The MFA-IA Summer Residency 2020 will be held virtually, as SNU as an institution has decided on a continuation of a virtual format until mid-fall. The Tahoe region is known as a place to retreat, and it is already attracting more people from all over than usual, thus putting our MFA community at high risk for COVID-19 transmission. We are extending the dates of our residency, and those will now be August 7 – 21. This expansion from its original dates, guided by the voices of our community, will allow time for recovering energy, and hopefully allow more opportunity for points of contact that might have happened spontaneously in person, as well as more time to work on your individual practices. Additionally, we have decided to continue a series of Artist Lectures over the course of the fall semester, offered virtually, to allow additional ways to engage alumni voices as well.

Seeing each other live is a critical part of our program. Missing shared experiences in the Tahoe environment, not seeing each other’s work live, and being at our separate homes rather than at Holman Arts Center together are all part of the impact of the current COVID-19 health crisis. Though we are saddened by this, we know it is our job to adapt to the uncertainties and necessities of this new era. As a community, we are determined to find a way through this crisis, maintaining connections and critiques in ways that will deepen the cultural context of your work.

The MFA-IA program specifically has several advantages as we enter this next phase. One of the program’s founding concepts is an emphasis on creative problem solving, and so all of our participants are prepared to think in unconventional ways about how to address this challenge and new formats within. As a program, we have the ability to provide a virtual thesis exhibition with a corresponding catalog to our graduating students this summer. Additionally, we are working on designs for this thesis group to exhibit their work the next time we are able to be together. We have a jump on other programs, due to our having already established a complex social virtual environment and our emphasis on each student’s individual terms of success. Moving temporarily to an all virtual mode of interaction is a reflection of the current international art world, with exhibitions and production across the world shifting to virtual platforms.

Knowing that informal gatherings and conversations are an important part for each of you in becoming part of this community, we hope that you will find ways to welcome new students so they too can have a sense of belonging to our community. We know that changing to a virtual residency will affect each of you in different ways. We will be sending out full schedules and event information in the next couple of weeks.  Julia, Anza, Austin, Logan, and Russell have been working to put together our calendar, packet, and Field Guide for this summer. We are actively collaborating with the Summer MFA-IA faculty members who are teaching your courses to come up with innovative, fun, inventive, and new ways to invite you to engage in your virtual courses. We welcome your questions and queries as we work to create a new and powerful format for you this summer.