Ceramics: Graduate Overview
As a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio student in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) ceramics graduate program, you will have access to diverse, distinguished faculty who are active exhibitors and lecturers on the national and international stage and challenge the medium in the classroom and the studios.
Graduate students are encouraged to consider their art-making process as an interdisciplinary practice that can range across various departments including, but not limited to:
- Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects
- Fiber and Material Studies
The cornerstone of SAIC’s graduate studio program is its focus on tutorially guided studio practice. Each semester in addition to selecting from graduate advisors in the department, you will select from more than 100 graduate faculty advisors at SAIC, representing a myriad of disciplines, approaches, and intellectual positions. Ultimately, it is the student's work that drives the choice of advisor, and both disciplinary and interdisciplinary work is supported and advanced. Faculty from the academic programs in Art History, Arts Administration and Policy, Art Education, and Visual and Critical Studies also serve as graduate advisors, providing yet more expertise in support of SAIC Graduate Projects.
SAIC Ceramics Resources
In addition to working with renowned faculty, you have full use of the department’s:
- Individual graduate studios
- Installation/gallery space
- 18 gas and electric kilns
- A Blauuw computer automated gas kiln
The SAIC Ceramics department is located in the same building as our museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, whose excellent collections of ceramics, pottery, painting, and sculpture provide an outstanding resource for study. Across the street is Millennium Park, a site for numerous cultural activities and sculptural events. The city itself is rich in ceramics resources, with multiple examples of the use of ceramics in architecture and the extensive holdings of the Field Museum and other museums in Chicago.
Critique Week, one of the principle means of assessment each semester, is a week-long schedule of critiques during which classes are suspended, and the entire faculty and invited visiting artists and designers assemble into panels that conduct intensive studio critiques with all studio and writing graduate students.
Fall semester critiques are organized by department, with panels representing the discipline. They provide you an opportunity to have your work evaluated by the department, look at your work from a disciplinary point of view, and reinforce the expectations for your graduate study.
Spring semester critiques are interdisciplinary, with panel members of faculty, visiting artists, and peers from across SAIC departments. Interdisciplinary critiques in the spring semesters allow for a broader range of responses to the work, and are intended to assess the success of your work for a more general, yet highly informed, audience.
Studio critiques are required of every full-time graduate student pursuing an MFA in Studio or Writing degree. Typically, SAIC graduate students have at least four critique panels throughout their studies at SAIC, augmenting biweekly tutorials with their graduate advisors.