OTIS MFA Public Practice
Organization In Residence
The only educational program in the Southern California region dedicated exclusively to providing artists with advanced skills for working in the public sphere, the Program focuses on both collaborative and individual art production. Entering students design a unique educational plan to fit their interests, with the latitude to experience both community and studio contexts. Public practice – also called participatory art, community art, public art, situational art or social sculpture – can consist of a variety of media including video, performance, drawing, photography, sculpture and web-based projects. Students start with a collaborative project – one that results in an exhibition or public presentation – led by artists such as Andrea Bowers, Suzanne Lacy or Rick Lowe. Along the way they meet and interact with recognized professionals such as Mel Chin and Sam Durant, and network with artists, critics and curators from around the world. Students travel individually or as a group as part of their curriculum, exploring cultures as diverse as a small farming town in the San Joaquin Valley or hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.
Each student’s learning plan includes a menu of skills classes in different art media, theories of public practice, and internships with artists such as Mario Ybarra and Kim Abeles. Their self-defined curriculum provides opportunities for one-on-one studies with artists such as Rachel Rosenthal, L.A. Urban Rangers, and others across the Southern California region. Students can take classes within our other graduate programs in writing, fine arts, and graphic design, and in other departments across the College. The full range of Otis shops, faculty, courses, and library is available for student’s production.
Visiting artists and faculty provide rigorous and supportive one-on-one and group critiques. Recent visitors have included Mel Chin, Nav Haq, Sally Tallant, Martha Rosler, Future Farmers, Nao Bustamante, Dolores Huerta, Gronk, Fritz Haeg, Karen Moss, Carol Stakenas, Olga Koumoundoros, L.A. Urban Rangers, Edgar Arceneaux, and S.A. Bachman.
In 2009, students worked in Laton, California, supported by a planning grant from the Ford Foundation. Recent L.A. exhibitions include “Love in a Cemetery” at the 18th St Arts Center, and “Actions and Conversations” at the Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park.