Program structure

A locus for creative problem solving, fostered by critical thinking, with an emphasis on inclusive community.

The experience and exploration of embodied place is a central element of this distinctive program. It encourages students’ multi-dimensional relationship with their environment both here in the Tahoe Basin and within their own communities. The low-residency interdisciplinary approach to art making encourages participants to consider how we engage the material and social worlds of our respective environments. From personal to political to planetary, and across disciplines, participants discover and grow their own sustainable professional practice.

The low-residency MFA-IA program takes advantage of emerging technologies in education. It combines two intensive ten-day residency periods each year in beautiful Lake Tahoe with full-time work in the student’s home studio.

A dynamic group of faculty, renowned visiting artists, professional mentors and peers guide you through the process of fostering an active and professional practice. Residencies bring students, faculty and visiting artists together in a collaborative community. Using all available channels, students engage, critique and explore unfamiliar ideas and cross-disciplinary questions. Personalized mentorship and extensive studio time help students develop the expressive, professional skills to realize their personal visions.

The low-residency program’s interdisciplinary approach addresses the challenges and responsibilities faced by contemporary artists. By focusing on the skill development, experimentation, and collaborative dialogue, our faculty and student body foster creative solutions. Join this program and help build a community around sustainable, professional art practice.

Recommended course of study

First year

  • Fall: Core, Focused Studio Practice, Critical Thinking, Mentorship
  • Spring: Core, Focused Studio Practice, Critical Thinking, Mentorship

Second year

  • Fall: Midway Exhibition, Focused Studio Practice, Critical Thinking, Mentorship
  • Spring: Core, Focused Studio Practice, Critical Thinking, Collaborative Strategies

Third year

  • Fall: Thesis Exhibition, Practicum, Studio Visits, Mentorship

On-ground residencies

The program consists of two, intensive ten-day on-campus residencies during summer and winter sessions over the course of 2.5 years.

  • Winter residency – Early January
  • Fall residency – Early August

Visiting faculty are invited to develop residency courses around themes integral to their concerns and expertise as artists and thinkers. Recent examples include: Art Like/Unlike Life; Context and Audience; Image and Text; In The Making; The Ineffable, The Unthinkable, The Unrepresentable; The Mobile Museum; On the Subject of Community; and, Ruins in Reverse.


During the fall and spring semesters, students continue the work started at Residency through critique groups, attending interdisciplinary lectures, and a online critical thinking course. Concurrently, students work in their home studios and continue relationships with faculty mentors and fellow colleagues.

Critical thinking seminar, rotating themes

  • Context and Culture of Contemporary Theory and Practice
  • Modes of Thought
  • Curatorial Practices and Art Writing
  • Alternative Modes of Display


  • Mentored Studio Practice
  • Mentored Midway Exhibition Design
  • Mentored Exhibition Design
  • Developing Studio Language

Frequently asked questions about the MFA in interdisciplinary arts