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.

It has set the standard others have followed. Our program combines a flexible approach to art education with a strong foundation of interdisciplinary dialogue to meet the ever-changing needs of our students and faculty. Innovation and risk taking are necessary for the growth of our students and are integral to our educational mission. Aesthetic discourse—the vocabulary of attention and response—establishes the groundwork for each student’s artistic exploration of personal empowerment, social efficacy, and cultural value in the contemporary world.

At Bard, the MFA community itself is the primary resource for the M.F.A. candidate—serving as audience, teacher, and peer group in an ongoing dialogue. Immersion in this community ultimately influences each artist’s practice, within the program and beyond. The community promotes diversity of approach, fosters imaginative responses and insights, and develops innovative solutions to aesthetic problems in all disciplines. In interdisciplinary group critiques with 80 students and 30 faculty, discipline caucuses of 20 artists, and one-on-one conferences, our students learn to address video, writing, painting, sculpture, photography, and sound. Our summer session provides intense critical response to students’ artistic practice, enabling them to reflect upon and refine their work over the 10-month independent study period.

We encourage you to visit us on Bard’s campus or attend one of our fall information sessions.