Director’s Note


“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

These past 20 months have been a period of profound, unprecedented loss like none other in recent history. Yet, in spite of, or perhaps because of, this collective trauma, you– the Class of 2021– have come together to produce a powerful exhibition of new work that shines a bright light into the future. Not a cry in the dark but a celebration of what lays ahead, your thesis work is not only a record of the current moment but a testimony to the strength and perseverance of everyone who is part of this community.

I am in awe of each and every one of you and I salute you for what you have achieved during this extraordinary time. I know it was not easy, with so much uncertainty, disappointment and despair, but you should all be very proud of what you have accomplished. Your graduate experience will forever be marked by this painful period but the work you have produced will not be defined by that alone. After more than two years of rigorous experimentation and research, each of you has produced a singular body of work, a refined studio practice and a visual methodology that is now the foundation for your life’s work for years to come. Collectively, you are the voice of a generation and your work seen together is the formal expression of that voice.

We are all in the business of imagining alternate futures and we have all lived through this crisis of intolerable uncertainty. Together, we can find ways to heal and move forward with more empathy, compassion and care. You are no longer students in our program; you are now our peers — professional artists and cultural workers who can help make a difference in the world and use your work to help shape a new way of being together. Fearlessly, generously, and with love + conviction.

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Anthony Aziz,
Professor of Fine Arts
Program Director, MFA Fine Arts, 2019-2021