The Missouri Fine Arts Academy is partnering with Missouri State’s Reynolds College to welcome another group of promising high school students to the two-week summer program. The 2023 Missouri Fine Arts Academy runs June 4-17, with a concluding showcase exhibition at Carolla Arts Exhibition Center on June 17 from 9–11 a.m.
The academy has played an important role in educating and inspiring Missouri creatives for nearly thirty years, since its first session in 1996. Erin Tyler, an MFA in Visual Studies student and advisor in the Art and Design Department, first attended Missouri Fine Arts Academy (MFAA) as a student in 2012 and is now going into her third year teaching in the program. Erin shares through her own first-hand experience how Missouri Fine Arts Academy inspires both students and educators involved in the program, “As a student, MFAA totally changed my life, and I believe it continues to do this for students each year. Students and teachers alike are constantly engaging with art and drawing connections across disciplines. I believe this program really expands students’ understanding of what art can be; it definitely did for me. It’s an incredibly inspiring and supportive environment that allows for experimentation and discovery.”
A primary focus of Missouri Fine Arts Academy is the melding of various creative disciplines through its lessons. “In 2019, I taught with Michele Guidry, an incredible theater teacher and actress. We were able to focus on the intersection of visual arts, theater, and performance art with our students. Last year, I co-taught with Jacob Hiser, who is a phenomenal musician and teacher. In our interdisciplinary class, we focused on raising students’ awareness to their surroundings through exercises that challenged their senses. In this, we try to get the students to carefully look, listen, and respond through diverse creative exercises,” Erin explains.
Now participating in the academy as a teacher rather than a student, Erin adds that the academy’s unique lessons and blending of creative mediums has continued to be an influential part of her own creative practice. “MFAA always encourages me to tune into my surroundings in an intentional way. . .The entire program encourages open exploration of ideas and cross-disciplinary arts practices. As a teacher, I benefit from this creative exploration, and it impacts the work I make as an artist.” As Missouri Fine Arts Academy invites high school juniors and seniors practicing disciplines including visual art, creative writing, music, dance, and theater, there is plenty of opportunity for students, and teachers, to spark new inspiration, gain valuable insight from other practicing artists, and discover methods of interdisciplinary practice that carry beyond the timeframe of each summer session.
Those interested in attending the academy next year can submit applications this fall or contact the program director for more information.
Carolla Arts Exhibition Center is located at 326 N. Boonville Ave, Springfield, Missouri. The gallery will be open from 9 a.m.–11 a.m. on June 17 for the Missouri Fine Arts Academy showcase exhibition. Call 417-837-2330 for additional details.
Taylor Ladd is a graduate assistant for the Department of Art + Design. She is working towards her master’s degree in writing at Missouri State University with professional interests in writing about art, culture, and food.