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The Memphis College of Art

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Very unprofessional school.Quite BrightArt & Design Department
Very unprofessional school. Didn't feel I learned anything from here other than stress and how to do mindless busy work. Buddy system with teachers is required to pass, drugs are a big topic in class and out. Very unsafe campus and city. Be careful about ever accepting a scholarship from this place if you leave for any reason before withdrawl time is even up...they will stick you for the bill years later. School allowed a paper called Unsupervised Minds drawn by students to be published and placed into the boxes of all students that depicted rape and violent images and did not apparently see anything wrong with this.I left after I saw this. It was not what I was going to spend thousands of dollars for an education to see, but still ended up doing this by paying back loan for the two months I was there and now the thousands they have attached on my credit for that time when yet again....I had a scholarship and it was before withdrawl time was even up!!!!! Lots of issues in the dorms the school wants to brush under the table including attempted suicides, car break ins, unsafe area of town, and issues in the park surrounding the school. I always watched my back going to my car with my keys in hand. I really hated having any classes that let out near dark and having to walk a good ways to my car from class. Parking is ridiculous and even if you have to have a parking pass there are no real places to park...because its in a public park!!!!! Do not go here!!!!! I have no clue how they continue to get funding run the way it is and with the things they allow. The classes are way behind on the times and you will not have the real skills in many fields if you go here thinking you have learned what you need. The majority of people I know who have gone here since are still working in the city making way less than their loans are for or aren't even working in the field of art. Their only claim is that Jimmy Carter's daughter attended the school in the 60's-70's and that a predominately popular movie poster artist went there which I can find no validation for such on that one.... They are very unaware of internship programs that they should know about and in my experience in dealing with them, they were shocked when I spoke of what I was already doing in the art field, professional experience when I went in and what contacts I already had. That's sad. But then again I was an adult student with 2 kids who was there for an education and to just finish up my degree for the official paperwork, not to play and socialize with people way younger than me, which was something that the school insisted I had to do. They tried to force me to hang out with and get to know people at orientation for several days before school started. I was chastised in front of everyone for not going out with them during orientation events and learning about them...again I have a husband and children at home. My days of Rocky Horror and bowling were gone and done years ago and I had things called responsibilities at a home that I had a mortgage on and bills to pay, not dorm room sleep overs and drinking. I should have run then when made to feel so uncomfortable. I also didn't find much artistic inspiration in having to draw lude images for one class and pin it to a board or in the same class have to hear the project ideas of what sounded like a therapy session at an insane asylum and not an art school. Blood and brains pouring out of fountains.... body parts and sex act statues as monument ideas...what!!!??? Where is this ok? So my advice is to run the opposite direction.If you want to attend art school in Memphis, then look to U of M or over the state line at Delta State or Ole Miss or Miss State, anywhere but here as you will be wasting your time, mental stability and money here. Parents be very aware of the environment your kids are stepping into here if they are showing interest in wanting to go here, its not a very good one. At over 28,000 a year its wasted money!!!!!! I work professionally in the field of art and did not need this place for any of it. I have totally changed my mind on finishing my degree because of my dealings with this place and I am finishing up another degree in its place to further my education and to take my skills to another market and field.
1st Year Female -- Class 2012
Campus Aesthetics: B, Education Quality: F
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Memphis College of Art is different.BrightDesign Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc
Memphis College of Art is different. There is only one main building for classes. The College itself is in the middle of a park so it is pretty, however I always feel unsettled walking around by myself as i'm constantly being harassed. Parking in the summer and spring is awful, as everyone is trying to be at the park and there are no actual parking spaces surrounding the building. The Fogelman and Metz dorms are nice, but the internet is TERRIBLE. Security makes rounds constantly, but during the two times we've had tornadoes there hasn't been any security in sight. I do not recommend walking in town at any time by yourself, people are scary and the location around it is considerably dangerous. Some teachers are rather snobbish, though not all. Expect to be challenged. I did not enjoy my time here, I'm transferring out.
1st Year Female -- Class 2018
Useful Schoolwork: A, Education Quality: D
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I am a transfer student from the NewQuite BrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
I am a transfer student from the New England area but originally from Seattle. I was looking to get out of New England because I could no longer stand the people there so I decided to look else where for schooling. I only applied to MCA because of the $15 application fee and when they got back to me offering more scholarship than any other school I applied to, it was a given where I would attend.

After my first semester I already was talking to the head of my department (Haley Morris-Cafiero in Photo) about transferring. This school has a few things going for it but for the majority of the students here it is a waste of time and money. Haley specifically does a great job at professional preparation but I have heard in many of the other departments that that's not a school wide priority.

Some of the major problems with MCA have to do with the most important aspects of education.
1. Don't expect to get babied. Critics are sometimes irritating and you don't always (or sometimes ever) feel appreciated. They run on negativity but what art school doesn't?

2. The facilities are horrendous. Apart from the printmaking and painting facilities this school is falling apart. The building is old, and with that comes many maintenance problems with no funding to fix the root cause and no funding to hire more people to fix them. The basement floor floods somewhere every time it rains, the equipment given to the students is so out dated and sub par it's embarrassing (my community college had better ceramics and painting studios, and my high school had better photo equipment) plus if you talk to the faculty they refuse to acknowledge the problems and reassure you that even if the equipment is old, it still works like the newest and best stuff out there, not true.

3. With this "lack of funding" they still manage to open up new dorm space for the growing population by "renovating" the old problematic spaces they previously housed people in.

4. Again because of their budget issues, the schools academics are taking a huge blow. They have announced to students that they will be combining the painting and drawing departments into one degree in order to save money by firing teachers because they are under staffed and cant afford to hire new ones.

5. Despite all these problems, they still manage to give a minimum scholarship of 12 grand to anyone who asks for it. The majority of the freshman class is a joke they only accepted in order to take their money for a year and a half (if that) before forcing them to drop out because they suck and should never have been accepted in the first place. All the while deserving students get shit on and pigeon holed into staying because classes like IPC and many of the other courses won't even transfer due to their growing accreditation problems.

6. If you plan on transferring here, believe me there are better schools with more equipped programs and better funding. This school really does give you what you pay for. A cheap education with bare minimum requirements and programs that fall short of competing with other major national art schools.

Throughout all of the negatives listed above, I do believe that MCA can help some people who don't know anything about going to college, want the minimum education required to survive in the art world or who just want to waste mommy and daddy's money until they get married. But for those who want an excellent education with top of the line facilities, equipment and the ability to easily transition into the real world. I would look elsewhere.

OVERALL: This is a mediocre school, with no competitive reputation, and a lot of funding and budgeting issues.If you want/need a cheap education it's not a bad option. But there are much better ones out there.

1st Year Female -- Class 2014
Perceived Campus Safety: A, Campus Maintenance: F
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The Memphis College of Art
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