So I meant to write this a lot earlier, but I’ve been so busy! I arrived in Chicago on Saturday morning and since then the days have been blending together. I’m loving the city so far, although I’m still getting used to the noisy nights and the crazy drivers. There is so much to do and see here, it’s a little overwhelming. So anyway, here’s a brief rundown of my experience so far in Chicago and The School of the Art Institute.
I’m living on campus for the six-week residency, and the dorm rooms are incredibly spacious. Each room has a kitchen and bathroom as well (they’re supposed to feel like apartments):
I’ve also received my studio assignment, but I’ll share pictures of that in a separate post when I’m a bit more settled in.
The schedule so far has been pretty hectic. We had a long orientation on Monday where we were welcomed by the dean of the school and many other faculty members. We also toured the campus and learned about a lot of the resources that the school offers. Today I had my first class and also attended a poetry reading by Nathanaël, a well-known writer and translator.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I hope to accomplish here, and mostly I want to produce a lot of work and get a lot of feedback. The students in this program are so awesome–we’re a very diverse group. There are people from all over the world, of all different ages, with different levels of experience and it’s been really inspiring to get to know them. I’m looking forward to getting feedback from both them and the faculty.
I’ll share more details whenever I get a chance, but I think my posts for the next few weeks will consist mostly of photos. Tomorrow I will get into the studio and start making work so I’ll share some works in progress soon. Thanks for reading :]
I’ve already announced this on my Facebook page, but I’m officially going to be attending SAIC starting this June! The past few months have been such a roller coaster. The application process was stressful, the waiting was stressful, figuring out how to pay for everything is stressful…but what makes it all worth it is the fact that little ol’ me got into one of the best art schools in the country and I’m actually able to go (with a lot of hard work and sacrifices of course).
I’m very fortunate to have the support of my loved ones during this part of my life. They keep me from losing sight of reality, but they also help me believe in myself. I would not be able to do this without them. (Thank you!!)
There is a lot of debate about whether or not an MFA is necessary for a successful art career, but what I’m most looking forward to is just being in an environment that encourages my growth and continually pushes me to exceed my limits. I’m excited for the intensity of the summer program and I can’t wait to be surrounded by and learn from other passionate artists. I’ve never been alone in a big city, so that in itself will also be an adventure for sure. The excitement outweighs the nerves right now ;]
Anyway, you can be sure that I will share a lot about my experiences as a grad student as well as lots of new work in the future! As always, thanks for reading :]
So a few years ago, my plan was to go to grad school right after graduating from JMU. At the beginning of my senior year at JMU, I did research and started the application process. I even did a pre-application online portfolio review. By December, however, I was feeling super doubtful of my plan. It was a mix of emotions really. I was eager for a break from school, worried about the expenses, and also doubtful of my chances of even getting into a good program. In the end, I decided to not apply that year and I was okay with my decision.
Fast forward a few months to the summer after my graduation. I was applying for teaching jobs in every school district within an hour of Roanoke and waiting for interviews that never came. I went through some personal changes that were hard for me to deal with and I looked for ways to stay busy. I signed up for a few online classes and worked on art projects. It was around this time that I started to reconsider my plan yet again.
I finally admitted to myself that I still wanted to go to grad school for art and I decided to go for it. I started the process earlier, did more research, and contacted some of my former professors. I applied to four low-residency programs (SAIC, MICA, Lesley, MassArt), none of which are in Virginia. Low-residency, by the way, means that most of the course work is done from home. Residencies take place in the summer, and this is when you stay on campus for several weeks of intense work and time with visiting artists.
MFA programs are pretty competitive, as they typically accept only small groups of students (15-30) each year. One of my priorities is to go to a school that is well-known for its art program. Of course, the higher ranked the school, the more applicants there will probably be. Two of the schools I applied to are among the top ten for fine arts grad programs in the U.S. (according to US News–although a high ranking isn’t always a guarantee that the program is great). That said, I tried to be optimistic about my chances of getting in, but I was also mentally preparing myself for rejection.
I have received one rejection letter so far, and that one was from MassArt. Normally I would’ve been super disappointed, but it just so happened that I opened another letter first, and that one was from SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). And yeah, I got in!! I was so thrilled because SAIC was my first choice and also because I really didn’t think I would get into the #2 fine arts school in the country. The low-residency program is actually being introduced to SAIC this summer, so I will be among the first 35 students to be in it.
I will definitely share more details as I get them, as well as let you know the status of my applications to the other two schools. I’m so excited for this next chapter of my life to begin and I look forward to sharing it with you all :] Thanks for reading!