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BFA Programs

Through both guided and progressively self-directed work, students master the elements of painting, finding their creative independence and personal voice.

MassArt’s Painting department offers students a unique learning environment that combines traditional painting instruction with support to gain creative independence and self-directed work within an intensive, collaborative environment.

Unique To MassArt

Painting cohorts of 15 students work in group studio areas, and each student has their own personal workspace within that studio. Classes meet for 10 hours each week, and students regularly spend substantial time in studio work outside of class.

As their studies begin, Painting majors focus on core techniques and skills. Heavy emphasis is placed on drawing, from both observation and imagination. Students work mainly with oil and acrylic painting, in order to explore the main components of the language of painting, such as form, space and light articulation, composition, and color. Students also participate in frequent individual and group critiques to foster independent thinking, the construction of conceptual frameworks, and the ability to discuss and contextualize their practice in meaningful ways.  

As students progress, they are introduced to advanced techniques and processes – exploring mixed media, digital drawing, abstraction, and expanded painting, all while being encouraged to experiment and grow as individual artists. Seniors work on self-defined degree projects in painting, and develop a command of both technical and conceptual elements of painting towards the articulation of meaning.

A teacher leans in to give advice to a student on a painting.

Painting faculty provide guidance, technical instruction, and critique to help students develop their painting skills, artistic vision, and conceptual thinking.

Meet our Faculty
The courtyard of the Isabella Gardner Museum showing a statue at the bottom of the photo and a back-lit balcony with people gathered and talking looking down upon the courtyard.
World-Class Museums

The Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Harvard Art Museums, among other institutions in Boston, act as extensions to our classrooms. With free access, MassArt faculty frequently teach classes on site, studying directly from the most significant works of art in these institutions.


Graduates of MassArt’s Painting program pursue varied careers, as professional independent artists, curators, educators, art dealers and gallerists. They are equipped with the vision, knowledge and skills to navigate the art world and make a meaningful impact on the field of painting and beyond.

BFA Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Painting BFA program are expected to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes.

  • Appreciating the role of play, exploration, and investigation in creative practice
  • Understanding and valuing perceptual, formal, and conceptual approaches
  • Understanding and valuing the interdependence of approaches
  • Understanding and embracing materials and methods of drawing
  • Understanding and embracing materials and methods of painting
  • Developing facility in visual analysis and verbal communication about processes, approaches, and presentations
  • Understanding and appreciating historical and contemporary practice and works
  • Developing personal thematic focus
  • Developing clarity of thought and representation
  • Developing innovations in process, approach, and presentation
  • Understanding and appreciating the roles of artists in society
  • Understanding the processes and practices of an artist’s professional development
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621 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 879-7000