The UW-Madison Art Department encompasses 160,000 square feet of space dedicated to art production, exhibitions, and studios, including state-of-the-art facilities in printmaking, artists’ books and papermaking, painting and drawing, comics, graphic design, sculpture, ceramics, digital fabrication and printing, fine art metals, woodworking, glass (hot shop and neon lab), imaging and editing, sound and digital animation studios, and photography (black and white dark room and digital labs). The department is also proud of its two art galleries which total approximately 3400 square feet. In addition to scheduling MA and MFA thesis exhibitions, each year the department also provides visual exhibition programming for visiting artists and traveling exhibitions.
The MFA program boasts over 15,000 square feet of MFA studio space besides the facilities. All masters-level students are assigned a private studio ranging in size from 120-200 square feet. Studios are located within walking distance of the department’s industrial shops, labs, and galleries at the Art Lofts and in the Humanities Building.
40 Years of MFA Studios: Nooks and Crannies
The Art Department, once housed entirely within the Education and Humanities buildings, has spent 40 years finding creative ways to house MFA students in a plethora of buildings across campus: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Aspiring artists have used condemnable houses and storefronts, former engineering labs, a State Street attic and basement, a poultry research lab, abandoned physics offices, and a campus photo lab as places to think, research, plan and create.
While the circumstances demanded limitless ingenuity, in the spring and summer of 2009 all of our graduate students and faculty found studios among the department again in the Humanities Building or at the Art Lofts.