About

Recently included in Artsy’s list of The Top 15 Art Programs in the country, the Art and Social Practice MFA is a three-year, flexible residency program (online or in person) combining individual practice, group work, community partnerships, and experiential learning with diverse faculty. The program’s blend of critical and professional practice, alternative pedagogy, collaborative social engagement, and transdisciplinary exploration produces an immersive educational environment. As part of the flexible residency format, students can be in Portland or away making work in diverse locations. As an extension of the program’s unique approach, graduate students have the opportunity to collaborate directly in ongoing projects including:

Columbia River Creative Initiatives (CRCI)
An artist-led set of programs and classes held at the Columbia River Correctional Institution, a minimum-security prison in Portland. Past programming includes an Artist Residency for incarcerated artists, a variety show produced inside the prison, and graduate student-initiated special projects.

King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA)
KSMoCA is a contemporary art museum inside of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School (PreK-5th) in NE Portland, OR. KSMoCA’s programs are collaboratively developed with the school community, PSU students, and a team of artists. KSMoCA recently expanded to form the Harriet Tubman Center for Expanded Curatorial Practice.

To support writing and web-based projects that offer documentation, critique, commentary and context for a field that is active and expanding, the program produces Social Forms of Art, a bi-annual journal. Graduating students are offered the opportunity to design and teach their own class; they also each produce a graduate project, a public artist lecture surveying their work in the program, and a graduate publication that adds to the unique breadth of publications on socially engaged art emerging from the program. Each Spring the program hosts Assembly, a co-authored social practice conference with workshops, lectures, and participatory projects. A Visiting Artist program creates exposure and sustained mentorship for students through the academic year. The Art & Social Practice Archive, a new initiative housed in the PSU Library Special Collections, is the first public archive of ephemera related to art and social practice.

Click here to view the Program Handbook 2020-2021.

Apply here.

Photo by Mark Menjivar, 2014.

The program accepts approximately six students annually. The deadline for applying is in the first two weeks of January. Interested persons are encouraged to make arrangements to visit the program.

Program Videos


Video by Salty Xi Jie Ng, 2019.


Video by Roz Crews, 2019.