Otis College of Art and Design’s MFA in Public Practice

Otis College of Art and Design’s MFA in Public Practice

Otis College of Art and Design

Andrea Bowers, Educate, Agitate, Organize, 2010.
Channel letter signs: low voltage LED lights, plexiglass, aluminum. Each sign: 27′ x 66′ x 5.5′.
November 30, 2011
Otis College of Art and Design’s MFA in Public Practice


Otis College of Art and Design’s MFA in Public Practice, founded by artist and author Suzanne Lacy and taught by a team of internationally known curators and artists, offers a rare opportunity for artists interested in political, social and public practices. Students situate themselves as emerging professionals by speaking on and exhibiting their work. Los Angeles’ vast human and spatial geography acts as a discursive field against which students engage with local and international practitioners in an environment of intense personal learning, art production and critique.


As the only educational program in California with a degree exclusively dedicated to providing artists with advanced skills for working in the public sphere, Otis focuses on both collaborative and individual art production.


The four-semester studio sequence begins with a collaborative project that results in an exhibition or public presentation, providing students with critical real-world experience. The next three semesters offer in-depth critique on individual projects by faculty and visiting artists, curators, and critics. With studio facilities in the historic 18th Street Art Center and on the Otis campus, students work interdisciplinarily using writing, theory, sculpture, photography, video, installation, web-based and performance art. The full range of Otis shops, equipment, faculty, courses, and library is available for students’ production.


Students design a unique educational plan to fit their interests, with the latitude to experience both community and studio contexts. The emphasis on clarifying professional goals encompasses practical and conceptual skills, including making, public speaking, networking and writing. Students travel individually or as a group to explore cultures as diverse as a small farming town in the San Joaquin Valley or hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.  Professional practice is stressed in field internships, methodologies, independent study, and other opportunities for one-on-one relationship building with artists around the world.


On graduation, students present their own significant and expansive project in a final exhibition that guides them in their transition into the profession. They establish a critical voice through a written thesis exploring the geographic, historical, and social contexts for their work and its relationship to participants and audiences.


The MFA in Public Practice program emphasizes connections necessary for success in the visual arts: between students as they learn collaboration; between each individual and the field, through mentorship opportunities; and between Los Angeles and key international art scenes through travel internships.


Otis Public Practice students have worked closely with professionals like Kim Abeles, Edgar Arceneaux, Mario Ybarra Jr., Rachel Rosenthal, L.A. Urban Rangers, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Rick Lowe, Richard Montoya of Culture Clash,  S.A. Bachman, Nao Bustamonte, Mel Chin, Teddy Cruz, Sam Durant, Future Farmers, Miriam Ghani, Fritz Haeg, Grant Kester, Nav Haq, Willie Herrón, Dolores Huerta, Olga Koumoundoros, Karen Moss, Nobuho Nagasawa, Tone Olaf Nielsen, Martha Rosler, Temporary Services, Carol Stakenas, Philipp Kaiser,  Andrea Bowers,  Sally Tallant, Claude Willey, Lowell Darling, Emi Fontana, Lucy Lippard, Tania Bruguera, Bonnie Sherk, Rita Gonzalez, Lucia Sanroman and Tirdad Zolghadr.


Luncheon and 1st Year Studio Project Presentations – Wed. December 14th 2011 @ 12PM 


Please RSVP to Consuelo Velasco Montoya at [email protected] or 310 846-2610


Otis offers graduate degrees in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing. Get one-on-one instruction from world-renowned faculty who are important players in the global art and design communities. While each of these graduate programs is distinct, the Los Angeles network includes the most sought-after visiting artists, designers and writers, as well as constant dialogues with museums, galleries, and cultural institutions.


Apply by: January 15, 2012


To request a viewbook, please visit: www.otis.edu/admissions/graduate_admissions/graduate_information.html


For information on Otis Graduate programs visit: www.otis.edu


With questions e-mail: [email protected]


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November 30, 2011

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