Pratt Institute’s MFA program provides advanced education for artists supported by distinguished faculty, exceptional facilities, and a supportive community of peers. Driven by exploration and enriched by the abundance and inspiration of New York City, Pratt’s critically engaged faculty respond to each student’s individual practice, fostering their development within the diverse cultures and myriad practices of contemporary art-making.
Pratt’s MFA Fine Arts degree supports interdisciplinary practice. Many students remain committed to the area of interest that they identified upon entering the program—whether painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture or integrated practices—however, they are free to explore other forms and approaches as their work evolves. Faculty and students build close relationships through structured studio visits, seminars, and informal conversations. These relationships create a vital community and supportive network that endures long after graduation.
Areas of Emphasis
Community & Programming
We are a vibrant, socially-engaged and generous community! The department initiates many discussions around contemporary issues and collaborates with arts organizations to ensure we actively participate in the cultural life of the surrounding neighborhood, as well as broader national and international communities. Two such initiatives are Project Third and PIE. Project Third is a gallery residency where artists/collaborative groups whose work is research-oriented and/or motivated by the desire to instigate social change are invited to campus. Recent residents include artist Shaun Leonardo (2019) and the collaborative BFAMFAPhD (2018). PIE (Pratt Institute Editions) works with artists and alumni to produce limited edition prints in collaboration with our students. We actively consider innovative ways to make sure that we are part of the cultural conversation and include students in developing these initiatives.
The curriculum is rigorous and flexible, offering wide latitude for exploration while fostering critical perspectives and a deeper understanding of the histories, issues, cultural and transdisciplinary contexts that inform art practices today. With the art world on our doorstep, there are many opportunities to meet influential contemporary curators, critics, and cultural producers. Professional practice education is integrated throughout the program, providing students the tools they need to make their way as professional artists and cultural innovators after graduation.
Our faculty are active professional artists distinguished by their numerous national and international exhibitions and inclusion in major publications. Many have also received significant awards from prestigious organizations such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Creative Capital, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Graduate Fine Arts facilities are outstanding. Students have individual studios located in the Pfizer Building, a renovated industrial building that also houses our fabrication shops, exhibition spaces, seminar rooms, and a student lounge. Campus facilities include a fully equipped woodshop, metal shop, print shop, ceramics studios, darkrooms, and a digital output lab with high-resolution scanners and printers, as well as dedicated campus galleries. There are many opportunities to show work in a variety of traditional and non-traditional spaces and students are encouraged to curate exhibitions. MFA students host a public open studio event and in the spring, all second-year students mount a thesis exhibition.
Visiting Artists, Curators, and Critics
In addition to a regular schedule of studio visits by faculty members, the department’s Visiting Artists Lecture Series (VALS) brings internationally renowned artists to campus to give public lectures and conduct individual studio visits with graduate students. Pratt Artists League (PAL, the Fine Arts graduate student club) invites artists, curators, and critics for studio visits, and organizes open studios as well as other student-generated programming and exhibitions.
Fine Arts alumni thrive. Graduates have been accepted into prestigious residencies such as Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture; Black Rock, Senegal; MacDowell Colony; the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program; the Elizabeth Foundation; and the Whitney Independent Study Program. Our alumni have exhibited at museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Museum of Modern Art, along with national and international galleries.
Alumni have received grants from around the world such as Anonymous Was A Woman, Creative Capital, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant, and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Their work is represented in international public and private collections including the Guggenheim Museum, the Studio Museum of Harlem, the National Gallery in Washington D.C., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Japan, and the Panza Collection in Varese, Italy.
Graduates have careers as professors at schools, many also find their place in the world as writers, gallerists, and curators, or working in the community as social justice advocates, educators, and change-makers. Others forge their own paths and become innovators in many emerging creative fields.