KCAD’s MFA Printmaking program encourages students to translate their philosophical and personal concepts into visual form. The program balances intense studio experience with theoretical dialogue and the in-depth study of art history. Classes serve as a forum where ideas and technical aspects of student work are developed and critiqued. The printmaking studio courses link traditional methods with new technologies. Contemporary non-toxic processes, as well as digitally and photographically derived imagery, can be used with woodcut, linocut, lithography, screen printing, and intaglio printmaking. Mixed media prints, as well as monoprints, collagraphs, and artists’ books, can result in installation or three-dimensional objects. Concept development is addressed throughout the course of study, culminating in a cohesive body of work that is conceptually and aesthetically strong.
As a student in KCAD’s MFA Printmaking program, you’ll learn to approach art making through the unique lens of a printmaker. Through self-directed, hands-on studio experiences, you’ll enter into an immersive dialogue with printmaking materials and process, experimenting with the expressive flexibility of the medium and leveraging the creative potential of repetition, ritual, and multiples. At the same time, you’ll come to a deeper understanding of how to more closely align your material and process decisions with the conceptual underpinnings of your practice, resulting in work that is innovative, risk-taking, and engaging.
Outside of studio, you’ll step into the wider world of art by frequently researching, discussing, and presenting on contemporary scholarship and critical theory and taking a graduate seminar in art history that will heighten your awareness of 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’s Master of Arts 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.
Working in a resource-rich space, you’ll develop technical mastery of a wide range of printmaking materials and processes, including woodcut, linocut, lithography, screen printing, intaglio, collagraph, papermaking, and mixed-media prints. Development of additional technical skills can be pursued by taking courses in the BFA Printmaking program as studio electives.
You’ll also build vital critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills through collaborative projects and group discussions and critiques. KCAD’s MFA Printmaking 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.
By collaborating with other MFA students, including those in other disciplines, to organize exhibitions of student artwork in several on-campus gallery spaces, you’ll also gain pertinent professional skills in curation, artwork preparation, and promotion. 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.
KCAD’s MFA Printmaking program is defined by a strong sense of studio camaraderie and a communal learning environment. You’ll be afforded the support and guidance to not only experiment and make mistakes, but learn and grow from them as well. The program’s faculty reflect a diversity of professional practice and provide 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 Printmaking program will be complimented by exposure to nationally and internationally recognized artists exhibiting at KCAD’s Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) and 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 Printmaking 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 master printer, gallery owner, archivist, curator, museum preparator, art director, or many other positions in which your creative and communication skills will enable you to thrive.
The capstone of the MFA Printmaking 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 Printmaking 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 matter.
As a student in the MFA Printmaking program, you’ll have access to well-appointed communal studio facilities that support a comprehensive approach to art making. You’ll be able to use tools include etching presses, lithography presses, screen printing presses and equipment, papermaking equipment, and more. You’ll also have access to private personal studio spaces and public exhibition spaces equipped with expansive display walls and track-lighting.
Elsewhere on campus, you’ll have a wealth of professional-quality resources and facilities at your fingertips, including The 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; KCAD’s Material ConneXion Satellite Library, which offers direct access to more than 1,000 physical samples of advanced, innovative, and sustainable materials as well as online access to over 7,000 more; fully appointed photography facilities; The Baker Furniture Collection, a historically-rich and inspiring archive of furniture from around the world; the KCAD 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 journals; The Fed Galleries @ KCAD, an exhibition space featuring the work of nationally and internationally-recognized artists; KCAD’s Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), an innovative cultural institution hosting exhibitions of such contemporary artists and designers as Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, and Judi Werthein; and many more.
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.
Opportunities to study away offer even more ways to expand your perspective.
Ready to get started? Apply now!
Fine Art Seminars are non-media specific courses that address ideas, issues or practical information, which is of value to all Fine Art graduate students, irrespective of their media interests. A variety of Fine Art seminars are available providing theoretical, practical, educational and professional information, experience and expertise.Teaching seminar requires completion of 18 credits of student's discipline.
A seminar dealing with topics of special topics in art history, theory, and/or criticism.
Emphasis within the graduate printmaking studio will be placed upon the eventual development of an accomplished cohesive body of work that demonstrates increasing technical and material mastery. Students will be expected to research and incorporate themes, motifs and ideas of personal or conceptual significance into the production of their prints. Students will clearly articulate the conceptual and material choices motivating their work by producing a five-page research oriented artist statement that will be presented at their first year graduate review.
Graduate printmaking thesis provides preparation for the Master of Fine Arts exhibition. Emphasis within the printmaking thesis course work will be placed upon the continued development of an accomplished cohesive body of work that demonstrates technical and material mastery appropriate to the student's needs. Students will be expected to demonstrate a high degree of sophistication in the research and incorporation into their prints of themes, motifs and ideas of personal or conceptual significance. Students will clearly articulate the conceptual and material choices motivating their work by producing a ten-page research oriented artist statement, and presenting a final oral overview of their achievements to a formal M.F.A. candidate review panel.
Download the catalog for the most recent course listings and prerequisites.