“The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” —Muriel Rukeyser

“Story: Visualized” is the mission of the MFA Visual Narrative program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Its students evolve their voices as both author and artist, and consider the strengths of all media platforms, from traditional visual arts and film to interactive digital narrative platforms. The low-residency program includes three summer intensive sessions linked by two academic years of rich collaborative online study. 

This interdisciplinary MFA was launched in 2013 by Chair Nathan Fox, an accomplished artist and illustrator. Fox’s vision is to prepare students to respond to the market’s growing demand for visual storytellers. If the inaugural class is any indication, it looks like the program is off to a strong start. Their 2015 thesis projects included an interactive memory-based journey of first break-up, an animated sci-fi comic, a narrative photo book about eating alone, a love story in stop-motion animation, a handwritten journal “found” on a subway bench, and an interactive children’s book/app that features edible words.

To carry out this vision, the faculty is drawn from a range of creative fields and includes author/illustrator Edward Hemingway, critic/editor Bill Kartalopoulos (The Best American Comics), artist/prop designer Ross MacDonald (Hateful Eight, National Treasures: Book of Secrets), author Lisa Cron (Wired for Story), photographer Stacy Renee Morrison, Traditional Comics publisher/author Benjamin Marra, children’s literature critic/curator Leonard Marcus, design strategist Rachel Abrams, author/game producer Ben Zackheim, and TV writer Ed Valentine (Fairly OddParentsMarvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man).

The program is currently accepting applications and has expanded its capabilities with a new RisoLab managed by artist/publisher Pan Terzis to encourage self-publishing, and is offering continuing ed classes starting in January, including an online scriptwriting class.

To learn more, please visit mfavn.sva.edu.

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