September 3, 2018

Monika Meler working in the art studio lab.

Beginning at the end of May, you could find Monika Meler, the new SOCA Director of Graduate Studies, buried in plans for the first intensive residency experience to kick off the new MFA in Studio Art.
“I am very honored to be leading this new program and have enjoyed seeing the intensive come together,” shared Monika. ​“The intensive happens at the beginning of every semester and is the only opportunity MFA students have to come together as a cohort, and because of that, the faculty and I have been very invested in making this a meaningful experience full of robust discussions, workshops, and visiting artist lectures. Because the semester program is Low-Residency, meaning that students can set up a studio anywhere they choose/live while interacting with faculty remotely, the intensive is full of activities to help build skills, knowledge, and put together a proposal for the work that each student will create during the semester, under the attentive guidance of MFA faculty.”
Each day, MFA students will work with USF faculty and guest artists from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. to develop plans for the following semester’s course work, engage with a variety of artists and artwork, participate in field trips to local and regional institutions/galleries, and discuss opportunities for professional development and artistic growth.
Guest artists include: Kristina Paabus (Oberlin College and Conservatory), Heather Wetzel (Memphis College of Art), Steve Nyktas (Butler University), Karen Bonderchuk (Western Michigan University), and Stephanie Sinclair, the keynote speaker for the MFA residency.
Stephanie Sinclair is a documentary photographer whose subjects include the occupation of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the ongoing brutality faced by young girls around the world. Her images have been widely published and she has shepherded her “Too Young To Wed” photo series into a nonprofit organization with the official mission to protect girls’ rights and end child marriage. This lecture is generously supported by the Canon Explorers of Light Program. The lecture will take place on Friday, August 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m in the USF North Campus Auditorium, 2702 Spring Street, and is free and open to the public.
“Stephanie Sinclair is an excellent artist to get our MFA students thinking about the issues and ideas that artists explore and what responsibility artists have in society. As MFA students set up their studios to create work in this 2 year program, they will be asking themselves these important questions of how they can serve society through their studio practice, an idea that is consistently present within the Franciscan value structure of USF.”
Under the direction of Monika Meler, the new MFA in Studio Art is a 60-credit low-residency program. The program focuses on independent, creative practice that is rooted in traditional studio arts and welcomes a wide range of approaches to classic and contemporary art making. Specifically designed for students looking for an innovative approach to graduate study with a flexible work structure, the MFA program creates an artistic community that is rigorous, challenging, and immersive.