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Our MFA in Visual Art program is an interdisciplinary program that offers students a site for rigorous inquiry, intellectual generosity, and professional preparedness.

As part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University, a tier-one research institution, our expansive facilities and studios serve as a think tank for intellectual and material experimentation across disciplines within the School and the University. Students also have opportunities to engage with the city of St. Louis which serves as both an extension of the studio and site of engagement for art and artists.

Led by professor and chair Lisa Bulawsky, the MFA in Visual Art (MFA-VA) program is an inclusive, close-knit community of renegade makers and thinkers. It instills students with the agency and resiliency essential for this generation of artists. The MFA-VA curriculum professionally prepares students for a diversified approach to the field of contemporary art that nurtures sustained, lifelong engagement while recognizing multiple pathways and definitions for a career in the arts and culture.




A multimedia exhibition in a large gallery space with high ceilings and wood floors. A "text cloud" is affixed to the walls in vinyl lettering. In the foreground, a white chair and side table are surrounded by tall stacks of newspapers. A video monitor is embedded int he coffee table. In the background, there is an arrangement of grey cubicles, a second video monitor, and a grey wall lined with neat arrangements of white cubes.
“The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs” (installation view), Cheryl Wassenar and Stephanie Schlaifer, 2018. Front: Waiting Room of the Interior. Cut vinyl lettering (on walls), newspapers, painted office furniture, coffee table with embedded video broadcast from the Press Secretary of the Interior. Image by R. Sprengeler.


Our alumni have established thriving practices in cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and St. Louis, where many have found their first gallery representation. In their careers as university faculty, gallery and museum curators, leaders of arts organizations, and creative entrepreneurs, they build upon the close relationships they formed in the program.

Among our alumni’s many accolades include grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Tiffany Foundation, and Andy Warhol Foundation; residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Ox-Bow, the Irish Museum of Art, and Mass MoCA; and inclusion in important national and international exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial, Venice Biennale, Studio Museum in Harlem, and MoMA.

We are enormously proud of who they are, what they make, and what they have gone on to achieve.


MFA-VA Publications & Exhibition Catalogs


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MFA-VA Studio Mix

The music you need to get your work out of your head and into the world.