Q&A with MFA candidates

Q&A with MFA candidates

Maine College of Art & Design

January 29, 2024
Q&A with MFA candidates
MFA students discuss Maine College of Art & Design’s Summer Intensive
Maine College of Art & Design
522 Congress St
Portland, Maine 04101
United States
Hours: Monday–Sunday 9pm–7am

T +1 800 699 1509

Tell us about your work and approach. Did it evolve during this year’s summer intensive program?
The Summer Intensive had an incredible impact on my creative practice. I came into the program from a background in commercial art and design, and was largely unsure of what sort of work I wanted to make in grad school. The guidance of the teachers, the inspiring visiting artists, the close friendships I made within the cohort, and the 24/7 access to studios allowed me the perfect balance of structure and freedom to grow as an artist and begin to engage my work and approach in a whole new way. —Jordan Awan MFA ‘25

Why did you choose to pursue your MFA at Maine College of Art & Design?
When I began researching grad programs, I knew that I wanted an interdisciplinary program so I could be exposed to different mediums and creative approaches. I was also conscious of the financial impact grad school would initially have, so I was looking at schools that were known for having good funding and were understanding of students who were working while attending school. What was unique about Maine College of Art & Design compared to other schools I was considering was the fact that it is a smaller school. From the application process to class structure, from the MFA administrative team to the professors, you are supported every step of the way. You feel welcomed into a community from the beginning, and that is something I really value. —Ryan Swedenborg MFA ‘25

What surprised you most about the program when you started?
What surprised me the most was the amount of visitors we got during the summer intensive. I didn’t really have a clue of what to expect, and I’m so glad I didn’t! It kept me in the right mindset. Having a visiting Artist come to your studio every week along with a rotating professor was definitely feedback overload! Now, with perspective and distance from the summer, I now understand how helpful and beneficial it was to be getting constant feedback from individuals who know nothing about your work but are genuine in helping you improve. —Jenna Girolamo MFA ’25

How would you describe your time during this year’s eight-week summer intensive in the Maine College of Art & Design studios?
Super intense! They don’t call it the summer intensive for nothing! But in the best way. It’s definitely a challenge and it’s anything but easy although it really sets you up for momentum. The high intensity immediately bonds you with your cohort and gets you into thinking and working. Plus it’s summer and the beach is only a ten minute drive away when you need to clear your head or get some new ideas. —Jenna Girolamo MFA ’25

What advice do you wish you had when you were deciding on an MFA program?
I was interrogating anyone I knew who had completed an MFA to tell me what to look for and prepare for when it came to grad school. One of my mentors who helped me navigate the grad school application process told me to look for three major things in an MFA program: Go where the people present kindly, where you like the work the current students are doing, and where you won’t financially wreck yourself. I’m grateful I took that advice to heart; it has left me confident in my choice of Maine College of Art & Design for grad school. —Ryan Swedenborg MFA ’25

Summer 2024 application deadlines
Full Tuition Scholarship Deadline: Sunday, January 21, 2024
Priority Application Deadline: Sunday, February 25, 2024
Rolling Admissions: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, as space permits until May 1, 2024

Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art at Maine College of Art
Supported by renowned faculty, visiting artists and carefully selected graduate advisors, the MFA in Studio Art curriculum emphasizes the intersection of studio practiceindividual research, and critical analysis. Students choose either a Low or Full Residency option. Maine College of Art & Design’s Full Residency MFA provides 24/7 access to private studios and staffed fabrication facilities where students work alongside peers and with local faculty. Among the first programs of its kind in the country, Maine College of Art & Design’s low residency MFA combines intense periods of on-campus instruction with the freedom and independence of working from any home location, anywhere in the world.

Graduate Programs at Maine College of Art & Design
Maine College of Art & Design offers a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art (MFA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and a Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies. Maine College of Art & Design’s community is diverse, and each new student adds immeasurably to the vibrancy of our community. Applications are evaluated individually, with consideration given to the strength of the portfolio and academic achievement.

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January 29, 2024

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