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New M.F.A. will offer 4 specializations

Talented artists are queuing up for a master’s degree to be offered by UT Arlington for the first time this fall.

The master of fine arts is a professional degree in the practice of art. It requires 60 credit hours and a two- to three-year commitment, with artists and designers accepted based on work that demonstrates individuality and artistic promise. The admission process requires a high undergraduate grade-point average, as well as an evaluation of the prospective student’s work.

The program will accept five to eight students in the first year, which will be about 10 percent of the applicants. Associate Professor Nancy Palmeri is the M.F.A. adviser.

Of the four areas of specialization, film/video/screenwriting will emphasize scripting, research, pre-production and production as well as post-production/exhibition in the final year. The core will be screenwriting and documentary research.

Students in the glass specialization will explore a variety of technical and aesthetic directions and create a body of work directed by a thesis. Glass forming techniques will include blowing, fusing, slumping, casting, flame working and various others exploring plasma and gas discharge physics.

Glass artist Matthew Patterson, who earned his bachelor of fine arts last fall, has been accepted into the inaugural M.F.A. class.

“Before UT Arlington began this degree, I would have had to move to the East or West coast to enter a graduate program in glass,” he said. “This degree program will broaden my options.”

A third specialization, visual communication, expands the usual concepts of graphic design. In addition to exploring how designers, photographers and illustrators develop concepts, the program will emphasize research in sustainability and design and will develop close ties with industry.

“It is important for us to research how designers shape and influence the visual landscape of our culture,” said Robert Hower, chair of the Department of Art and Art History.

The fourth area, intermedia, is difficult to explain, Hower said.

“It involves taking a step back and looking at the entire backdrop of what is happening in art and where the path to the future lies. It’s about the crossing of borders, the blending of disciplines and concepts to develop a new way of working.”

While at one level this might involve a painter adding neon to his work, it is also heavily impacted by rapidly developing technologies, Hower said.



— Sue Stevens


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