Director's Statement

Founded in 1981 as the first of its kind, Bard MFA is a nontraditional school for interdisciplinary study in the visual and creative arts.

How do I define my artistic practice in today’s world? Artists go to graduate school in the hope of answering this question. For two months every summer, Bard MFA assembles a community of practitioners, theoreticians and writers to make work and immerse themselves in contemporary art discourse. On average this microcosm includes 80 students with 12 core faculty and at least 30 visiting faculty. Students will have between 20 and 24 individual studio visits in a summer session and take part in at least three large group critiques. The program takes place over 3 summer sessions on Bard College’s lush rural campus and 2 independent study periods spanning the months between the 2nd and 3rd summer sessions. 

It’s not just the number of studio visits and scale of the community that set Bard MFA apart, it is also the genuine commitment to an interdisciplinary approach. We support 6 disciplines: music/sound, writing, painting, sculpture, photography, and film/video each of which is a curated glimpse into these specific subcultures. The proximity of these media cultures and their concentrated presence act as a catalyst for cross pollination, experimentation, and collaboration. Since its inception in 1981, Bard MFA has been dedicated to setting the highest standards in each discipline, while at the same time recognizing that mediums are false boundaries that overflow and merge into new forms.

Bard MFA is such a special and unique place that after graduation, a Bard alum joins a tight-knit community with far reaching connections throughout the larger art world. The personal bonds forged during these intensive summer sessions create friendships and an extended network of alumni who continue to exchange and share information and opportunities throughout their lives as artists. 

- Hannah Barrett
Executive Director, Bard MFA