SAIC - Low-Res MFA

The Low-Res MFA consists of 3 summers spent in Chicago and 4 semesters spent in your home base community - connecting with peers/professors over the internet, taking online classes, and connecting 1-on-1 with a mentor in your home base community.

I did my first year of undergraduate study at SAIC - I remain connected with several artists in that community years after moving back to California and have since taken summer classes at their affiliated summer program Ox-Bow.

It's a good school and the Low-Res program could be a great way to build on my community in Chicago as well as connect with a mentor in the Bay Area.

My biggest concern with this program is the social connection. Connecting with peers over the internet is not ideal especially when sharing art, but on the other hand it does build a social practice of maintaining connection over distance. If your peer connections are all based on studio proximity it can be difficult to weather a move or other life changes. 

CCA - MFA in Visual Arts

I have gone to several events at CCA - including an interesting community critique lead by a professor and 2 curators. I like the overall community feel of this school, it has a good TA program for those who want to teach and is All-Arts focused. The grad studios are small, but close to my house. 

Looking at faculty artwork online has been tricky for several reasons, including the cumbersome CCA directory. I haven't yet found someone's work that I totally connect with, but it seems like many of the professors make interesting art and I'd like to learn more in person.

SFAI - MFA

I have less experience with this school, but in taking a class with Pamela Lanza (a SFAI alum) I was also introduced to 2 other SFAI alumni: Zheng Chongbin and Travis Somerville. I thought both artists were really interesting - meeting them and seeing their studios definitely influenced my recent work. It certainly reflects well on SFAI that interesting alumni are active in the area, exhibiting abroad and also taking time to open their studios for a fellow alumni's class.

The work out of their painting department is pretty interesting (showcased with better web-design than CCA) and professor Jeremy Morgan's work is bold, voluptuous and has a beautiful use of paint.

UC Berkeley - MFA in Art Practice

I have heard a lot of wonderful things about this program and especially the ceramics department. It's a much smaller program and has a strong liberal arts bent - requiring students to take classes in other departments. These similarities to my undergrad education could be wonderful because I definitely loved my experience at Mills, but could also be limiting if I don't connect individually with the professors.

Being a small program, it naturally has fewer alumni - which could be a more tight knit community (awesome!) or simply a much smaller network.