MFA in Public Practice

MFA in Public Practice

Otis College of Art and Design

From top left: Andrea Bowers, Educate, Agitate, Organize, 2010. Channel letter signs, 27 x 66 x 5.5 inches each; Neda Moridpour, The Auntie Raoch or Khale Suske; Chiristina Sanchez Juarez, Cocina Abierta Community Cooking Show; David Russell and Roberto Del Hoyo, Mobile Mural Lab; Jules Rochielle Sievert, Social Design Collective.
January 14, 2016
MFA in Public Practice

Otis College of Art & Design
9045 Lincoln Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045

What is Social Practice?
Otis College of Art and Design MFA in Public Practice students answer this question for themselves, each in their own unique way. Their projects take students into urban neighborhoods, rural farm communities and across the globe. After leaving our program they are equipped with the skills to ask important questions and work with others to create art that inspires and seeks change. They are continually exploring the boundaries of the question: What is social practice? And, they put their answers into art and actions, such as:

Neda Moridpour‘s journey (upper left) to create awareness of violence against women has taken her to Iran, where she was born, to China, to Boston, where she now teaches.

Christina Sanchez Juarez (upper right) works with customers, laborers, and unions to bring awareness to the conditions of back-of-house restaurant workers, particularly immigrants.

Roberto Del Hoyo and David Russell (lower left) combined skills as professional muralists into a Mobil Mural Lab that offers participants a chance to express themselves while learning about the politics of public space.

Jules Rochelle Sievert (lower right) is the primary researcher and program developer of the NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law, and currently supports women veterans in a project in Harlem.

If you aspire to change and engage the world through your art, this may be the place for you. Otis College of Art and Design’s MFA in Public Practice is the only accredited program in the Southern California region dedicated exclusively to providing artists with advanced skills in social practice art. These include studio-based art-making skills along with learning how to identify key issues, promote public discourse, and catalyze social change in Institutions, neighborhoods, on the street and in other public contexts.

Students design individual educational plans that offer latitude for individual interests. They shape their own direction under the guidance of a stellar faculty of curators and artists. As a premier art school, we have an extensive menu of elective courses in digital media, performance, photography, sculpture, video, design, and writing to round out a student’s individual program. Working across disciplines, our students combine object making, performance, research, writing, tactical media, or community organizing in projects that integrate studio art practices with social engagement.

Los Angeles is the dynamic setting for this program, but the world is our campus; students have opportunities to travel through Otis Study Abroad classes and individual field mentorships with outstanding international artists. Under the eight years of leadership by LA artist Suzanne Lacy, renowned artist, educator, and theorist of socially engaged art, our students explore a deeply participatory art that often flourishes outside the gallery and museum system. Our mission is to prepare artists to contribute to equitable and pluralistic societies through art production, collaboration, and working with communities.

The long list of stellar international guests includes MacArthur Fellow Rick Lowe; Sally Tallant, director of the Liverpool Biennial; community activist Patrice Cullers, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; and internationally known artists Jeanne Van Heeswik, Pablo Helguera, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Andrea Bowers.

We are proud of the many ways our alumni contribute to shaping new notions of social practice and equity. Join our community of students and alumni for a two-year MFA Public Practice program at Otis College of Art and Design and put your principles into action.


Otis College of Art and Design MFA in Public Practice

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