Theatre Artisan Certificate in Scene Painting

The Theatre Artisan Certificate programs at Boston University are designed for students who have completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and are proficient in their craft but seek to enhance their artistic and technical experience in order to gain employment in leadership roles in the profession.

Degree Type

  • Certificate


  • In-Person


  • Full-Time


  • On-Campus
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Enhance your artistic experience.

BU School of Theatre offers a two-year certificate program providing skill and craft courses for theatre artisans and technicians seeking career training. The Artisan Certificate program is designed to further advance those who have already developed skills but are seeking further training for advanced or leadership positions within the field.

Program of Study

Two-year intensive master class education led by Program Head, Diane Fargo. Students engage in hands-on production work and take courses in scenic painting, history of architecture and décor, set design, color and design in light, fabric dyeing, figure drawing, and hand drafting.

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Students receive very individualized training and attention, as the student-to-instructor ratio is 2:1 with an average class size ranging from two to four students. Students supervise and mentor production and crew assignments and are responsible for budgeting, scheduling, and creating samples. 

Scene painting students gain facility with different mediums and tools in order to elaborate on and execute conceptual ideas. Production assignments and opportunities in a variety of venues are integrated into the curriculum in order to further one’s understanding of the level of coordination and collaboration that the art form demands, as well as adding to the refinement of the use of materials, techniques, and skills. Internships with leading regional theatres and shops are encouraged.

for a list of courses


Bring your painting to life in BU’s state-of-the-art CFA Production Center, which has 27,000 square feet of design and production facilities. The Paint Shop, which connects to the Scene Shop, has 3,3000 square feet of space.

Have your work displayed as part of the set of numerous School of Theatre productions across a variety of venues. Students who complete the program will have a strong foundation in the craft as well as enough practical experience to graduate with a substantial portfolio and résumé.

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Student Work

Lauren White

Sam Galvao

Jimmy Rotundo

Courtney Licata

Christina McCormick and Amy Brooks


Learn more about BU’s Scene Painting Program Head

Senior Lecturer Diane Fargo has taught at BU since 2001 and has worked for many reputable designers on productions for theatres like the Manhattan Theatre Club, La Jolla Playhouse, Chicago Shakespeare, Ford’s Theater, and more! She’s also provided interior decorative painting of the Skylight Opera Theatre and store and window display and event decor for companies like Tiffany and Co., IBM, and Mohegan Sun Casino.

In 2008, Fargo established BU’s Scene Painting Certificate program which has seen exponential growth and a positive job outlook for its graduates. In CFA’s Faculty Feature series, Fargo answers what students get out of the program, what she looks for in applicants, and career outcomes.

“Students develop 50% of their skills by working on a production (solving problems, collaborating, and budgets) and 50% on classroom projects. They’re involved in the design process all the way through — by attending meetings and interacting with the design students. They take classes like The History of Period Styles and others in drawing, scene design, and light and color. The students acquire visual skills and the ability to assess and break down processes in a sophisticated way.”

read Q&A

Career Outcomes

Graduates of this program have a
success rate for employment in high levels of the profession

BU’s Scene Painting certificate program provides students with a foundation of tangible and meaningful professional skills. Graduates of the program passed proficiency exams to become members of United Scenic Artist Union #829 and are employed at major venues, like:

  • Metropolitan Opera House
  • Public Theater
  • Daedalus Scenic Studios
  • Weston Playhouse

Alums have held key positions as charge artists on TV and film assignments, including:

  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Marvel Comic projects
  • Blue Bloods
  • Castle Rock
  • The Good Wife

Notable Graduates

The Artisan Certificate program boasts graduates who have gone on to become members of United Scenic Artists and are currently working in film, television, theatre and other areas of the entertainment industry.
To highlight a few:
  • Jess Atanas | Freelance Scenic Artist
  • Christina Barretti-Sigal | USA 829
  • Claire Bretschneider | USA 829, Scenic Artist, Metropolitan Opera House
  • Amy Brooks | USA 829
  • Julia Buerkle | Charge Artist, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Project Manager, Infinite Scenic
  • Tacy Flaherty | Scenic Artist/Public Theater NYC
  • Amelia Gossett | USA 829
  • Courtney Licata | Freelance Scenic Artist
  • Helen McCarthy | USA 829
  • Christina McCormick | Freelance Scenic Artist
  • Abigal Neuhoff | USA 829
  • Samantha Pagnotta | USA 829
  • Emily Rosencrantz | Freelance Scenic Artist, New York City
  • Liz Schurra | Charge Artist, Daedalus Scenic
  • Emily Walsh | USA 829, Scenic Artist, Blue Bloods
  • Katie Zeranski | Arts Educator

Since we began the program in 2008, 80% of our graduates are members of the union and are working in film, TV, or in very reputable theaters like The Public Theater and Metropolitan Opera shops in New York, or in regional theater at high level management positions.

– Diane Fargo, program head and senior lecturer of scene painting

Next Steps for Applicants

Interested in applying for BU’s Artisan Certificate in Scene Painting?

Contact Program Head, Diane Fargo, and visit the graduate admission requirements page to learn more about the admission requirements for the Artisan Certificate. The requirements are the same as those for the MFA programs in Design, Production, and Management.

admissions info



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