TEACHING ARTISTS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
“We need art and artists more than ever right now,” said Thomas Christopher Greene, president of the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA), hinting at the current political environment in which we find ourselves. “Art is a way of knowing and a way to the truth.”
That’s why one small college nestled in the smallest state capital in the country is quickly becoming a national model for fine arts education and turning out artists who want to make a difference. VCFA is based in Montpelier, Vermont and sits on a campus that dates back to 1868 (the land was purchased from Vermont College). Despite its historic roots, it is home to a team that is pushing fine arts education into the future through a progressive pedagogy and innovative programs in art and design education, film, graphic design, music composition, visual art, writing and publishing.
“It’s the most interesting experiment in education happening right now,” Greene said. “We are reframing what it means to be a fine arts school.” VCFA offers low-residency graduate programs – it was the first in the nation to do so in the fine arts – that allow students to pursue professional goals while respecting their personal commitments. Individualized study plans and one-on-one-mentoring are key aspects of each program.
But that’s not all – at the philosophical cornerstone of VCFA is the belief that art is a social tool. “Our focus is on the way art functions in society,” said Matt Monk, academic dean. “Our orientation is not toward objects as art but what art can accomplish in the world.”