Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel
Assistant Professor and Graduate Director
305 348 3366
Office: VH 235
alkpate@fiu.edu

Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel on the MFA In Visual Arts
Over the last decade, Miami has cemented its reputation as an important center of contemporary art production. There are world-class museums, not-for-profit art spaces, and private collections here; and a lively dialogue concerning artistic practice among artists, curators, and critics who live in the greater Miami Dade area. Florida International University aims to produce artists who can contribute to both this local discourse as well as the international contemporary art world.

The Master in Fine Arts in Visual Arts has a “post-studio” approach to artistic practice, but we do not jettison medium specificity all together. Students situate their practice in the context of the larger histories of various media while also getting a rigorous introduction to critical theory. Students in the program have a lot of interaction with those in the curatorial practice track of the MFA program, too. Indeed, the creation of the latter was at least partially to acknowledge the fact that many artists
often curate.

Candidates for the MFA in Visual Arts typically complete the 60-credit program over 3 years but can graduate in 2 years with faculty approval. Students generally take three courses each term: an art history course, an independent tutorial, and a graduate seminar.

Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel on the MFA In Visual Arts: Curatorial Practice Track
Miami has world-class museums, private collections, not-for-profit art spaces and commercial galleries. Florida International University’s curatorial practice track of our already established MFA in Visual Arts aims to fill a gap, though, in Miami’s otherwise robust art scene: a graduate-level MFA program in curatorial practice. The program considers curating as an artistic practice: much like painters must paint, curators must shape space (broadly construed) to create knowledge that perhaps language alone cannot accomplish. Therefore, students often begin working on exhibitions from the first semester.

Students are frequently in classes with studio artists, many of whose practices often include curating as well. As you will read the profiles of our inaugural cohort of students on the pages that follow, you will notice many have a background in studio practice, too: indeed, there is a blurring of once fixed designations like curator, critic, art historian, and artist. At the same time, a background in studio is not a requirement for entry into the program. Some of our students have a background in business and even the culinary arts.

The curatorial practice track of the Master in Fine Arts in Visual Arts is a 60-credit program that is typically completed over 3 years as a full-time student. Students generally take three courses each term: an art history, an independent tutorial, and a graduate seminar. Students can enroll part-time but are encouraged to take at least 6 credits a term to benefit the most from our program.