G. Roy Levin, founder of the MFA in Visual Art program at VCFA, sought a new standard of graduate arts education, one in which students would pursue their MFA degrees while remaining connected to the communities in which they live, work, and make art. This pioneering methodology endures today. The program’s innovative structure encourages explorations on the relationship between the artist and society, helping students recognize the rich potential of artists in today’s world.
“Six basic concepts shaped the structure of the Program.
1) Art is not value-free, nor is art education. Both must be considered within the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts which necessarily define and condition the production and reception of art.
2) Just as the process is an essential part of the product in art making, how one teaches is what one teaches.
3) Self-actualization should be encouraged through a student-centered pedagogy where the students create their own individualized curriculum.
4) A student’s self-evaluation and Faculty evaluations of a student’s work should not be based on abstract Program-generated criteria but on the student’s own experience and the creative process s/he has undertaken within the Program.
5) All subject matter of study and artistic inquiry should be approached from a multi-disciplinary view of knowledge and art practice.
6) The educational milieu should be as non-hierarchical as possible and serve as a model for other artistic communities for future activity.”
-G. Roy Levin, founder, except from the Red Book: Art Education, Theory, Practice – essays from the MFA Visual Art program faculty (1991-1998).