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Program Description


The MFA in Visual Studies is a multidisciplinary, mentor- based program that encourages independent inquiry and supports critical approaches to the production of visual art. The program’s flexible structure and nature allow students to pursue a single discipline, such as painting, or a combined practice that bridges multiple disciplines and media, such as installation, painting, performance, photography, printmaking, sculpture, sound, and video.

As a complement to intensive one-on-one faculty mentorships, students benefit from contact with a rich network of instructors, critical thinkers, writers, and curators in the Portland area, as well as from exposure to a dynamic roster of acclaimed visiting artists and curators. In addition, seminars, lectures, exhibition opportunities, and national and international travel add to a rigorous and investigative educational experience. This is a program for experienced makers who are looking to refine and expand their creative practice.

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Student Work


VS profoundly catapulted my art career. While there, I took advantage of everything offered: Global studio in Mexico, NYC trip, Caldera, Graduate galleries fellowship, the best cohort, chair, and coordinator I could ask for. All of which has guided me to a steady, critical, and ambitious art practice.

Angélica Maria Millán Lozano ‘17

Program Highlight

The Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series

A dynamic and essential part of the curriculum in each graduate program, The Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series brings artists, scholars, designers, curators, and critics from around the globe to engage with students and the wider community in a variety of formats, including lectures, conversations, panel discussions, group critiques, workshops, and studio visits. These visiting art practitioners contribute to, challenge, and expand the academic and artistic discourse at PNCA, extending the opportunities for instruction and learning.

Get in touch

Get in touch with Sharita Towne, who oversees the MFA in Visual Studies.

Email MFA in Visual Studies Coordinator, Jessie Werner, to schedule a tour.

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