School of Art

The University of Arizona School of Art’s photography program ranks No. 3 in the nation among graduate schools according to the latest U.S. News and World Report ranking announced last week.

“Our photography program is a powerhouse,” said School of Art Director Colin Blakely. “An amazing, high-profile faculty and wildly ambitious student population combined with unprecedented resources in the Center for Creative Photography and the broader photo community in Tucson make for an unmatched combination.”

U.S. News conducts a peer assessment of Master of Fine Arts programs every four years, surveying deans and other top academics. This year the survey included 227 MFA programs in art and design. The Arizona photography program ranked third (up from ninth) and the MFA program overall jumped from 55th to 32nd nationally (15th among public universities).

“We have put an immense amount of energy intro our MFA program since the last rankings four years ago,” Blakely said.

This has included an overhaul of the curriculum to add classes in critical methods, ideation and profession practice as well as a new concentration in Interdisciplinary Practice.

“The results are a truly interdisciplinary program in which student are encouraged to cross boundaries both within and outside the School of Art, and in so doing take advantage of everything a comprehensive university has to offer. I’m delighted to see the program and our students receive this important recognition.”

Photo by Martin Krafft.

Innovations in Imaging

MFA photography students Martin Krafft and Alex Turner were selected for the 2020 Society for Photographic Education’s (SPE) Student Awards for Innovations in Imaging. Five students were recognized from across the nation and two were Wildcats.

Jurors selected award recipients based on “work that demonstrates the most innovative and unique uses of photographic techniques. All lens-based technology is eligible (including video), as well as photo-based camera-less technologies.”

Krafft was recognized for his work that organized a faux-presidential campaign drawing from Greek mythology creating space for often silenced voices. The campaign investigates diverse perspectives of terms that lie along political and social fault lines: freedom, justice, safety, and more; and seeks to make our political discourse more reflective and inclusive.

>> Martin Krafft’s website

“8 Captures of 2 Coyotes, Abandoned Endless Chain Mine, Patagonia Mountains, AZ,” by Alex Turner, 2019.

Turner’s work, “Blind River,” combines imaging technologies to highlight the profusion of sociopolitical and environmental concerns taking place in the borderlands of the American Southwest. Turner wrote a feature about the project for, a literary magazine.

In addition to the award, Turner was one of four graduate students selected to present his work at the SPE National Conference.

>> Alex Turner: Blind River

Isolation by Noah Hensley.

Illustration + Design

The School of Art’s Illustration + Design program was ranked No. 9 nationally for public universities in a recent ranking from Animation Career Review, which considered nearly 150 institutions. Arizona ranked in the top 25 percent of all programs nationally (34th out of 150).

The Illustration & Design program gives students a foundation in both design and illustration so that they can work fluidly in all aspects of visual communication. With a focus on story development, Illustration & Design students alongside work in animation and motion design including stop motion, animated short stories and animated web content.

“There are very few public institutions with a program specifically dedicated to illustration,” said Blakely. “It is great to see our growing program gain the recognition it deserves.”

Art & Visual Culture Education (AVCE) honored

AVCE is standing out as a program and the world is noticing. In recent months, four AVCE faculty members of the School of Art have been named as recipients of major awards. Read more.

  • Dr. Carissa DiCindi … Women’s Caucus Kathy Connors Teaching Award for excellence in teaching, mentoring, and collaboration from the National Art Education Association (NAEA)
  • Dr. Amy Kraehe … Mac Arthur Goodwin Award for Distinguished Service within the Profession for outstanding achievement, contribution and service in previous years to the field of art education from the NAEA
  • Dr. Ryan Shin … Outstanding Higher Education Art Educator Award from the Arizona Art Education Association (AAEA) in fall 2019. The award is given to one outstanding AAEA member is honored for service and contributions to art education that merit recognition and acclaim.
  • Dr. Gloria Wilson … NAEA Women’s Caucus Mary J. Rouse Award, in recognition for distinguished contributions by early career professionals in art education.