Program Description


The MFA in Visual Studies is a multidisciplinary, mentor-based program that encourages experienced makers to refine and expand their creative practice through independent inquiry and critical approaches to visual art production. The program’s flexible structure allows students to pursue a single discipline, such as painting, or a combined practice that bridges or hybridizes multiple disciplines and media, such as installation, performance, digital fabrication, writing, ceramics, photography, printmaking, sculpture, sound, video, and AR/VR.

In addition to working with dedicated PNCA faculty, students receive one-on-one mentorships, drawing from a deep network of artists, critical thinkers, writers, and curators in the Portland area, as well as lectures, studio visits, and workshops from a dynamic roster of acclaimed visiting artists and guests.

Outside of critique seminars and studio practice, there are opportunities for experiential learning through exhibitions, fellowships, residencies, and national and international travel. This is a program for experimental makers who are looking to refine and expand their creative practice, situate and articulate their critical framework, and build a professional network of peers and advocates.

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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

MFA/MA Option

Our dual-degree pathway allows you to combine an MFA in Visual Studies with an MA in Critical Studies and complete both degrees in three years. This option is designed for writers, researchers, and makers whose practices are informed and expanded by critical theory.

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Get in touch

Reach out to Garrick Imatani, Chair of Visual Studies, to schedule a time to talk.

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