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Graduate Catalog

Department of Art

(585) 395-2209

Chairperson and Associate Professor: Debra Fisher, MFA, Ohio State University. Associate Professors: Christopher Burnett, Director of Visual Studies Workshop, MFA, University of New Mexico; Jennifer Hecker, MFA, University of Minnesota. Assistant Professors: Kitty Hubbard, Visual Resource Coordinator MFA, SUNY Brockport/Visual Studies Workshop; Timothy Massey, Gallery Director, MFA, SUNY Brockport/Visual Studies Workshop; Lori Mills, MFA, Rochester Institute of Technology; Jim Morris, MFA, University of Massachusetts. Visual Studies Workshop staff and adjunct faculty include: Rich Della Costa, BA, Niagara University; William Johnson, MLS, University of Michigan; Joan Lyons, MFA, SUNY Buffalo; Scott Laird, MA in Liberal Studies, New York University.



A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is offered through a joint program with SUNY Brockport and the Visual Studies Workshop. The Workshop, a media arts center located in two historic buildings in Rochester's Museum and Cultural District, is one of the oldest alternative arts organizations in the country. Begun in 1969, it helped to develop a responsive structure for the emergence of photography and media arts in the '70s and has maintained a central leadership role in the support and exploration of contemporary image making for more than 30 years. Graduates of VSW's Master of Fine Arts program are making major contributions to the field as teachers, artists, writers, curators, and media specialists; numerous others have benefited by study in its evening and summer institute programming. The Workshop serves artists as well as the public through its programs in exhibitions and traveling exhibitions, publishing, education, and community outreach.

All of the courses for the MFA program are held at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. This two-and-a-half year program incorporates study in the history, theory, criticism, and practice of photography, book arts, independent film, video, and computer arts.

The advantage of this unique program to students is the challenging environment that it generates for them. Candidates in the MFA program have access to and gain training in the following program areas of the Workshop:

Exhibitions Program
Roger Rowley, Exhibitions Program Coordinator

Broad interpretations of media-based arts are emphasized in the spacious galleries at the Visual Studies Workshop. The galleries and a traveling exhibition service feature and circulate the work of diverse, emerging and renowned artists internationally. Recent exhibitions have incorporated photography, film, video, audio, printmaking, bookmaking, mixed-media, sculpture, installation, performance, digital and computer art. In addition to viewing current exhibitions, visitors can browse through a bookstore featuring artists' books or visit the Collector's Gallery, a unique sales inventory of collectible photography, fine prints, drawings, and rare books.

Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Culture

For more than 25 years, Afterimage has provided insightful coverage of the latest developments in independent photography, film, video, and visual books. No other journal in the field has published such an interesting and wide-ranging mix of feature articles, reflective essays, exhibition and book reviews, conference reports, and news stories. In recent years, Afterimage has brought the same level of informed and accessible analysis to the new computer and telecommunications technologies in media arts.

Visual Studies Workshop Press
Joan Lyons, VSW Press Coordinator

Foremost among artists' book publishers, the Press has helped define the field. It has published more than 450 books by artists, photographers and writers, as well as research titles in the visual arts. Classes, access programs, residencies, and internships in book arts, computer design and imaging, and offset printing emphasize the integration of text and image and of traditional and developing technologies. The Press consults on all aspects of book publishing and production.

Research Center
William Johnson, Research Center Coordinator

The Research Center maintains a permanent collection of primary- and secondary-source materials on contemporary photography, visual books, video arts, and filmmaking. The collection includes an independent press archive of artists' books, an extensive collection of photographic books and illustrated books, prints by contemporary and historic photographers, amateur snapshots, albums, and lantern slides, as well as information files on photographers, printmakers, video artists, and visual arts organizations.

Media Center
Rich Della Costa, Media Center Coordinator

The Media Center supports film- and video-making through its low-cost equipment rental to independent producers and members of the community, training workshops and screening and exhibition programs.

Evening Classes
In addition to the MFA program in Visual Studies, the Workshop holds evening classes in photography, film, and video, which may be taken for credit through SUNY Brockport.

Summer Institute
The Summer Institute, which offers a wide selection of intensive one-week workshops, is designed to stimulate new ways of working and of thinking about work as well as providing opportunities to expand technical skills and work with new processes. Students may register for graduate or undergraduate credit through SUNY Brockport.

Residency Program
Artists' residencies are ongoing and bring students in contact with the development of contemporary work by artists of regional and international acclaim.

All program areas accept qualified interns on a three- to six-month basis. Interns participate in ongoing production or special projects. In addition to receiving professional field-related experience, interns have access to VSW facilities. Please direct inquiries to program areas.

Admission Policy
Only full-time students will be admitted to the program. Applicants must present evidence that they have received a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The program does not require that applicants have a BFA. To be considered for admission, an applicant must submit a completed application, a statement of interest, a résumé, official transcripts from each institution attended as an undergraduate or graduate student, three letters of reference, and a portfolio, slides, or video-tape of his or her most recent and mature work. The deadline for receipt of completed applications is February 15 for fall admission. For application materials, to discuss questions about the program, or to visit, contact the MFA Program in Visual Studies, Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince Street, Rochester, NY 14607; (585) 442-8676; e-mail address:; Web site at

Program Requirements
This is a 60-credit program, requiring five semesters and one summer. The program is designed to introduce students to the field of visual studies in general, as well as to provide specializations in any of four areas of emphasis: photography, electronic media, video/film and book arts. The summer workshops provide several intense involvements in specialized areas enabling students to work with visiting faculty. During the fourth semester, students will take a research seminar in preparation for the internship and final project.

Distribution Requirements (60 credits total) Credits
Studio Courses in Visual Studies (31 credits)


1. Core Studio CoursesGraduate Foundation(Semester1, 9 credits)  

ART 513 Electronic Media I


ART 532 Interpretive Strategies


ART 555 Imaging Systems I

2. Studio Courses in Visual Studies (Semester 2-4, 18 credits)  
  a. Photography  

ART 534 Advanced Photography II


ART 636 Advanced Studio Problems in Photography

  b. Film, Video and Digital Media  

ART 515 16 MM Film I


ART 516 16 MM Film II


ART 514 Digital Media II


ART 617 Advanced Studio Problems in Media


ART 591 Summer Institute Workshop (varied)

  c. Imaging Systems and Visual Books  

ART 556 Imaging Systems II


ART 657 Advanced Studio Problems in Imaging Systems


ART 658 The Structure of the Visual Book

  d. Additional Studio Courses  

ART 535 Expanded Issues in Exhibition


ART 735 Arts Organization practicum

Seminars in Visual Studies (Semesters 1-5; 12 credits)  

ARH 561 History of Photography I


ARH 564 History of Photography II

  . ARH 563 Contemporary Media Survey  

ARH 664 Media Culture (Art Theory and Philosophy)


ARH 599 Independent Study in Visual Studies

.   Academic Electives (Semesters 2-5; 6 credits)  

Summer Institute (Summer 1 or 2; 6 credits)


ART 591 Internship and Final Project (Semesters 4-5; 9 credits)


ART 797 Graduate Project I Research Seminar


ART 790 Internship


ART 798 Graduate Project II Final Project


Core Program

The core program is required of all students entering the program and includes both studio courses and seminars. In the first semester, a series of workshops is structured to introduce students to the full range of available resources and tools, and to encourage an integrated approach to working with diverse materials and presentational means. These workshops meet intensively on a rotating basis; topics include photography (black-and-white, color, and various formats), studio and installation techniques, alternative photographic processes, book arts, digital media, and video/film. Seminars in the history and theory of photography and related media are also required as part of the core program.

Academic Electives (6 credits)
Students may select any 500- and 600-level courses offered at SUNY Brockport for which they are eligible. Courses may be from the sciences, humanities, (including art history), social sciences, or the professions. Electives may include a maximum of three credits of independent study. Courses from the Department of Art may not be used to satisfy the academic elective requirement.

Summer Institute Workshops (6 credits)
The Summer Institute is a series of 20­30 intensive one-week workshops conducted by visiting faculty. The workshops address a wide variety of concerns in photography and related media. General categories for workshops include: processes and techniques, history and criticism, printing and book arts, and electronic imagery. The six credits of Summer Institute courses may fulfill either studio or seminar distribution requirements.

During the fourth semester, students will develop project proposals and do preliminary work in preparation for the internship and final project. The internship is designed to benefit students' work by providing experience in the field. The final project is a studio project resulting in an exhibition, videotape or film, or an equivalent. Two faculty members act as advisors to the project and one outside advisor also is selected.


Interdisciplinary Arts for Children

(585) 395-5304

Program Director and Associate Professor: Diane B. McGhee, MS, James Madison University; Professor: Oh-Kon Cho, PhD, Michigan State University. Associate Professors: Jacqueline Davis, MA, Ohio State University; William Hullfish, Jr., EdD, SUNY at Buffalo; Assistant Professor: Juanita Suarez, MFA, University of Utah.

An MS in Elementary Education with an Interdisciplinary Arts for Children Specialization is offered by the Department of Education and Human Development in cooperation with arts education specialists in the Arts for Children Program and the Departments of Art, Dance, Interdisciplinary Arts, and Theatre. The 33-credit degree requires a nine-credit elementary education core; a 15-credit arts concentration, which includes courses in art, dance, music, and theatre and an interdisciplinary arts for children seminar; six credits of breadth courses; and three credits of electives selected with advisement. Admissions procedures and curriculum are described in the Department of Education and Human Development section of this catalog.

Art Courses

ART 513 Digital Media I. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Introduces students to an in tersection of photography, video, and sound. All production and post-production is done outside of class time, and students meet as a group for discussions and screenings of work. 3 Cr.

ART 514 Digital Media II. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Allows students to continue to investigate the intersection of photography, video, and sound, and work on individual projects, meeting as a group for discussions and screenings of work. Also provides an introduction to the history of independent media arts. 3 Cr.

ART 515 16 MM Film I. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Introduces the student to independent 16 mm film production. Focuses on individual expression through scriptwriting, production and postproduction. Sessions include the history of film, camera operation, use of light meters, lighting, composition, directing actors, and the principles and techniques of editing. 3 Cr.

ART 516 16 MM Film II. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Provides students with advanced aesthetics needed to work with 16 mm film. Covers synch soundtrack, advanced editing techniques, working with a film crew and budgeting. Requires students to produce a film project with soundtrack by the end of the semester. 3 Cr.

ART 519 Practices of Teaching Art on the Elementary Level. Expects students in this graduate-level course to create individual or partner-based Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE). Requires students to make presentations instead of group-based work, do research and write an accelerated and longer length art-therapy paper, develop a more involved Multiple Intelligences Project, and accomplish advanced art assignments. 3 Cr.

ART 532 Interpretive Strategies. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Is based on the broadest possible conception of photography as the present technology of visual language. Treats the camera much as one would a pencil, and asks the many questions raised by the mere act of making a picture: What is meant by speaking in visual, as opposed to verbal, terms? What is the impact of social and psychological circumstances on the visual message? What is the effect of visual media on their audiences? How, eventually, will a record of visual artifacts be interpreted. 3 Cr.

ART 534 Advanced Photography II. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop). Explores what it means to develop a personal system of working and decision making that stresses self-criticism and the ability to become aware of directions in their own work and the work of others. Strengthens concepts of seeing and sequencing, presentation, exhibition formats, and printing standards. 3 Cr.

ART 555 Imaging Systems I. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Provides an introduction to visual books and alternative photographic processes, that, as physical time-based media, stand between photography and electronic imaging. Explores book structures as a means of organizing visual/textual material. Introduces a variety of alternative processes (cyanotype, gum bichromate, etc.) in which photographic images are produced on plain paper and other surfaces using large-scale negatives and contact printing. 3 Cr.

ART 556 Imaging Systems II. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Examines contemporary use of text/image relationships, as well as historical traditions in visual arts and media as the basis for artists' bookworks. Requires students to plan and produce an editioned book. Emphasizes the translation of a series of pages through the use of offset lithography as a printmaking process. 3 Cr.

ART 599 Independent Study in Art. Permits students to pursue in greater depth topics studied previously. Designed individually through consultation between student and instructor to suit the needs of the student and the special competence of the instructor. 1-6 Cr.

ART 617 Advanced Studio Problems in Electronic Media. (Taught at Visual Studies Work shop.) An independent study course. Investigates the intersection of photography, sound, and the computer. Designed by the student in consultation with the instructor based on a project proposal submitted the prior semester. Requires the student to meet bi-weekly with the instructor and present the project at the end of the semester as an exhibition or lecture. 3 Cr.

ART 636 Advanced Studio Problems in Photography. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) An independent study class designed by the student in consultation with the instructor, based on a project proposal submitted the prior semester. 3 Cr.

ART 657 Advanced Studio Problems in Imaging Systems. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) An independent study for students with a good working background in imaging systems, visual books, and offset lithography. Requires a suitable independent study project such as the design, printing, and binding of an editioned bookwork or print portfolio, a series of one-of-a-kind books, or an environmental book. 3 Cr.

ART 658 Structure of the Visual Book. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Requires students to conceive, construct, and bind several books to gain a better understanding of the book format as an art form, rather than a reproduction of pre-existing work. Includes lectures on and discussion of prime examples of current books. 3 Cr.

Art History Courses

ARH 510 Contemporary Art Criticism (A). Examines the relationship between the critic, the artist, and the art market. 3 Cr.

ARH 519 19th-century Art (A). Covers the art of 19th-century Europe and America, with emphasis on patronage and the artistic movements that dominated the century. 3 Cr.

ARH 520 20th-century Art (A). Covers the history of architecture, sculpture, and painting from late nineteenth century to present. 3 Cr. Every Spring

ARH 525 Italian Renaissance Art (A). Examines the works of art and architecture from 15th and 16th centuries in Italy. 3 Cr.

ARH 531 American Art. Surveys painting, sculpture, architecture, and furniture from colonial times to present. 3 Cr.

ARH 541 Art Worldwide (A). Field trips overseas focusing on selected topics in art history. Could be repeated for credit. 3 Cr.

ARH 561 History of Photography (A). (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) Surveys the development of photographic processes and the movements and artists that have influenced photography. 3 Cr.

ARH 563 Contemporary Media Survey. Surveys the visual and media arts since World War II, with primary emphasis on photography and secondary emphasis on the mass media, the book arts, the time-based arts, installation art, etc. 3 Cr.

ARH 564 History of Photography II. Surverys the development of photographic processes and the movements and artists that have influenced photography from 1900 to 1950. 3 Cr.

ARH 570 Asian Art (A). Studies Indian, Chinese, and Japanese arts from their origins to the 19th century, with emphasis on Buddhist art, and Chinese influences on the arts of Japan. 3 Cr.

ARH 590 Topics in Art History (A). Reserved for topics unlisted in this catalog. May be repeated for credit. 3 Cr.

ARH 591 Senior Seminar in Art History (A). Prerequisite: ARH 201 and 202, or instructor's permission. Examines in detail selected topics in art history with the emphasis on the exploration of research methodologies in fine arts, and writing papers and sharing them in the class. 3 Cr.

ARH 599 Independent Study in Art History. Designed individually through consultation between student and instructor to suit the needs and interests of the student, and the special competence of the instructor. Additional requirements may be established by the department. Variable Credit.

ARH 664 Art Theory and Philosophy. (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop.) During the past 25 years, ideas about art have come to play an increasingly dominant role in art production. An artist's activity is invariably informed by (often implicit) theoretical assumptions. Through their work, encourages students to articulate and clarify some of these assumptions to provide them with a set of analytical tools and definitions to help identify such assumptions in their own practice. 3 Cr.

ARH 699 Independent Study in Art History (A). Special project in art history arranged in consultation with the instructor/sponsor prior to registration. May be repeated for credit. 1-6 Cr.

ARH 791 Seminar in Art History (A). Intended to explore advanced research methods in fine arts, and discuss problems of art historical nature. Focuses each time on a different subject. May be repeated for credit. 3 Cr.

Arts for Children Courses

IAC 550 Performance for Young Audiences. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. Explores performance and staging techniques for young audiences; develops skills in improvisation and ensemble playing; prepares shows involving art, dance, music, and theatre; tours and performs for and with young audiences. Requires that students write research papers. 4 Cr.

IAC 580 Workshop in Interdisciplinary Arts for Children. Through lecture, discussion and participation, studies the use of creative arts in the classroom and community agency. Focuses on integration of all the art forms. Requires graduate students to function as group leaders. 3 Cr.

IAC 590 Arts for Children Special Topics Workshop. Prerequisite: Program director's permission. Provides students opportunities to develop an understanding of one topic that focuses on application of interdisciplinary arts experiences for children, e.g., performances for or by children, subject integration, curriculum development, and research. Deals with current arts and education issues and may be developed in response to programmatic needs identified by faculty and students. For information contact IAC program director. 2-6 Cr.

IAC 591 Interdisciplinary Arts for Children Seminar. Discusses issues and representative theories; and entails program development and evaluation, and development of leadership skills and ability to utilize arts resources. 3 Cr. Spring

IAC 680 Summer Sun Strong Museum. Prerequisite: Program director's permission. Through collaboration with colleagues, provides students with hands-on experience in developing curriculum with a focus on multiple intelligences and integrative arts within a unique museum setting. 3 Cr.

IAC 690 Arts for Children Special Topics. Provides students opportunities to develop an understanding of topics which focus on application of interdisciplinary arts experiences for children, integration of arts into curriculum, and research. Deals with current arts, education, and advocacy issues. May explore other topics in response to programmatic needs identified by the faculty and students. 2-6 Cr.

IAC 692 Aesthetic Education Institute. Through the Aesthetic Education Institute (AEI), entails an intensive summer seminar for educators, in which students engage with the four art areas of music, dance, theater, and visual art. Through performances by professional artists who model curricular offerings, provides students with the opportunity to discuss the art making process. Requires students to enroll both with SUNY Brockport and The Aesthetic Education Institute and pay separate enrollment fees. 3 Cr.

IAC 699 Independent Study in Arts for Children. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. Arranged in consultation with instructor/sponsor prior to registration. 1-3 Cr.

The information in this publication was current as of December 2002 when the text was compiled. Changes, including but not restricted to, tuition and fees, course descriptions, degree and program requirements, policies, and financial aid availability may have occurred since that time. Whether or not a specific course is scheduled for a given term is contingent on enrollment, budget and staffing. The college reserves the right to make any changes it finds necessary and may announce such changes for student notification in publications other than the College catalogs. For the purpose of degree and program completion, students are bound by the requirements in effect as stated in the printed catalog at the time of their matriculation at SUNY Brockport. Inquiries on the current status of requirements can be addressed to the appropriate College department of office. Also refer to the Brockport Web site home page at for current information.