Pratt Institute’s MFA program provides advanced education for artists supported by a distinguished faculty, exceptional facilities, and a supportive community of peers. Driven by exploration and enriched by the abundance and inspiration of New York City, Pratt’s critically engaged faculty respond to each student’s individual practice, fostering their development within the diverse cultures and myriad practices of contemporary art-making.
Pratt’s MFA Fine Arts degree supports interdisciplinary practice. Many students remain committed to the area of interest that they identified upon entering the program—whether painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture or integrated practices—however, they are free to explore other forms and approaches as their work evolves. Faculty and students build close relationships through structured studio visits, seminars, and informal conversations. These relationships create a vital community and supportive network that endures long after graduation.
We are a vibrant, socially-engaged and generous community! The department initiates many discussions around contemporary issues and collaborates with arts organizations to ensure we actively participate in the cultural life of the surrounding neighborhood, as well as broader national and international communities. Two such initiatives are Project Third and PIE. Project Third is a ten-week gallery residency where we invite artists/collaborative groups whose community work is research-oriented and/or motivated by the desire to instigate social change. This supports aligned programming and connects the residency work to our students. Recent residents include artist Shaun Leonardo (2019) and the collaborative BFAMFAPhD (2018). PIE (Pratt Institute Editions) works with artists and alumni to produce limited edition prints in collaboration with our students. We actively consider innovative ways to make sure that we are part of the cultural conversation and include students in developing these initiatives.
The curriculum is both rigorous and flexible, offering wide latitude for exploration while fostering critical perspectives and a deeper understanding of the histories, issues, cultural and transdisciplinary contexts that inform art practices today. With the art world on our doorstep, there are many opportunities to meet influential contemporary curators, critics and cultural producers. Professional practice education is integrated throughout the program, providing students the tools they need to make their way as professional artists and cultural innovators after graduation.
Our faculty are active professional artists distinguished by their numerous national and international exhibitions and inclusion in major publications. Many have also received significant awards from prestigious organizations such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Creative Capital, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Graduate Fine Arts facilities are outstanding. Students have individual studios located in the Pfizer Building, a renovated industrial building that also houses our fabrication shops, temporary exhibition spaces, seminar rooms, and a student lounge. Campus facilities include a fully equipped woodshop, metal shop, print shop, ceramics studios, darkrooms, and a digital output lab with high-resolution scanners and printers, as well as dedicated campus galleries. There are many opportunities to show work in a variety of traditional and non-traditional spaces and students are encouraged to curate self-initiated exhibitions. In both fall and spring, MFA students host a public open studio event. In the spring second-year students mount individual thesis capstone exhibitions and have the option of showing their work in a curated group show at Pratt Manhattan Gallery.
Visiting Artists, Curators , and Critics
In addition to a regular schedule of studio visits by faculty members, the department’s Visiting Artists Lecture Series (VALS) brings internationally renowned artists to campus to give public lectures and conduct individual studio visits with graduate students. Pratt Artists League (PAL, the Fine Arts graduate student club) invites artists, curators, and critics for studio visits, and organizes open studios as well as other student-generated programming and exhibitions.
Fine Arts alumni thrive. Graduates have been accepted into prestigious residencies such as Skowhegan, Black Rock, Senegal, MacDowell Colony, the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, the Elizabeth Foundation, the Siena Art Institute, and the Whitney Independent Study Program. Our alumni have exhibited at museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum, and MoMA, along with galleries such as Miguel Abreu, James Cohan, Marianne Boesky, Lyles & King, Lehmann Maupin, Matthew Marks, Minus Space, Pierogi, and Jack Tilton.
They have received grants from around the world such as Anonymous Was A Woman, Banditto Art Award, Creative Capital, the Dedalus Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant, and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Their work is represented in international public and private collections including the Guggenheim Museum, the Studio Museum of Harlem, the National Gallery, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, and the Panza Collection.
Graduates have careers as professors at schools such as Hunter College, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Cooper Union, and Columbia University(Adding an international school here would be useful since internationally was stated). Many also find their place in the world as writers, gallerists, and curators, or working in the community as social justice advocates, educators, and change-makers. Others forge their own paths and become innovators in many emerging creative fields.
Graduating from our Fine Arts MFA program is just the beginning!
Upcoming and recent artists for our Visiting Artists Lecture Series include: Diana Al-Hadid, Korakrit Arunanaondchai, Judith Bernstein, Michael Berryhill, Wafaa Bilal, The Black School, Pradeep Dalal, Nicole Eisenman, Rochelle Feinstein, Keltie Ferris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Schezerade Garcia, Rico Gatson, Nancy Grossman, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Michelle Handelman, Daniel Heidkamp, James Hyde,Savannah Knoop, Leigh Ledare, Kalup Linzey, Jill Magid, Ibrahim Mahama, Dora + Maja, Lavar Munroe, Narcissister, Rashaad Newsome, Catherine Opie, Alexis Rockman, Carrie Schneider, Shahzia Sikander, Lorna Simpson, Tom Sachs, Aura Satz, Peter Saul, Mary Walling-Blackburn, Dan Walsh, Phoebe Washburn, Guido Van Der Werve, Anicka Yi, Bryan Zanisnik
We program events throughout the year. 2018/19 events included: Open Exchange: Belonging and Long Table both led by School of Art Visiting Fellow Shaun Leonardo. Each Spring, we also annual all-inclusive 2nd-year exhibition at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, last year we had guest curator LeRonn P. Brooks curate an exhibition of over 40 graduating students entitled ALL IN.
We have relaunched a print edition series entitled Pratt Institute Editions (PIE) working with both alumni and professional artists beyond Pratt to develop original print series. We have also mounted exhibitions featuring the prints from then and now.
For the past two years in a row our department has participated in the UNTITLED Art Fair in Miami where we featured work by alumni and raised scholarships funds for our MFA program.