Art and Visual Technology Recognized in Top 100 Graduate Art Programs

Posted: April 21, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

While walking through the Fairfax Campus, it’s easy to spot the creativity of students in Mason’s Department of Art and Visual Technology (AVT). Sculptures and other art installations adorn the campus lawns, while paintings and drawings decorate the halls of the Fine Arts Building.

Mason’s art program encourages excellence, critical inquiry and experimentation. So it’s not surprising that it is ranked among the top 100 best graduate art programs in the country by U.S News and World Report.

The new master of fine arts in AVT program ranking was completed in 2008 based on surveys conducted in fall 2007.

“I believe that the fine arts is just as much a profession as any other graduate program, and being in the top 100 of graduate art programs in the country is great footing on which we can build our future,” says Harold Linton, chair and professor in AVT.

<br />Linton” width=”370″ height=”246″><br /><strong>Harold Linton<br /><span class=Photo by Evan Cantwell

Coordinator of the survey for U.S. News and World Report, Linton has been working on the survey methodology for the past eight years. He has helped to develop the survey criteria and expand the survey categories from five to 12 to include smaller fine arts programs such as glass, metals and jewelry.

Last August, schools with fine arts graduate programs were given an opportunity to exchange information about their programs based on criteria Linton helped to organize. A survey to art school deans and other top art school academics at 220 fine arts graduate programs in art and design followed in October. The deans then voted on the best graduate arts programs in the country.

According to Linton, Mason’s AVT program was recognized because of the quality of its graduate students, program development, interdisciplinary efforts and the rigor of good artistry in the program.

Linton and other AVT faculty members are expecting that the program will only get more attention when a new three-story building for the department opens next year. The building will house all of the AVT studio instructional areas, including painting and drawing, interdisciplinary arts, digital arts, graphic design, sculpture, art education, photography, printmaking, and BA, BFA, MAT and MFA degree programs.

AVT anticipates an overall 50 percent increase in space for studios, shops and lecture classrooms. In the new building, AVT also plans to take advantage of Internet2 technology, which will enable students to have global opportunities to participate in and collaborate with artists on national and international projects, competitions, critiques and discussions.

AVT also sponsors cultural programming outside of the classroom that works to enhance students’ educational experiences:

  • Four galleries on campus feature exhibitions by both students and internationally celebrated artists
  • The new AVT professional lecture series, Visual Voices, runs during the academic year and features eight nationally recognized artists and designers who speak about their work and the world of art and design
  • The ArtsBus program, with several one-day bus trips each semester, exposes students to the New York City art scene

For more information about AVT, e-mail Linton at

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