At the core of the MFA program is the student’s engagement in intensive Studio practice, supported by the technical and conceptual expertise and critical feedback of faculty members, who are practicing professional artists in both traditional disciplines and in art practices that have developed in response to new imaging technologies. Each Studio Production course is taught by a different professor of the Department, giving students access to the varied backgrounds and experience of our faculty.
Each MFA student is provided with their own individual artist’s studio, and enjoys access to the Department’s state-of-the-art technical facilities, including painting and sculpture studios, darkrooms, digital and 3-D printing laboratories.
Theory courses provide exposure to contemporary artistic and cultural discourse, and the basis for students’ contextualization of their personal studio work within current art practice and theoretical investigation. Students enrol in two Theory courses per academic year; the Professional Internship course, in which students have the opportunity to work at one of the many art institutions in the region, or with a professional artist, is a distinctive feature of our program. Art History and Theory faculty members and adjunct professors of the Department are actively involved in research and publishing as well as in curatorial projects, in the areas of art and gender, transnational and post-colonial studies in art, critical questions in museology, the archive in contemporary art practice, among others.
The University's Department of Visual Arts is located in Ottawa's downtown core, home to many of Canada's most influential and dynamic art institutions. The Department is within walking distance of the National Gallery of Canada, the Canada Council Art Bank Gallery, the Ottawa Art Gallery, SAW Video and the Karsh-Masson Gallery, as well as the Canadian Museum of Nature. Located close by are the Canadian Museum of History, and Library and Archives Canada, and across the river in Gatineau, Québec, AxeNéo7 Gallery and Daïmôn media arts center. These and other National Capital Region art venues feature outstanding collections, high-profile exhibitions, stimulating artists’ presentations and lecture series, and first-class research facilities.
The Department’s adjunct professors include directors and curators of these important museums, galleries, and archives, as well as some of Canada's most outstanding art practitioners, critics, and historians.