Beyond the Classroom

Outside of your studio and classes, you’ll find a wide range of opportunities for inspiration, professional development, connecting with other artists, and building networks.

Events & Activities on Campus

Learn about events of particular interest to artists on campus by visiting the MFA in Studio Art blog. Some of our regular activities include:

  • Visiting Artist Lecture Series—Meet influential and innovative artists, art critics, and curators who come to speak on campus. Past speakers have included installation artist/photographer Sophie Calle, Hirshhorn Museum Director Melissa Chiu, and renowned art critic Lucy Lippard.
  • Art + Process + Ideas—Each year, a select group of Bay Area artists participates in this artist-in-residence program, engaging with MFA students through lunchtime presentations, open studio opportunities, and visits to student studios.
  • Music and Dance Concerts—Tap in to the vibrant Mills performing arts scene. Enjoy cutting-edge work in music and dance by visiting composers and choreographers, our celebrated music and dance faculty, and our graduate students.

Access to Facilities & Equipment
As a Mills MFA art student, you’ll have use of the unmatched facilities of the Aron Art Center, including:
  • Your own private art studio for the duration of the program
  • Classroom studios and community studios for photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, and sculpture (including wood and metal shops and an intermedia/installation room)
  • Laboratories for work in video and new genres
  • The Mills College Art Museum, which holds more than 10,000 works of art and provides students with experience in all phases of museum work
  • Slide Space 123, featuring student exhibitions as well as work by artists who pose new problems and connect the Mills community with current trends across multiple disciplines

Teaching Assistantship
In your second year, you’ll serve as a teaching assistant in a studio art course, which will help prepare you to teach art after Mills.

Awards & Prizes

MFA students at Mills are eligible for several high-profile awards that provide exposure, financial support, and connection with a broader creative community:

  • The Jay DeFeo and Hung Liu Prizes at Mills are juried by important outside curators.
  • Mills is among an elite group of Bay Area academic institutions whose students may compete for the Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards and the Headlands Center for the Arts Graduate Fellowships.

The Bay Area Art Scene
Artists at Mills draw inspiration from the College’s location in Oakland, California, and the culture of innovation that distinguishes the San Francisco Bay Area. You can visit world-class museums like the recently expanded and remodeled San Francisco Museum of Art as well as open studios in Oakland and San Francisco. Or join the First Friday gallery crawl in Uptown Oakland.
What Can I Do with an MFA in Studio Art from Mills?

Mills opens doors to a viable career as an artist. Graduates of our MFA program include internationally collected artists such as painter Elizabeth Murray and photographer Betsy Schneider. Mills alumnae have built lasting, professional exhibiting careers, receiving commissions, grants, and awards. Many also teach at colleges and high schools and work for arts organizations. Your path will be your own—and wherever it leads, you’ll inspire new ways of thinking. Among our recent award-winning MFA graduates are:

Sara Kerr, MFA ’15
Photography, Video, Installation

Matthew Gottschalk, MFA ’12
Puppetry, Sculpture, Painting, Video, Photography

Sarah Hirneisen, MFA ’11
Sculpture, Installation

Monica Lundy, MFA ’10
Painting, Mixed Media

Michael Hall, MFA ’08

Gwynessa Balvanz, MFA ’14
Painting, Sculpture

Amy M. Ho, MFA ’11
Video, Installation 

Chris Fraser, MFA ’10
Photography, Installation

Modesto Covarrubias, MFA ’09
Drawing, Sculpture, Installation

Sandra Ono, MFA ’08
Sculpture, Installation, Drawing