PROGRAM GUIDE [download]



This interdisciplinary program prepares artists of all genres - film and video, photography, painting, performance and installation, and sculpture - to successfully enter the contemporary art arena. A significant proportion of its alumni have achieved international and national reputations.

Most of the teaching consists of one-on-one meetings between each candidate and a member of the core faculty of seven artists and the adjunct faculty of approximately 20 artists, critics, and theorists. Candidates also take the Graduate Seminar, which is a visiting-speakers' class; and Theories of Construction, in which candidates critique one another's work with the help of faculty. Candidates are encouraged to take part in one or more of the Film/Video, Painting, and Sculpture workshops, staffed by groups of artists and theorists rather than single teachers.

Each candidate is in residence for six trimesters of course work, with the option of taking an additional trimester devoted exclusively to academic work.


A minimum of two academic classes is required in the first four trimesters and at least one in the final two adding up to a total of at least 110 credit hours. Candidates may take one term off, but no residence may exceed eight trimesters. Grad Lite terms are most often used for thesis research between the fourth and fifth or fifth and sixth terms of course work. To graduate, a candidate must successfully complete six trimesters of course work and, during the final term, put on and publicly defend an exhibition, accompanied by a written thesis, about her or his work or a closely related topic.


The following section will detail nearly all of the rules and requirements of the program, including meetings, rules of conduct, review procedures, etc.


Candidates are required to take at least two academic classes in their first four terms and at least one academic class in their final two trimesters of studio work.

Graduate Seminar: Candidates are required to take the Graduate Seminar every trimester, whether on an Academic or Studio term.

Theories of Construction: Candidates are required to take a section of Theories of Construction every Studio term. Theories is designed to contain a balanced group of students, representing the full range from M1 to M6, and you will be assigned to a section for that reason. We also try to ensure that you don't take Theories with the same teacher twice.

The core faculty believes it is best if you take at least one studio workshop each term, the evidence is overwhelming in support of the art of those who do take one each term gets better quicker than that of those who do not.

At least once per term all candidates are required to meet with the current visiting artist from Berlin.

Candidates should discuss with the chair, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, if they are M1 through M4, or with their committee if they are in M5 and M6, the Academic classes they plan to take each term.

General Rules for Scheduling Meetings

M-1: Each candidate has one pre-scheduled meeting with each of the core faculty members, and schedules his or her own meetings with adjunct faculty.

M-2: Each candidate has one pre-scheduled meeting with each of the core faculty members, schedules her or his own meetings with adjunct faculty, plus has a pre-scheduled Mini-Review.

M-3: Each candidate schedules his or her own meetings with the faculty.

M-4: Each candidate schedules his or her own meetings with the faculty, plus has a pre-scheduled Mini-Review.

M-5: Each candidate has two scheduled committee meetings and schedules his or her own meetings with the faculty.

M-6: Each candidate has two scheduled committee meetings and schedules her or his own meetings with the faculty. Final reviews are scheduled during the candidate's final exhibition except when a committee member's schedule precludes it.

Meetings will be scheduled to take place in your studio unless you have work up in a gallery or for a similar reason.

Scheduling Meetings

Core Faculty: Any meetings you wish to schedule with a faculty member must be scheduled through the designated T.A.

Adjunct Faculty: Sign-up sheets listing available dates and times for meetings are posted on the bulletin boards by the designated T.A.


The review is the mechanism by which candidates advance through the program.

At least one week before the review 2nd and 4th term Masters candidates are expected to deliver to each member of the core faculty a statement of approximately one page in length outlining briefly their primary concerns, accomplishments, goals, questions, reconsiderations, and apprehensions.

These reviews will generally take place during the final two weeks of the program, but could be scheduled earlier in the term. There are no mini-reviews during the summer term, however, all 2nd and 4th term candidates will have their reviews during the first two weeks of the fall term.

Permission to Accelerate

The appropriate time to request consideration for acceleration is at the 4th term review. Prior to that time, it is impossible for the core faculty to determine whether a candidate's work has progressed adequately to be accelerated.

Permission to accelerate is given only if students can demonstrate that staying at Art Center one more term will not significantly add to their studio and intellectual accomplishments; in other words, that you have exploited the resources of the program fully and have incorporated them into your studio practice. The letter asking for permission to accelerate should be an intellectual discussion of your work. The program was designed for a six term studio residency and experience has shown that the great majority of students need all six terms to experience the kind of growth that will sustain them as artists in the years to come. Permission to accelerate is hardly ever granted and when it is denied candidates should not feel that they are being punished but only that the faculty is convinced that being here one more term here would significantly benefit their work.

Thesis and Final Reviews

A complete draft of your thesis is due the last week of your fifth term. We will not schedule a date for your final show and review until your committee has received one. Once your committee has decided that all final revisions have been made you should distribute the complete and final draft to all members of the core faculty. The most recent draft of your thesis must be distributed to everyone on the core faculty not less than a week before your final review.

The graduate faculty strongly recommends that students attend as many final reviews as possible during your studies here. It will help you better prepare for your own review. There will be NO rolling over of final shows or final reviews.

Committee Requests

Upon advancement into your 5th term you will be asked for your committee selection. You must name three core faculty you would like to have on your committee, but put the one you would most want to be on it at the top of your list. That faculty member is guaranteed to be on your committee, while your other two choices will be discussed and finalized by the core faculty in the context of questions about your work that you may not be taking into account, which may mean that you end up with two other core faculty on your committee than the ones you nominated.

If you have chosen extra advisors for your graduate committee, your advisors have been sent schedules of your meetings and final review dates. It may be in your best interest to contact your extra advisors to remind them of your committee meetings.

How to Graduate

All candidates are required to turn in an Intent to Graduate form to Enrollment Services before week 14 during your M5 term. If you do not you will not be in the system as graduating the next term.

As an M6 once your thesis has been finally approved, which will mean that it has been thoroughly proofread, please deliver THREE perfect copies ready for binding to the coordinator or the Thesis Coordinator. One is for our archive, one for the main campus library, and one is for you.


During your final term you need to provide the coordinator a list with your name as you would like it read by the chair, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, at the commencement ceremony, name of the school(s) where you completed your undergraduate studies, and the degree(s) you were awarded.

All graduating candidates are expected to walk in the commencement ceremony. Information regarding seating, date, time of commencement is provided through Enrollment Services.

Gallery Exhibitions

Lottery: Galleries and project rooms are assigned by a lottery, which takes into consideration seniority and also those who have not yet had a show. Our lottery date and time are to be announced but will most likely take place during the 13th or 14th week of classes.

Project Authorization: You are required to fill-out in detail a project authorization form that is to be turned in to the coordinator no less than THREE weeks prior to your date of installation. You must list all art, equipment, etc. that is going to be located in the gallery as well as opening/closing reception information. An incomplete or vaguely filled out form will be returned to you and you will not be allowed to install until completing the form.

Mailing Labels: Labels are available to all students for inviting people to your exhibition. Please give the coordinator advance notice of no less than three days if you are requesting mailing labels. You can do this by sending an email, leaving a voicemail, or leaving a note in the mailbox outside the coordinator's office.

Faculty/Candidate Meeting:

Each term we hold a faculty candidate meeting. The chair of the department will update you on any news and seek to address any questions or concerns you may have. This meeting is your best opportunity to address the core faculty as a group and to get a consensus from your peers on any issues that are addressed. All candidates are required to attend this meeting. Questions that cannot be resolved at that time will be referred to the core faculty for further discussion. The faculty/candidate meeting date and time can be found on the committee-meeting schedule.

Portfolio Reviews/Admissions Meetings

Candidates are welcome to attend the admissions meetings in the fall and spring and comment on the work. Students are not permitted a vote, but graduate faculty are receptive to students' opinions. Portfolio review meetings are scheduled on Wednesdays and appear on the committee-meeting schedule.

Teaching Assistantships

Many students, if they desire, will have an opportunity to be employed at Art Center as a TA. TA positions are acquired through appointment, or application, depending on the position.

Core faculty TAships are determined by each core faculty member. TAships are also available for classes, general program operations and needs, and for adjunct faculty members. The number of TAships has been reduced as a result of the increase to scholarships. If you are interested in a TAship, but none are available, please check with Financial Aid regarding student employment elsewhere on campus.




Studio Assignments

The studio assignment list is included in this package. All candidates who are enrolled in a studio term have been assigned a studio. Studio appointments are based on seniority. Students wishing to take a term off or taking an Academic term are not automatically entitled to keep their studio.

New and returning students must sign a key contract and pay security a refundable key deposit. See security here at the studios and they will tell you what to do.

Studios Building Rules:

These studios are the property of Art Center College and your occupancy is subject to the following guidelines, which have been arrived at through discussions between your chair and the Director of Safety and are intended to provide each student with a safe and secure environment in which to work.

Because they deal with matters of safety and security, violations of these guidelines will result in disciplinary action ranging from a warning up to requiring the candidate to withdraw from the program. If you have any questions about them please contact the Director of Safety Bill Sparling (626-396-2456), Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, or the coordinator.

We expect candidates to use their studios in all sorts of ways, and for that reason we employ a preparatory who will replace sheetrock and paint walls as the need arises. However, safety considerations make it imperative that before making any significant modifications to studios such as cutting into a wall, hanging items overhead or in such a way that they extend over the studio walls, you MUST first obtain approval of the Director of Safety. To obtain approval you will need to fill out a Studio Modification Form and give it to security. We recommend you first discuss your plans with a member of the core faculty.

Because security and the fire department must be able to enter your studio in an emergency, you may not add additional locks, including deadbolts to your studio door.

AV strobe units, smoke detectors, fire pull stations and sprinklers in the building shall not be tampered with at any time. Students will be responsible for the cost to repair or replace any damaged item. FYI- the cost to replace and/or repair can be substantial (from $400-$5000).

Only hand-held power tools are allowed in your studio. Any type of work that requires larger equipment should be done in the designated areas (Model Shop, spray booth and outside work area).

Fumes. All art materials create fumes, but we need to do all we can to minimize them. Where possible, artists using materials that generate VOCs (fumes) must use the spray booth or work outside, but painters and others using oil paint and comparable materials in their studios MUST:
store all mediums and paint that isn't in use in metal cabinets
not leave the studio without putting any oil-soaked rags and similar materials in the metal disposal cans placed in the washout area
No fume producing materials are to be used in the large gallery on weekdays between 5:00am - 5:00pm

Hazardous Materials - Clean up. All liquid waste (old Paint, paint cleaner, etc.) must be disposed of in the hazardous material drums. DO NOT dispose of any petroleum based liquids down the drain.

Dust. As with paint and glue and the generation of fumes, a limited amount of sandpapering is one thing but any process that generates a lot of particulates in the form of dust as opposed to vapor should also take place in the woodshop or outside.

Please note also that the school has a registry of dangerous materials. If you're planning to use something that was recently introduced onto the market you will need to find out first whether it's been approved for use or banned for health reasons by consulting the list of prohibited materials that is kept at the student store.

Fire Hazards. All electrical appliances are potentially a fire hazard, and you will be asked to remove any found in your studio that have frayed cords or may otherwise be deemed to be unsafe.
Items that produce smoke such as incense burners, candles or fog machines are prohibited.
The shelving (soffet) located in many studios adjacent to the air conditioning vents MAY NOT be used as storage space or covered up.
Drugs and alcohol are not permitted on the premises
Smoking is permitted in outside locations only. Smoking is NOT ALLOWED within 25 feet of any doorway.

**NOTE: Studios are subject to safety inspections by school management at anytime. If a studio must be entered for maintenance or any similar reason, the occupant of the studio will be contacted prior to entering unless it is an emergency situation.


No visitors are to be allowed to enter the studio building except by the person they're visiting, who should meet them at the door, or have them met at the door. A 'visitor' is any person who is not enrolled in the MFA program or a member of its faculty or staff.

The only people at Art Center whose key cards let them into the studios are ourselves, except that we've also been extending card access to the MA students in criticism as well both because they like to hang around artists and also as a courtesy on account of their not having had a common room of their own until just now. Otherwise anyone in the building who is not accompanied by one of you or a faculty member is someone who shouldn't be there, so please always call security right away should you encounter such an intruder.

Project Rooms

The sculpture, film/video, and painting project rooms are all available for use doing work that cannot be done in your studios for some reason. They may be signed out for a period of two weeks on a form that is posted outside of each room. However, if classes are held in the room during the period it is signed out, it is the student's responsibility to clear the space so it does not interfere with the class and for the protection of any valuables that might be stolen.


Mailboxes are by the elevator on the first floor and are labeled according to your studio number. Please check your mailboxes frequently.

Computer Lab

At the end of term, the IT department cleans out all our computers. To prevent any work from being lost, it is important to save your work on a disk.
Please inform the computer lab TA of any malfunctioning equipment, toner or paper needs, etc.


Almost all forms you will need to fill-out during each trimester can be found along the wall past the bulletin boards. Here you will find registration forms, timesheets, studio modification forms, etc. If you cannot find the form you need, please contact the coordinator.


Storage is available to all students in the basement of the main building. Please contact the storage TA or the coordinator if you need something taken downstairs. Storage is allowed for all current students and the graduates from the previous term for one term after their departure.


Art Center College of Design, 1700 Lida St., Pasadena, CA 91103
T: 626.396.4222 | F: 626.396.4221 | E: gradart@artcenter.edu