Story: Visualized

  • » Offers a distinctive and evolutionary approach to storytelling on a graduate level
  • » Focuses on the growing need for original content creators in advertising, video games, picture books, graphic novels, film, illustration and animation
  • » Prepares artists and authors to become innovators in the ever-evolving art of visual storytelling

Chair Statement

GREAT STORIES (and the visual storytellers who create them) offer more than just a visual series of things that happen. Beyond the mere delivery of information or illustrated text, they move and engage us. We see ourselves and our humanity reflected within them. Be it through animation, fine art, film, gaming, VR, Illustration, design or graphic novels, story remains one of the most powerful, effective and universally emotive expressions of human nature.

We are wired for story from the moment we first open our eyes, immersed in a brand-new world, to the time we grow old enough to reflect on the life lived. Regardless of medium or format, story is how we communicate the visual potential of what can only be imagined. It’s how we identify a sense of self and relate to those around us. It’s how we understand the world we live in now and connect to the past that brought us here.

In the MFA Visual Narrative program, creative writing and image-making are considered a single language–visual storytelling. Only when we have mastered this language, discovering our own internal process, are we able to communicate our unique vision of the human experience. Through guest lectures, workshops, portfolio development and professional practice studies, we will explore and challenge the conventional rules of narrative design, story development and authorship. Students will discover their own individual narrative voice, not as just a writer or image-maker alone, but as both author and artist. By examining the fundamental forms and visual language of story, students will begin to define their own particular approach and bring their stories to life in a way that only they can tell them.

The MFA Visual Narrative program’s goal is to dig deep and elevate the artist and author in you.

So, dear reader, what’s your story?

Nathan Fox, Chair

About the Program

MFA Visual Narrative is a low-residency program designed for working professionals, educators and students from all creative disciplines. Three summer intensives at SVA are connected by two years of focused online study during the fall and spring semesters.

During the eight-week summer sessions, students attend classes and work in the studios for eight to ten hours per day. Capitalizing on New York City’s rich culture, research trips including story events, studio visits and other activities occur.

Throughout the fall and spring semesters online, students actively engage in courses and discussions, with faculty support. The online workload is designed to accommodate those working full-time. In the third summer, each student is responsible for producing a unique narrative thesis installation. Professional practice seminars are given, on such topics as portfolio development and copyright law, as well as finding an audience and marketing to them. The faculty has broad expertise in storytelling genres, and includes animators, designers, directors, story consultants and scriptwriters.

In all forms of visual storytelling, there is a growing demand for new narrative voices and original content creators. As digital platforms and technologies advance, the MFA Visual Narrative program responds with educated students that rise to the challenge.

Who Should Apply

This program is designed for professionals, educators and students from all creative disciplines to explore what story means to them and to integrate visual storytelling into their art practice. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any subject, and need to demonstrate proficiency in both creative writing and narrative art forms. Because of the nature of a low-residency program, successful students will demonstrate a high level of professional discipline and practice.

To download a copy of the application, please go to the Resources page.