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BFA in Art

There are three things that an artist needs to know: themselves, history and what's going on in the world.

Ross Bleckner, artist

You need to know why you make art as well as how to make art. Marylhurst University is a leader in preparing artists for careers in the art community of the Pacific Northwest. In today's world, artists need the breadth of education provided by a liberal arts university.

 In the BFA program, two-thirds of the required credits are art courses. The concentrations — painting / drawing, photography, sculpture, or a custom-designed contemporary practice concentration — are designed to match contemporary professional practice.

All of the BFA in art degree requirements have been designed by the professional artists who are members of our faculty so you can be sure that what you study is directly related to the world of contemporary practice outside the classroom.

Study includes not only studio practice, but also the context of history and thought that informs today's art. Nowadays it is essential for the professional artist to have a strong understanding of how art has developed over time, what has influenced it, how we think about it and how to talk clearly about it.

That's why we've developed the third-year class called Critical Response, a three-term survey of art theory and criticism. After taking the class, you'll be ready to talk about your art, or have an informed discussion of any art, with anyone.

Professional Connections

You'll also understand how to move into an art career, and be introduced to art dealers, art critics, museum curators and other art professionals who make up the regional art network. You'll learn the skills to present yourself (resume, portfolio), manage art business (record keeping, doing your taxes) and pursue life in the art world.

Art Thesis Project

The most important part of the BFA program is the art thesis project. You will be assigned your own private studio for this year-long experience in which you will work with one member of the art faculty as your adviser on a project that you design. Thesis projects have ranged from representational paintings to video installations — we encourage exploration.

In the end, you will have developed a coherent body of finished artworks to be shown in the BFA Thesis Exhibition in The Art Gym. This show is mounted with the same care as all of the exhibitions in The Art Gym and for most students it is their first professional-level experience.

Career Paths

For the most part, artists today work independently. Their careers may include regular exhibitions in commercial galleries, work on public or private commissions, or consultation with architectural design teams. Students with specialized training in photography or computer applications may find employment in fields such as studio photography, digital imaging, advertising or computer-aided design. Graduates also are prepared to apply to master's degree programs in the visual arts, design, art education or art therapy counseling.

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