Egan Franks Holzhausen - Master of Fine Arts Painting
Master of Fine Arts Painting
The mission of KCAD’s Master of Fine Arts in Painting program is to produce students
who are able to demonstrate technical, material, and conceptual mastery in the execution
of their work, while also providing opportunities for experimentation. The painting
program fosters creativity, innovation, responsibility, and intellectual growth in
preparing students to meet the challenges pursuant to a successful career within higher
education or the broader art community. A diverse painting faculty is available to
students for formal, technical and critical insight.
Students are introduced within the program to the growing repository of art-related
theory through challenging fine art and art history seminars, addressing such issues
as the ethics of visual representation, politics and art, and Post Structural theory.
Additionally, students have access to courses regarding the more practical aspects
of being an artist, including a seminar on teaching techniques and methodology, and
a course dealing with the professional practices of the art world at large.
While earning a Master of Fine Arts in Painting, you'll expand your notions of painting
as a medium and heighten your understanding of your own artistic practice in a self-directed
learning environment supported by rigorous critique from your faculty and peers. In
the studio, you'll be empowered to take creative risks as you experiment with new
techniques and ideas, carefully scrutinizing the results in order to refine your process
The program also emphasizes strengthening the conceptual underpinnings of your work
through focused immersion in scholarly research and critical theory. You'll learn
how to situate your work within the contemporary art horizon by frequently researching,
discussing, and presenting on contemporary scholarship and theory, while a graduate
seminar in art history will expose you to the ways in which art both informs and is
informed by the society in which it is created,
Additional opportunities to dive deeper into the nexus of art, media, and culture
are available through taking courses in KCAD'sCertificate in Visual and Critical Studies program or even earning an 18 credit-hour certificate. These courses offer a diverse
perspective on topics such as cultural criticism, research ethics, and new media literacy.
As you work toward technical, material, and conceptual mastery, you’ll also develop
enhanced communication skills through focused critique sessions with faculty and fellow
students. KCAD’s MFA Painting program promotes open, honest, and vulnerable dialogue
that will help you heighten your ability to speak intelligently and confidently about
your work, competently defend your artistic decisions, and respond to others’ ideas
in a well-considered, constructive manner.
You’ll also gain pertinent professional skills in curation, artwork preparation, and
promotion by collaborating with other MFA students, including those in other disciplines,
to organize exhibitions of student artwork in several on-campus gallery spaces. These
spaces act as a laboratory in which you and your peers can experiment with various
methods of engaging audiences with your creativity, facilitating experiences that
will help prepare you to both secure exhibition opportunities and maximize their potential.
If you’re considering a career in higher education, you can also take advantage of
the MFA teaching seminar, which covers current methodologies, preparatory and studio
practices, and other practical teaching skills.
The KCAD MFA Painting degree program promotes an artist/scholar model that will shape
you intellectually as well as creatively, ultimately enabling you to do more with
your degree. You’ll also benefit from the program’s close-knit community atmosphere,
wherein different people, ideas, and processes are always converging in interesting
and inspiring ways. You and your peers will receive personalized instruction and support
from faculty who have extensive national exhibition records and reflect a broad diversity
of professional practice—from figurative, landscape, watercolor, and encaustic painting
techniques to expertise in theory and international experience in shaping the landscape
of research ethics—that will provide you with an invaluable breadth of perspective.
There’s also the matter of Grand Rapids, a mid-size city that values art and design.
Your experiences in the MFA Painting program will be complimented by exposure to nationally
and internationally recognized artists exhibiting at the nearby Grand Rapids Art Museum. You will also be able to connect to the thriving local creative community, including
galleries, cooperatives, and other arts organizations—including many powered by KCAD
alumni—that will help you expand you network and fuel your professional development.
The MFA Painting degree program aims to instill in its graduates a strong sense of
artistic, intellectual, and personal confidence that will open doors to a broad array
of professional possibilities. You’ll emerge from the program empowered to succeed
as a professional artist, and you’ll also be equipped to teach at the college/university
level and pursue career opportunities such as a gallery owner, art director, curator,
archivist, museum specialist, art consultant/buyer, or many other positions in which
your creative and communication skills will enable you to thrive.
The capstone of the MFA Painting program is the development of a cohesive body of
work that reflects conceptual maturity and well as technical and material mastery.
You will also be expected to clearly articulate and defend the conceptual and material
choices motivating your work in both a comprehensive thesis document and an oral overview
of the growth you’ve achieved during your time in the program, which you’ll formally
present to an MFA candidate review panel composed of both MFA Painting faculty and
KCAD faculty from other disciplines. All facets of the thesis project should be supported
by your extensive research into relevant theoretical, historical, and contextual subject
As a student in the MFA Painting degree program, you’ll have a wealth of professional-quality
resources and facilities at your fingertips, includingThe Dow Center FlexLab, KCAD’s state-of-the-art digital fabrication facility featuring 3D printers and scanners,
laser cutting and vinyl cutting machines, wide format printers, and more; a printmaking
lab featuring etching presses, lithography presses, screen printing presses and equipment,
papermaking equipment, and more; fully appointed photography facilities; TheBaker Furniture Collection, a historically-rich and inspiring archive of furniture from around the world; theKCAD Library, which provides access to millions of books through the MeLCat shared library catalog
as well as access to specialized research databases and subscriptions to scholarly
Two graduate student-run exhibition spaces on campus will enable you to both showcase
your work and gain valuable experience organizing, preparing, and executing professional
exhibitions: the Alluvium Gallery, a street-level professionally outfitted space easily
accessible by the public, and the Art[ery], an open commons space located within the
expansive lobby of the 17 Fountain St. NW building.
You’ll also have the support of The Masters Student Collective, a graduate student-run
organization that oversees the Art[ery] and organizes the Michigan Emerging Graduate
Artists (MEGA) competition and exhibition.