MMC Launches New BFA in Art
Marymount Manhattan College is expanding its Art program with a new 60-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree that allows students to develop breadth and depth in several disciplines and more intensely prepare for a career in the visual arts.
The program is housed in the College’s new 12,000-square-foot Judith Mara Carson Center for Visual Arts and will begin accepting students in the Fall ’22 semester.
“I’m thrilled that MMC is expanding its already outstanding offerings in the visual arts by launching a BFA program that will provide our students with more options and greater versatility,” said President Kerry Walk. “This new offering joins BFA programs in Dance, Musical Theatre, Creative Writing, and Film and Media Production, to name a few, and underscores that knowledge-based creativity is at the core of the MMC experience.”
Like the equally rigorous bachelor’s degree (BA) in Art, the new BFA offers concentrations in graphic design, illustration and animation, photography, and studio practices.
Both degrees have tremendous value, with each connecting students to curatorial and exhibition opportunities, internships, and learning initiatives in the New York City arts community, said Hallie Cohen, an art professor and director of MMC’s Hewitt Gallery of Art.
Indeed, MMC’s Art program has produced critically acclaimed artists, such as Ellie Ga ’98, who was named a Guggenheim fellow earlier this year, and successful professionals with a wide range of careers in art and art-related fields. Its alumni exhibit and work in creative industries around the globe.
However, there are some differences. The BA in Art requires 42 credits and more easily allows a student to double major, while the BFA in Art “packs in more disciplinary focus study toward a career in a particular concentration,” Cohen said.
Being able to choose between the two gives students more power to shape their day-to-day experience at the College. “Do you want to paint and draw or paint and draw and dance?” Cohen said. “The four-year college experience is seminal to your life, and you get to decide how you’d like to spend it.”
While offering a BFA in Art has long been a goal for the department, the launch of the Judith Mara Carson Center for Visual Arts created the ideal circumstances for adding the new degree, said Beth Shipley, an art professor and the center’s director. “With the center, the visual arts have the space and state-of-the-art equipment to prepare students to meet the challenges of the 21st-century art world,” she said.
Among other things, the center includes a digital immersion project space, high-tech digital lab, darkroom, and multipurpose working and critique spaces to support an array of practices such as painting, drawing, design, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, performance art, installation, animation, illustration, and graphic design.
“It has enabled us to expand what we offer—we’ll have sculpture for the first time and a much more extensive printmaking program and digital photography program,” Shipley said. “Having this space and facilities offered an enormous ability to expand our pedagogy for the students. Really, it was just perfect timing.”