School of Visual Arts
The School of Visual Arts was established as a professional school at Boston University in 1954. With a faculty composed of practicing professional artists, the School offers an intensive program of studio training combined with liberal arts studies leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and Master of Arts (MA) degrees. Programs are offered in painting, graphic design, sculpture, museum education, studio teaching, and art education. Graduate admission is highly selective and limited class size ensures that students get individual attention from faculty mentors.
Required courses offer an intensive foundation in the studio disciplines of drawing, painting, and sculpture. This broad base of experience provides students with a solid introduction to the visual arts disciplines before they elect major areas of specialization. Courses at the foundation level, as well as in advanced fields of concentration, prepare the student for future study or professional practice in art education, graphic design, painting, or sculpture. Studio classes are limited in enrollment to ensure a high degree of student-faculty contact in the courses. Students are given the opportunity, through elective courses, to continue in other studio areas—printmaking, glassblowing, photography, ceramics, multimedia design, and animation—as well as in liberal arts studies.
Visits from distinguished artists and lecturers as well as a widely varied program of exhibitions in the on-campus galleries—the BU Art Gallery, the 808 Gallery, the Stone Gallery, Gallery 5, and the Sherman Gallery—broaden and enrich each student’s educational experience. The Artist Development Series jump-starts students’ art careers by providing panel discussions by prominent arts professionals and offering a range of workshops on topics ranging from how to write a grant to how to build a professional online gallery.
Facilities available for graduate students include a computer lab, media room, welding shop, wood shop, art education resource repository, and painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, and photography studios. All graduate painters and sculptors have individual studios.
The intellectual and cultural resources of BU and other leading universities in town, combined with internationally renowned art museums, galleries, theatres, and orchestras, make for a stimulating, challenging, and inspiring environment. Graduate students do not merely observe the Boston art scene, but work in the midst of it, redefining it with their perspective, vision, and energy.
Message from the Director
What is it about the School of Visual Arts at Boston University that is so special?
We are a close community within a large research university. Our students revel in the program’s intimacy, of knowing their professors and working day and night with like-minded people all the while enjoying the advantages of the larger world of BU and Boston.
Our programs are rigorous. Students understand quickly that being an artist demands a consistent studio practice and a willingness to constantly improve. Along with our faculty of artist-teachers, strong visiting artists provide critiques in an atmosphere of open discourse and dialogue.
Our students have a passion to be the best they can be. They work hard. And our faculty is equally passionate about teaching. Their commitment and dedication are obvious when you walk the halls and galleries at BU and see the work by their students.
There is also an easygoing playfulness, because our students and faculty are doing what they love. I invite you to visit us and witness the nurturing environment of the School of Visual Arts.
Lynne Allen, Director, School of Visual Arts; Professor of Art