Develop Your Skills and Ambitions
Graduate painting studio Graduate painting studio
Graduate painting studio Graduate painting studio
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Why Painting?

The intense yet rewarding experience of the studio arts painting intensive is for painters who wish to work in a variety of styles while developing their technical skills and personal ambitions. We challenge our students to consider the wider implications of their work and respond to the constantly expanding nature of the art world.

You will study with each member of our faculty, themselves active professionals, and experience individual and group critiques, professional seminars, and the invaluable resource that is our prestigious visiting artists program. We encourage you to take advantage of the community of artists you will be immersed in and explore such disciplines as ceramics, metals, printmaking, sculpture, or photography to enhance your growth.

Our mission is to provide you with the resources and support you need to develop your artistic talents and to understand the forces that drive creative endeavors in today’s increasingly interconnected world. With our internationally known faculty, visiting artists, and speakers, we offer you a wide perspective on the creative process and what it means to be an artist. The resources we offer include studios that far exceed what many universities provide as well as global programs that include classes in Europe and other key locations in the United States. Our creative classes are complimented by the richness offered by an outstanding and diverse university environment. The painting classes are medium to small in size, with plenty of individual attention but also with respect for the freedom that each student needs to find his or her creative voice.

The long history of painting at VPA demonstrates a steady and deep commitment to painting, a discipline that is as relevant now as ever. The “blank canvas” is both a hurdle and a tabula rasa—perhaps not a blank slate, but a clean slate. If artists today can learn to channel their creative energies effectively, the possibilities for meaningful expression can be enormous. The dichotomies between traditional and contemporary or figurative and non-representational have imploded, and what remains is strong, self-motivated, individual work.

The young artists in our painting program represent the global possibilities of what painting can be, whether it embraces tradition or not, whether it be interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary. Our program is designed to give you a working knowledge of the history of your practice, as well as knowledge of contemporary critical thinking in your field. We recognize that our students are self-driven individuals whose artworks are a testament to the faith they have in their own abilities and the trust they have in the creative process itself.



Shaffer Art Building

Painting is housed in Shaffer Art Building, which is also home to the Department of Transmedia, jazz studies in the Setnor School of Music, and Syracuse University Art Galleries. The building also contains a 60-seat lecture hall and the 300-seat Shemin Auditorium.

M.F.A. candidates have excellent facilities in which to pursue independent work and research. Each student has a studio space and is encouraged to be self-motivated. Studios are well-lighted and have special skylights receiving north light. You are regularly visited in their studio for critiques by professors each semester.

Visiting Artists

Throughout the year the School of Art welcomes numerous nationally and internationally known visiting artists to campus. Spanning the disciplines, these artists, designers, and educators, some of whom are alumni, give presentations and lectures and often critique student work. They are a critical component of your artistic growth.

Past guests have included Edward Albee, writer; Gregory Amenoff, painter; Emma Amos, painter and critic; Shimon Attie, artist; Radcliffe Bailey, artist; William Bailey, painter; Kenneth Baker, critic; Ross Bleckner, painter; Richard Bosman, painter; Emily Cheng, painter; Sue Coe, painter; Max Cole, painter; Robert Colescott, painter; Lynne Cooke, curator/critic; Constance DeJong, writer; Vincent Desiderio, painter; Martha Diamond, painter; Stuart Diamond, painter; Barbara Ess, photographer; Eric Fischl, painter; Tony Fitzpatrick, painter; Michael Fried, critic; Paul Georges, painter; Mariam Ghani, artist; Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, painter and critic; Jack Goldstein, artist; Clement Greenberg ’30, critic; Jacob Hashimoto, artist; Sumi Hayashi, curator; Eleanor Heartney, critic; David Humphrey, painter; Valerie Jaudon, painter; Edgar Jerins, artist (drawing); Hilton Kramer ’50, H ’76, critic; Barbara Kruger, artist and critic; Donald Kuspit, critic; Barry LaVa, artist; Thomas Lawson, painter and critic; Annette Lemieux, artist; and Sherrie Levine, artist.

Also Chris Martin, painter; Joseph Masheck, critic; James McGarrell, painter; George McNeil, painter; Stephen Melville, critic; Alice Neel, painter; Jenny Nelson, painter; Joan Nelson, painter; Tom Nozkowski, painter; Saul Ostrow, artist and critic; Carl Palazzolo, painter; Ray Parker ’60, painter; Jose Parla, artist; Peter Plagens G’64, painter and critic; Joanna Pousette-Dart, painter; William Powhida '98, painter; Lucio Pozzi, painter and writer; Rebecca Purdum ’81, painter; Aimee Rankin, artist and critic; Carter Ratcliff, critic; Charles Ray, sculptor; Alexis Rockman, painter; Julian Rosefeldt, artist; David Ross ’71, museum director; Susan Rothenberg, painter; David Row, painter; David Salle, painter; Laura Sanders, painter; Mira Schor, painter and critic; Anna Schuleit, artist; Patterson Sims, museum director; Howard Singerman, critic; Michael Smith, performance artist; Gary Stephan, painter; Robert Storr, painter, curator, and critic; Dan Sutherland, artist; Stephen Talasnik, artist (drawing/painting); Mark Tansey, painter; Tula Telfair G’86, painter; Wayne Thiebaud, painter; Sidney Tillim ’50, painter and critic; Phyliss Tuchman, critic; John Walker, painter; William Wegman, artist; Stephen Westfall, painter and critic; Karen Wilkin ’91, G’93, critic; Robert Pincus Witten, curator/critic; and Sue Williams, painter.