Art and Social Practice Program at Portand State University


Portland, OR97207
United States
Organization Type: 
Community / Non-Arts Organization
Programs and Services: 

PSU’s Art and Social Practice MFA is composed of a unique combination of individual research, group work, and experiential learning. The program’s blend of critical and professional practice, collaborative social engagement, and transdisciplinary exploration produces an immersive educational environment. Based in Portland, Oregon, the program operates out of Field Work, a downtown storefront classroom and event space. The program’s Flexible Residency model allows for travel and even the ability for students to reside outside of Portland during their course of study. A weekly student organized visiting artist lecture series promotes the understanding of a wide range of approaches and methodologies. An annual conference on socially engaged art practice brings together an international group of artists, curators, scholars and members of the public.

The 90 credit, three-year course operates with a democratic approach that encourages students to shape the direction of their own education, and continually redefine and develop the program as a whole. Students connect their art practice to research in the field through electives and community partnerships, promoting cross disciplinarity. Student work and research is presented annually at the Open Engagement conference leading toward final graduate projects, which are presented in the third and final year of the program.

Each year the Open Engagement conference will be organized around a variety of themes related to the interests of the students in the art and social practice MFA program. As a group the students select three outstanding individuals in the field to invite to the conference as featured participants. The three selected individuals will also join the adjunct faculty at Portland State University for that year leading classes and workshops centered on their own practice.

The program produces an annual intervention event at the Portland Art Museum called Shine a Light, and has exhibited work and created projects for the Whitney Museum of American Art, Bétonsalon in Paris, apexart in New York, and Smack Mellon in Brooklyn among other venues and locations.

The program accepts approximately six students annually. The deadline for applying is February 1st. Interested persons are encouraged to make arrangements to visit the program.