Twice each academic year, graduate students in the Department of Art open their studios to faculty, invited guests and students for a “Tour of Studios,” followed by closed review sessions with faculty and guests, part of the review process for MFA students.
“The Tour is like an open house,” says Carla Bengtson, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the department. “We give out maps and people wander from studio to studio. Our grads are appreciative of hearing from a wide range of perspectives, and we enjoy the opportunity to have a cross disciplinary exchange with guests and faculty from outside of the department.”
Ten graduate students participated in the reviews last fall, with invited faculty and guest curators and artists from Portland including Sean Regan, faculty member in the Studio Practice concentration of the MFA in Contemporary Art Practice degree program at PSU; Tomas Valladares, White Box Gallery director; and Jessi Ditillio, exhibitions coordinator and junior curator at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
The MFA students who participated were Emily Crabtree, Alex Keyes, Ben Lenoir, Sarah Nance, Andrew “Drew” Oslovar, Bryan Putnam, Brandon Siscoe, John Tolles, Wendi “Michelle” Turchan and Jesie Vala.
After the tour, students break away for individual closed-door reviews. The process focuses on a critique of finished work, work-in-progress and new ideas. Each panel includes two art faculty and one or two outside reviewers.
“I entered the MFA program as a graduate this fall, and the ‘Tour of Studios’ is an exceptional opportunity to get valuable feedback regarding my current research,” Siscoe said. “This experience fostered a casual dialogue with our department’s faculty and the greater campus community.”