The Memphis College of Art
The Memphis College of Art - Comments and Student Experiences|
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.