Financial assistance is awarded based on merit. For more specific information, see the “Financial Information” chapter of this Graduate Bulletin.

Graduate Students are also eligible for the following:

  • Legacy Fellowships worth $10,000 per year for three years;
  • The Florence Teaching Award. Recipients receive airfare, a teaching stipend, money toward housing, travel expenses for field trips, and assistance securing a solo show in Italy.



In addition to University admission requirements, the department requires that all applicants submit a portfolio of twenty images of recent original work and an artist’s statement describing and contextualizing the work submitted for review. Where it is necessary, other media, such as video, may be submitted. The Department of Art faculty admits graduate students in the Fall of each year. Please go to the the Department of Art Graduate Program Web site at for more specific admission information and a link to the MFA Handbook. The Department of Art no longer requires the GRE examination if the applicant has a 3.0 or better cumulative average on work undertaken at the undergraduate level.


The MFA is a terminal degree for those who wish to practice studio art, teach at the college level, or function in a curatorial role. It is a three-year residency with a minimum requirement of sixty semester hours at the graduate level. The program includes a minimum of thirty-two semester hours in studio art, eleven hours of electives within or outside the department, a minimum of three courses (nine hours) in art history at the graduate level, and a minimum of eight hours toward preparation of the graduate thesis exhibition and written component. All students are required to write a thesis paper as part of their graduation thesis exhibition. The thesis paper defines the intensive research leading up to the thesis exhibition and cites the student’s artwork within a larger context.

Review Process

The student progresses through the MFA program by passing a series of reviews held each semester. During these reviews students present their work and engage in a constructive dialogue with the faculty. The students must pass their final formal committee reviews in conjunction with their thesis exhibition; students who do not pass are required to resubmit their work at a later time. For specific details regarding reviews, please go to the MFA Handbook

Definition of Prefix

ARE—Art Education



Graduate Courses in Studio Art

ARE 5387. Teaching College Art (3). This course fosters the development of skills, knowledge, and experience needed for effective post-secondary art instruction.

ART 5898. Art, Technology, and Critical Theory (3). This course provides an overview of selected contemporary art theory in parallel with an introduction to a range of digital new media art practices.

Graduate Workshops

The workshop system permits the student to select professors based on the students’ interests and needs.

ART 5410. Graduate Printmaking (3). This course leads to extensive development of printmaking techniques, concepts, and presentation strategies in support of personal aesthetic development.

ART 5790. Graduate Ceramics (3). This course leads to the extensive development of ceramic techniques, concepts, and presentation strategies in support of personal aesthetic development.

ART 5818r. Graduate Painting and Drawing (3-18). Prerequisite: Must be enrolled in MFA Program. This course is designed to allow for in-depth, directed exploration of the many possibilities of painting. This critique-based course is designed to develop the mature students toward a cohesive portfolio. May be repeated to a maximum of eighteen semester hours.

ART 5907r. Directed Individual Study (1–4). (S/U grade only).

ART 5927Cr. Graduate Workshop (1–4). May be repeated to a maximum of fifty-one semester hours within the same term.

ART 5928Cr. Graduate Workshop (1–6). Prerequisite: ART 5927C. May be repeated to a maximum of fifty-one semester hours within the same term.

ART 5929Cr. Graduate Workshop (4). Prerequisites: ART 5927C and ART 5928C. May be repeated to a maximum of twenty-eight semester hours within the same term.

ART 5940r. Supervised Teaching (1–3). (S/U grade only). May be repeated to a maximum of five semester hours.

ART 5955. Digital Portfolio (3). This course offers practical techniques and tools for creating a digital portfolio in support of an artistic practice in any medium.

ART 5972r. Graduate Show and Thesis (1–8). (S/U grade only). Students sign up for this course in preparation for their Show and Thesis review. This is typically during their fifth and sixth semesters of residency. A minimum of six semester hours credit is required. May be repeated to a maximum of twelve semester hours.

PGY 5930. Graduate Photography (3). This course offers a multi-disciplinary discussion forum on current photographic movements and ideas within the world of art, as well as studio experience for the creation of personal artworks.