Interview with Mr. Frank Lind, Dean

Interview with Mr. Frank Lind, Dean

at Pratt Institute, School of Art and Design

What are the top three reasons that students choose to pursue a graduate degree in the visual arts?

Love of art; perceived need for an advanced degree; desire for uninterrupted time to pursue the art in which they are engaged.

Professionally speaking, why should students pursue graduate programs in art? What advantages can they attain from it? When is the best time to pursue one?

Training in the art; networking; and, for many jobs in the art, one must have an advanced degree - for example, having an MFA will not necessarily get you a college teaching job, but to get a college teaching job, you must have an MFA.

What are the three most important factors that prospective students should consider when evaluating and choosing a graduate program in the visual arts?

Faculty, facilities, and location

How is your graduate art program different than those at other schools? How is technology integrated into your programs?

At Pratt, you are immersed in a big school of art and design with comprehensive offerings - a lot of serendipity occurs. This means that, because there are many different departments at Pratt, one can come here and realize that there is a dual degree in art history; or that you can also get K-12 certification while getting your MFA; also, there is a big film and video program, computer graphics program, etc. We're in New York City, which is the world's art capital. Lastly, Pratt has a large campus - we occupy a 25 acre garden with trees, lawn, outdoor sculpture, and lots of studio space

How selective are graduate schools for the visual arts, and what are some hot tips for getting accepted?

Pratt is very selective. I don't think that people are careful enough with their portfolios - that's what will make you or break you, no matter how many good references you might have. Either do it yourself very carefully, or get somone else to take professional slides of your work. Try to present evidence that you are already doing something. This is a research program, a community of artists, and we're looking for people who are already well on their way.

How do most students fund their graduate education? How available are scholarships and other forms of financial assistance at your school?

Loans and assistanships, but they're not teaching assistantships. Working with teachers or helping technicians in the wood shop or welding shop, etc. Assistanships are excellent part-time jobs, but the vast number of students finance the bulk of their education with loans, which are quite available.

There are scholarships which tend to accrue to first year students; assistantships to second year students.

Can an MFA include a focus on just about any visual art discipline? What's the difference between an MFA with a specialization and an MA in any given specialty?

Yes, we have an MFA in computer graphics, as well as traditional arts. MFA is a terminal degree - the highest degree you can get - there's no doctorate you can get in fine arts. Usually, an MFA is a longer degree, 60 credits, compared to most MAs, which tend to be 32 credits. The place it counts most is in academia.

How does your school help its students to find jobs in the visual arts?

We have a career services department, and an alumni office. Beyond that, one of the major advantages of an MFA program like ours is the networking, including the critics and gallery people who we bring out to the school.

Tell us about some of your MFA graduates.

Bob Blanton, owner and master printer for Brand X Editions in NYC - they do fine art silkscreen for top name artists like Chuck Close

Denise Mullen, Associate Dean for Undergraduate programs at the Corcoran Institute in Washington, DC

Janice Farley, chair of Fine Arts Department at the City University of New York (CUNY), Kingsboro.

Tell us about some of your noteworthy faculty.

Ross Neher, noted artist who shows in New York and recently came out with a book, Blindfolding the Muse: The Plight of Painting in the Age of Conceptual Art

Robert Morgan, a noted critic

Marjorie Welish, another noted critic and author of a book of art criticism, Signifying Art: Essays on Art After 1960

Linda Francis, a painter who shows in New York and is known to afficianados.

Graduate Program Profile: Pratt Institute, School of Art and Design

Enrollment: 4,200 as a whole; 3,000 in school of art

School Tuition (in-state/out-of-state): $750 per credit

Student/Faculty Ratio: 4.5/1

Graduate degrees and programs offered in visual arts: MFA in Studio Art; Industrial Design; Interior Design; Computer Graphics, Art History; Communications Design; Design Management

The mission of your graduate art school: Training of artists.

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