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Otis College Unites MFA and BFA Fine Arts Programs on its Los Angeles Goldsmith Campus

The Galef Fine Arts Center at Otis College of Art and Design
“The United Artist Project will create a dynamic and diverse community of artists,” says Fine Arts Chair Meg Cranston.

This Spring, Otis College of Art and Design launched the United Artist Project, bringing the MFA Fine Arts program—currently located in Culver City—to Otis’s Goldsmith campus in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles. 

“Once completed, the United Artist Project will create a dynamic and diverse community of artists to ensure that all our students have access to the best of what Otis and Los Angeles has to offer, while facilitating new opportunities for collaboration and growth among our students and faculty,” says Fine Arts Chair Meg Cranston. “Our current MFA students and our newly accepted MFA applicants are enthusiastic about the project and are looking forward to the move.”

The first phase of the United Artists Project is to unite the Fine Arts undergraduate and graduate programs. As a result, all Fine Arts students will have access to a greater number of faculty and visitors, a broader range of course offerings, and improved access to technical and student support services.

The united Fine Arts faculty, now more diverse in every sense, provides a range and depth of programming unique to Otis College. MFA students now enroll in courses on the Goldsmith campus at historic levels, and eligible BFA students take advantage of opportunities to experience graduate-level courses.

Because of the change, MFA students experience the full benefit of the College's facilities, including labs, shops, and the expertise of the Technical Support Services (TSS) staff. Additionally, graduate students have more opportunities to work effectively as graduate teaching assistants, a valuable stepping stone to the profession. The combined department has also created opportunities for faculty to advance their careers by teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

In phase two, to be completed in August, the MFA Fine Arts program will physically move into the Galef Fine Arts Center on the Goldsmith campus. The Center will be redesigned by the building’s original architects, Frederick Fisher and Partners, and will include new graduate studios as well as improved classrooms and social and exhibition spaces for graduate students.

These dedicated spaces will provide graduate students with an unprecedented opportunity to create ambitious work, experiment in a broad range of media, and enhance their work's public visibility on-campus as well as the larger art audience in Los Angeles. The move to the Goldsmith campus will also allow students to participate fully in all College and Fine Arts programming, including the Visiting Artist Lecture Series, the Critic-in-Residence program, and the Mandy and Cliff Einstein Visiting Artist Series, all of which connect students with renowned artists and scholars. Fine Arts MFA students will also have the chance to be on campus with graduate students in the MFA Graphic Design program.

The move to the Goldsmith campus will provide graduate students with:

  • 24/7 access to individual graduate studios
  • 24/7 access to large painting and sculpture studios
  • State of the art, professionally staffed wood, metal, and model shops; artist Aida Klein manages the Model Shop and artist and expert fabricator Mark Thomas is the Woodshop manager
  • A well-equipped and professionally staffed photography lab and lighting studio managed by artist Kevin Buzzell
  • A fully equipped video and sound lab staffed by artists working in those media and managed by artist Mark Farina
  • A ceramics lab managed by renowned artist and faculty member Joan Takayama-Ogawa
  • A printmaking lab that supports work in both traditional and new technology print processes, managed by artist and master printer Maggie White Lomeli
  • Opportunities to explore bookmaking and other forms in our Laboratory Press Lab, managed by artist Leslie Ross-Robertson
  • Numerous computer labs, including dedicated, fully equipped graduate computer stations supported by Otis’s Information Technology Department.

In addition, graduate education will be enhanced by easy access to:

  • The Millard Sheets Library
  • The Otis Teaching and Learning Center
  • Otis Student Affairs services and resources, including the Student Health and Wellness Center
  • The Career Services Department
  • 24/7 secure parking and campus security
  • A broad range of dining options and cultural activities, both on campus and in the neighboring communities of Westchester and Venice.

“These exciting changes will provide an education unique to Otis, the only standalone art college located in the world-class art center that is the city of Los Angeles,” says Cranston. 

Main image: Photo by Juan Tallo/Otis College of Art and Design.