Chapter 5: BFAMFAPhD
BFAMFAPhD is a collective that makes art, reports, and teaching tools to advocate for cultural equity in the United States. The collective formed in 2012 after a series of open meetings that Caroline Woolard convened. Its name combines all of the degrees that a person could accumulate in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs: a BFA, an MFA, and a PhD. Concerned about the impact of debt, rent, and precarity on the lives of creative people, BFAMFAPhD asks: What is a work of art in the age of $120,000 art degrees? The collective embodies a commitment to bringing people together to analyze and reimagine power relationships in the arts.
BFAMFAPhD core members are: Susan Jahoda, Emilio Martínez Poppe, Agnes Szanyi, Vicky Virgin, and Caroline Woolard. Susan Jahoda is a Professor in Studio Arts at the University of Amherst, MA; Emilio Martínez Poppe is an MFA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Agnes Szanyi is a Doctoral Student at The New School for Social Research in New York, NY, Vicky Virgin is a Research Associate with the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity in New York, NY, and Caroline Woolard is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at The University of Hartford, CT. Contributors include: Pasqualina Azzarello, Julian Boilen, Ann Chen, Dia Felix, Art Jones, Ben Lerchin, Alex Mallis, Blair Murphy, Kieran Startup, Mauricio Vargas, Lika Volkova, Jeff Warren, and Zipeng Zhu.
Imagine that this September, instead of matriculating ata traditional 4-year school, prospective freshmen and first-year MFA students pool the money they would otherwise spend on tuition. The class of 2018 (around 100,000 students paying $25,576 on average) would have $2,157,600,000 to work with.
—Caroline Woolard, 2013