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The Department of Art at Sam Houston State University is expanding their emphasis on community engagement with the new MFA in Art & Social Practice. This three-year, 60-credit-hour program provides students with opportunities to develop interdisciplinary projects and collaborate with local organizations and serve a meaningful purpose to the surrounding communities who help create them. 

“Social Practice is a relatively new and growing field in which art is a means of civic empowerment, community organization and development, activism, and education,” said Michael Henderson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Art. “Students will learn artistic methods to help communities discover their histories and cultural identities while providing voices for stories that need to be heard, especially in underserved areas.”

Students are provided with individual off-campus studio space in the newly renovated Natural Science and Art Research Center and have access to all facilities in the Dana G. Hoyt Fine Arts Building, including design, animation, photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture studios as well as galleries, computer labs, and photography darkrooms.

Students also work directly with local art centers, museums, galleries, advocates, non-profits, and visiting artists on community-based projects. Their work is displayed publicly at the end of their first year and at the conclusion of the program, which includes a collaborative publication and thesis exhibition featuring work from third-year students.

Graduate assistantships are available to provide MFA students with the opportunity to work alongside faculty and gain experience in gallery practices and operations.   

“This MFA program is unique to the state of Texas, and our graduates will be entrepreneurs who create programs that engage communities through non-profit as well as commercial organizations,” said Henderson. 

Applications for Fall 2021 are open through April 12.

For more information, visit the MFA in Art & Social Practice homepage or email Rebecca Finley at

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