School of the Museum of Fine Arts - Boston
School of the Museum of Fine Arts - Boston - Comments and Student Experiences|
The least I can say is that SMFA is definitely for the independent minded and for those willing to put a greater planning and initiative into their art education. From my experience, if you don't, being at this school will not be a productive use of your time.
The downtown Boston location of SMFA has been one of the most rewarding parts of attending this school, as it is literally down the street from so many other great institutions and places to be, like Berklee's music scene, New England Conservatory's free shows, Newbury Street, Espresso Royale Cafe, Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Gardner Museum, Fenway Park, BU, Emerson, MassArt...etc, etc. SMFA's location in Boston is brimming with college students and is definitely gentrified by the college crowd, but in my eyes not a bad way. Learning how to navigate Boston and learning the best places to go was the most intimidating part for me at first, and indeed I'm still learning. With both attending SMFA and living happily in Boston it's almost essential to have the ability to put yourself out there--to be brave, seek help when you need it, reach out to others for support, put initiative into finding things to do in town.
I've definitely enjoyed making use of having the ability to take any academic course at Tufts, which is one of SMFA's other best positives. The ability to take strong academic courses is what first attracted me to SMFA over other art schools. In the beginning, jumping between the two schools felt confusing yet invigorating, and admittedly socially messy, but within a few weeks I was able to strike a good balance and schedule. Being able to join any club or sports team at Tufts is also a great plus, I've been really impressed with the genuine integrity of Tuft's intensely politically-minded student body. Currently I'm a member of Exposure, Tuft's human rights and photojournalism group and a photojournalist for the Tufts Daily.
Being apart of the ProArts consortium is also a fantastic resource that this school has to offer, which gives all students the ability to take courses at any of the ProArts consortium schools, including Berklee, MassArt, Boston Architectural College, and Emerson. I have a friend who is taking a fashion design class at MassArt, which is a few blocks down the road from SMFA, and I'm planning on taking two film courses at Emerson next fall semester, which is four or five T-stops away from SMFA.
SMFA, itself, has many resources to offer; constant trips during class to the MFA, which is across the street, a solid stockroom, and a constant initiative and push for students to display their work, curate their own shows, etc. In all of the classes I've taken at SMFA, which has admittedly been a small amount because of my half time status with Tufts during my time here, literally all of my professors have been friendly, helpful, and love it when students take initiative and/or show eager and interest in taking their art to the next level. (Well, not so much in the continuing ed. class I took last semester. But it was my mistake to take a continuing ed. class). Like at most college/universities, the difficulty of each class truly depends on the professor...in the anatomy drawing class I took last semester, you had to have a fully finished large drawing done to each class and if you were a combination of late/absent/did not bring in a drawing more than 3 times you would be dropped from the class without question. In contrast, the video class I am taking this semester the professor does not seem to notice if you are absent and the projects are not as strict.
The individual quality due to small class sizes (all studio class I've had at SMFA have been around 15 or less) is also one of the best parts, feedback has been excellent, you really get to know your professors as people, and review boards at the end of each semester add to this quality individual support even more. All of these benefits are added onto if you put the initiative into asking questions and putting yourself out there, which, as I stated before, is essential if you want to get all you can out of this school.
The ability of being able to take classes in any art area I wish has also been one of the most fruitful parts, as I seek to become a photographer/documentary filmmaker, and also have an apt interest in painting, sculpture, fashion design, etc.At the least, I recommend SMFA to any student who knows that SMFA is the kind of place that they can thrive. Even though SMFA as its own institution not exactly name brand and is not well known (usually telling people about its affiliation with Tufts University brings more "ah's" and head nods than stating that I go to the Museum school itself), it's been a great fit for me because I know that I can get the most of it through taking advantage of what SMFA itself has to offer and it's many relationships with other institutions.