S.O.S. The Good Ship VCFA is now without a captain !

On March 16th, 2010 VCFA announced that Jessica Lutz, Co-Founder and Director of the MFA in Visual Art program, is no longer on staff.

This event serves as a distress call to take collective action NOW.

Let our collective voices speak loud and clear. Hold the administration accountable for keeping the VCFA legacy alive!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Reply to Gary

Gary -

I believe the current disconnect between the administration and its understanding of MFA-V pedagogy is clearly made visible by your response.

First, calling my efforts polemic is to claim that I am not invested in, or indeed a product of, the pedagogy of the program.
For me, activism falls directly under the category of rights and responsibilities which we are asked to uphold when the MFA degree is conferred.
The pedagogy of MFA-V embraces an art practice that encourages an active questioning of institutional power and resulting critique.
In short, it seems you are placing my efforts into an oppositional relationship with the pedagogy.
Whereas, if you had a firmer understanding of the pedagogy, you would recognize my actions as that of placing our pedagogy into practice.

Second, suggesting that a new printed piece of marketing material could ever serve as evidence of a commitment to the program’s pedagogy is disturbing.
As you know, pedagogy is more then just words in print. Pedagogy is putting education in motion in very specific and carefully crafted ways.
The MFA-V pedagogy is crafted in a way that incorporates self-discovery, self –actualization, and an understanding of social context.
To date, I have seen nothing from the administration that offers this learning model during the current transition period.
In fact, the way in which the staffing change occurred is a gross offense to these important values of the program.

I have offered three distinct opportunities and suggestions to you and Tom for ways in which you might demonstrate your commitment. None of which have been acted upon.
As a reminder, they include: directly answering my three questions; writing a mission statement for the MFA-V program in collaboration with faculty that includes the founding pedagogy; appointing alumni and students to the search committee for the new Director.

Regardless if you decide to act upon my suggestions or not, I implore you to put the pedagogy of the program into your daily practice of providing administration to the MFA-V program.

Also, in case it is not easily available to you, I have attached a pdf copy of two important essays from of G. Roy Levin
and Steve Kurtz that explain the founding pedagogy of the MFA-V program.



Gary's Reply

Craig, I hope you'll forgive me for letting my communication drop off when you altered my first message by posting it with a context-changing headline as part of your polemical effort.

As Tom and I have said a number of times to you and others, and I won't redundantly restate again after today, the College is founded on student-centered pedagogy used in all three of our MFA programs and copiously described in our handbooks and catalogue, and on our website. Perhaps most to the point at present, this commitment is expressed anew in a new Visual Art print piece created with faculty help and destined to be in your mailbox, and that of all alums for whom we have good street addresses, soon. If evidence of commitment is what you really want, this new print piece should provide it.

The change in staffing recently made at the college had and has nothing to do with any changes in the pedagogy of the Visual Art program, whose students are now and will continue to be taught in the same manner as has been current in the program for years.

With best wishes,

Another Letter to Gary

April 7th, 2010

Greetings Gary -

It's been over 3 weeks since I've asked the questions below, and I have not received an answer. I and many other alumni are looking for something tangible from the administration right now. To date, we have received only platitudes. Please take a moment to provide specific details to your previous written commitments to the program, pedagogy, alumni and most of all, to current and future students.


***************** original 3 questions ****************

1. Address the ways in which you will continue to support students in their development. Specifically address your commitment to students in helping them determine their own educational values and describe how you will help them achieve self-initiated ideas of progress and professionalism.

2. As you may know, the pedagogy of the program is based on the principal that the creation and reception of art resides within a social context, and that the process of making art should be as valued as the art object itself, if not more so. Describe your commitment to this pedagogy and explain what steps you have taken to make sure it remains in place.

3. Describe the ways in which you will maintain having the program be student centered. Specifically, address the role of the administration in working with faculty in the support of the student being at the center of the program. Please provide an example that will illustrate this support during the next residency.

Mission Statement Petition

Make your voice heard inside and outside of College Hall ! Sign the petition that requests the administration to be true to their commitment to the program. Click on the link above to go to the
MFA-V Mission Statement Petition, and sign your name with email address and list your affiliation to the program.

Let the administration know that you care about the future of the program !