Earn your MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking at one of the most prominent and established professional programs in the country. University of the Arts is also one of only a few programs that offers a dual master’s degree in both disciplines. 

UArts provides an environment fostering conceptual development and artistic growth, and prepares students for a variety of professional careers or advanced studies in the printmaking, papermaking and book art fields. Students are able to engage in critical contemporary and historical discourse and apply it to methods of professional practices as a foundation for career development. UArts alumni are a diverse group who excel in careers in museums, independent studios, conservation labs, universities and publishing.

Awards and Accolades

  • Program Director Cynthia Nourse Thompson was named a 2020 Maker-Creator Research Fellow at Winterthur Museum.
  • Evgenia Kim MFA ’19 won the 2019 IPCNY Artist-in-Residence Award, International Print Center, New York, and the 2019 Wind Challenge Award, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia. She has also been in juried exhibitions such as Homebody/New Prints 2020, International Print Center, New York, and Wind Challenge Exhibition, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia. Kim was recently named a 2020/Winter New Prints artist-in-residence at International Print Center.
  • Candy González MFA ’17 is a 2020 Picasso Project Grant recipient for their project Imagining Our Future Through Visual Poetry & Book Arts. They will be a resident artist at Kensington Health Sciences Academy. González was also named a 2019 West Bay View Foundation Fellow at Dieu Donné, Brooklyn; a 2018 40th Street artist-in-residence in the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia; and a Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition finalist in 2017.
  • Maria Welch ’20 won the Holle Award for Excellence and Creativity in Book Arts in 2020 for her submission, Erratic Obsession. As part of the award, Welch will receive a $10,000 prize, which will help her fund artistic projects and look for a studio space after graduation.
     

Through an intense, interactive and rigorous studio environment, you will have a profound conceptual and technical experience. The breadth and depth of possibilities for exploring the art of the book, printmaking, papermaking and letterpress printing are enormous and complex. 

The program offers additional disciplines such as intaglio relief; lithography, relief/etching and silk screening; and photography. While students get to study all types of book arts and printmaking, they may choose to concentrate in a particular medium. We encourage students to cultivate a hybrid methodology among these disciplines, delving into text as well as image; the temporal and the spatial; the three-dimensional and the two-dimensional; and the traditional as well as the experimental.
 
Truly interdisciplinary by design, the Book Arts and Printmaking (MFA) program provides students with access to myriad vibrant artistic and cultural programming across the University, including exhibitions, performances and more. Students are encouraged to embrace and experiment with other artistic disciplines in the University — Photography, Graphic Design, and Sculpture — to fully realize their visual voices.

2018 MFA Book Arts & Printmaking Exhibition Catalog

View the Catalog

Since the program’s curriculum is interdisciplinary, you will be prepared for multidisciplinary applications in the contemporary art world. You will also examine the transference of ideas, utilizing diverse media in collaboration with paper as a multiple for presenting concepts and ideas. The program champions the union of the head and the hand, the technical and the conceptual, and promotes critical thinking — a timely response to ethical, technical and social changes in current printmaking and book art pedagogy. 

With faculty, you will develop and discuss new media and digital technologies, advancing ever-richer interdisciplinary study. Most significantly, your education will extend beyond the University to the prominent historical institutions of Philadelphia, which offers an arena for research, academic exploration and inspiration, and acts as a fluid, vibrant and prolific classroom.

In your final year, you’ll take Thesis Studio and Thesis Writing Seminar to prepare you for your thesis exhibition. These courses include guest critics and independent meetings to guide you in the planning, implementation and execution of a mature body of work.

Sample Curriculum:

Total Credits: 60
Duration: 2 years, full-time

Year One

Fall: 16.5 credits
The History and Craft of Handmade Paper (3c)
The Book: Past and Present (1.5c)
Print Media (3c)
Letterpress (3c)
Bookbinding I (3c)
Graduate Seminar (3c)

Year Two

Fall: 13.5–15 credits
Thesis Studio I (3c)
Thesis Writing Seminar I (1.5c)
Bookbinding III (1.5c)
University Seminar: Criticism (3c)
Expanded Print Media (3c)
Elective (1.5–3c)

Spring: 12–15 credits
The Digital Province (1.5c)
Bookbinding II (3c)
On Paper: Collaborations in Print and Pulp (3c)
The Visual Voice: Image, Language, Typography (3c)
Elective (1.5–3c)

Spring: 15 credits
The Atelier (1.5c)
Thesis Studio II (6c)
Thesis Writing Seminar II (3c)
Bookbinding IV (1.5c)
Elective/Independent Study (3c)

Summer
Internship opportunities available for credit.
 



Visit the course catalogue.

Our faculty are well-known in their respective fields and are embedded in extensive networks of prominent professionals and institutions, helping students make rewarding connections, both locally and afar.

Notable faculty include book artist, letterpress printer and type designer Russell Maret and bookbinder Barbara Mauriello. Hedi Kyle, former head book conservator of the American Philosophical Society, taught her innovative, complex and highly skilled bindings. She returns each year to deliver a master class in the bindery.

Program Director Cynthia Nourse Thompson is a well-known and celebrated artist, professor and curator and currently serves as curator of the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She also served for 12 years as professor of book, print and paper arts at Memphis College of Art; chair of the Fine Arts Department; and curator and director of visiting artist lectures.

Featured Faculty

  • Rachel D’Agostino
  • Amanda D'Amico
  • Alexander Kirillov
  • Celine Lombardi
  • Martha McDonald
  • Sarah Nicholls
  • Shelley Spector
  • Cynthia Nourse Thompson

Visiting Artists
Visiting Artists lectures, critiques and workshops form a core component of the program. Each semester, a new lineup of artists visit UArts. 

Recent visiting artists include

  • Sue Coe
  • Leonardo Drew
  • Carson Fox
  • Nicola López
  • Clif Meador
  • Wardell Milan
  • Carrie Moyer
  • James Siena
  • Barbara Takenaga
  • Didier William

Engagement with Contemporary Artists
Book Arts and Printmaking students collaborate with renowned artists. For example, in spring 2019, artist Carrie Moyer completed her first editioned print with UArts MFA students and our master printer; artists James Siena and Wardell Milan have also completed editions with us. Additionally, high-caliber professionals engage and critique with students each semester.
 

Two photos of the Book Arts & Printmaking studios with tables and tools for bindery and papermaking.

As well as receiving individual private studio spaces, graduate students have access to newly renovated state-of-the-art facilities.

  • a fully equipped printmaking studio for intaglio, relief, lithography, serigraphy 
  • a non-silver printmaking lab and polymer platemaking equipment
  • a fully equipped papermaking studio for Eastern and Western papermaking, as well as sculptural work 
  • a letterpress studio furnished with wood and metal type and four Vandercook proof presses
  • a cleanroom
  • a fully equipped graduate bindery
  • a graduate print studio with a Vandercook proof press, Washington hand press, platen press, and etching press
  • a private editioning studio with a Vandercook proof press, etching and lithography press 
  • a digital lab furnished with a laser cutter, large format printers and film output

Additionally, students have access to the offset lithography studio by working with master printers in the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts on the Heidelberg KORTS. There, students can participate in collaborations with renowned artists, as well as print their own editions. Utilizing the vast opportunities the University of the Arts’ studios offer, the MFA program proudly unites our students with renowned artists through the process of collaboration. Most recently, they completed a handmade paper- and letterpress-printed edition for artist Lesley Dill. 

 

A photo of an art exhibit in Gallery 224.

Gallery 224
Gallery 224 is a unique intermingling of student work, from works-in-progress to final thesis shows. Located on the second floor of Anderson Hall, Gallery 224 is primarily used by UArts graduate students, who prototype and exhibit their work in the vibrant open space. The Book Arts and Printmaking program uses Gallery 224 to exhibit work and for critiques.

At UArts, you will be immersed in an environment that fosters conceptual development and prepares you for a variety of professional careers or advanced studies. Students engage in critical contemporary and historical discourse and apply it to methods of professional practices as a foundation for their careers.

Featured Alumni

Kyle Anthony Holland MFA ’19
Holland’s work has been exhibited internationally, including in notable shows at the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum in Atlanta; the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland; the Center for Book Arts in New York City; and the King St. Stephen Museum in Szekesfehervar, Hungary. Additionally, his work is in the collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; Nevada Museum of Art in Reno; New York City’s Center for Book Arts; and Yale University, among other institutions. 

In 2012, Holland was awarded the Scholarship for Advanced Studies in Book Arts at the New York Center for Book Arts. He has also been employed at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and the studio of artist Lesley Dill. He is currently serving as faculty and studio manager in the MFA Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Additionally, Holland continues to teach workshops at prestigious programs, such as the one at Wells College Summer Institute in Aurora, New York.

Evgenia Kim MFA ’19
In 2019, Evgenia Kim received the Artist-in-Residence Award at the International Print Center in New York City and the Wind Challenge Grant at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia; both awards include an exhibition in 2020. Her work is part of a number of prestigious collections, including the Tisch Library at Tufts University, Princeton and Stanford universities, and Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has shown work nationally and internationally in countries including Japan, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, France and Italy. She is currently represented by Booklyn, in Brooklyn, New York.

Candy Gonzalez MFA ’17
Candy Alexandra González is a Little Havana–born and raised, Philadelphia-based, multidisciplinary visual artist, poet, activist and trauma-informed educator. Currently, González’s artwork explores themes of body politics, fat phobia and self-healing, through photography, poetry, printmaking and papermaking.

González received their MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from University of the Arts in 2017. Since graduating, they have been a 40th Street artist-in-residence in West Philadelphia; a West Bay View Fellow at Dieu Donné in Brooklyn; and a Picasso Project Resident Artist at Kensington Health Sciences Academy in North Philadelphia.

Sue Carrie Drummond MFA ’15
Drummond is assistant professor of art at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. In 2017, she received the Artist’s Book Residency Grant at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York; that same year, she was awarded a College Book Art Association project assistance grant.

Drummond has been a studio assistant in papermaking at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina and an artist-in-residence at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) in Minneapolis. She has taught workshops at MCBA and Purple Word Center for Book and Paper Arts in Jackson, Mississippi. She has also exhibited widely in numerous recognized group exhibitions at such venues as Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Temple Contemporary in Philadelphia and Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington. Her work is included in several special collections nationally, including those at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; and Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Additionally, Drummond has continued to teach at prominent institutions such as the Women’s Studio Workshop, among other locations.

Internships & Off-Campus Experiences

UArts’ proximity to New York City and Washington, D.C., gives you ample opportunities to regularly visit museums, galleries, print shops, papermaking studios and artists’ studios, and establish lasting relationships with creative professionals and artistic leaders. 

The curriculum is flexible and allows for valuable internship experiences at institutions such as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Library Company of Philadelphia and Magnolia Editions in Oakland, California. Additionally, Philadelphia offers a vital contemporary art landscape, from printmaking collectives to artist-run spaces such as Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Print Center, Second State Press, Space 1026, the Soap Box: Community Printshop & Zine Library and Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
 

How to Apply

Application Deadline: The University is currently reviewing applications to this program on a rolling basis. Students may continue to apply after the February 1 priority deadline and will be considered for admission and scholarships on a space-available basis. See Graduate Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarship for further information.

To apply, the following materials are required:

  • Application fee of $60 (nonrefundable; submitted with your application)
  • Official transcripts
    • Official transcripts from all prior undergraduate and graduate schools attended are required. Transcripts should be issued directly by the Registrar's Office at the college(s) attended and sent to the Office of Admissions, The University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 or via email to gradcredentials@uarts.edu. For transcripts from outside the United States, please refer to the instructions provided below for international students.
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation may either be requested through the online application form, or mailed to the Office of Admissions. At least two must come from professors or professional in your field familiar with your capabilities and credentials. The third may be from a colleague, collaborator or a peer.
       
  • Statement of intent and résumé
    • Your statement of intent and your résumé are uploaded and submitted as part of your online application. When writing your statement, please detail your professional objectives for applying to the MFA Program, focusing on your accomplishments and progress within your work to date, and the directions you would like to further explore in graduate study. Why is graduate study a necessary and important part of your future as an artist? What will set you apart from other applicants? Your résumé should highlight all of your professional accomplishments including employment, honors, exhibitions and publications.
  • Creative portfolio
    • Applicants should submit a portfolio of 20-30 digital images. These should represent the applicant's full range of studio experience, preferably including printmaking and book arts. All digital images, time-based media and writing samples should be submitted for review online via SlideRoom.com. Applicants may upload images (jpg), video (mov, wmv, flv) or .pdf documents. For good image quality and fast upload, images should be sized no larger than 1280 x 1280 px @ 72dpi. Video files must be kept under 20MB. Further instructions are provided within the SlideRoom Portal. There is a $10 fee to submit a portfolio in addition to the $60 application fee.
  • Personal interview
    • After the application has been processed, each applicant is contacted for a personal interview conducted by the program director. For applicants who cannot interview at the university, interviews can be conducted via telephone or Skype.

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above, international applicants or those with foreign credentials must submit the following.

  • Official transcripts
    • All transcripts from outside the United States must be in English and must be official. The Office of Admissions may request that international students obtain a transcript evaluation from a third-party credential evaluation service (such as World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators) in cases where further information is required to assess international credentials. 
       
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency
    • International students whose native language is not English must submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test. A minimum TOEFL score of 79, IELTS score of 6.0, or Duolingo English Test score of 100 is required for admission. In lieu of the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test, completion of Level 9 in the University of the Arts ESL Institute will be accepted.   

Applicants who meet the academic and creative requirements for admission but whose scores do not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree study may receive an offer of conditional admission that first requires enrollment in the University of the Arts' English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI). Applicants who successfully complete Level 9 of ESL study in ESLI will then be able to begin their degree program studies.

In special circumstances, applicants who have not taken the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test can request a waiver of this requirement. The request should be submitted in writing and include the reason for opting not to take the exams. Requests will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may require an interview. A waiver may be considered for those applicants who enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university in the U.S. and successfully completed two semesters of college-level English, not taken in conjunction with ESL study, and earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 in those classes.

I20/F-1 International Student Visa Information: Upon acceptance, students will be contacted by the University of the Arts International Student Programs Office regarding visa counseling and all materials required to create an I-20 in order to obtain an F-1 visa. Contact Mara Flamm, Director of International Student Programs, with any questions regarding your I-20 or F-1 visa.

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