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About the Program

Our Values

We believe in the transformative power of art, and we emphasize reflective practice, collaborative community, attentiveness to diversity, and the pursuit of social justice. Our curriculum is grounded in the interdisciplinary learning sciences, with a focus on contemporary arts, media, tools, and pedagogy.

Program Outcomes

Through our program, you’ll work with accomplished and innovative faculty, strengthen your ability to advocate for art education, and develop relationships with art educators from around the country. At VCFA, you can personalize your learning with research that is directly linked to your interests and teaching.

Our students work with leading art educators to envision and apply new possibilities for their own teaching practice.
Dr. Kimberly Sheridan | Faculty, MA in Art & Design Education


Our MA program offers summer residencies on VCFA’s beautiful Montpelier campus, along with ongoing coursework and mentorship throughout the year.

On Campus

In this innovative one-year degree program, you’ll join VCFA’s creative community for a two-week summer residency in Vermont where you’ll build relationships with other art educators and participate in provocative workshops and seminars. Post-residency, you’ll return home and embark on a year of faculty-supported independent research, then you’ll come back to campus for a one-week graduation residency the following summer.

Our graduate students come to us with diverse artistic backgrounds. What they have in common is a desire to share their artistic passions, a belief in the transformative power of art, and a need for affordable, flexible graduate education.

Now is the time to inspire the artists, designers, visual thinkers, and creative problem solvers of tomorrow.

When VCFA realized in March that we would not be able to gather for residencies on campus, staff and faculty came together to create remote residencies, making sure students would not miss either the intense learning and sharing that happen during residencies or the meaningful opportunities to connect. Visit our Remote Residencies page to learn more!

Individualized Semester Study

Low-residency means that our students participate in seminars that meet via videoconference and work in one-on-one mentorship relationships with our faculty. Low-residency is different from online education because it’s built around personal relationships and individualized learning.

Ashleigh Thomas | 2019 MA in Art & Design Education

“This program is unique, and everyone I’ve explained it to wished they had found this program before pursuing other options.”

Cha Asokan | 2020 MA in Art & Design Education

“My students are helping to build their art studio, from furniture to cleaning, organizing to creating, we work in community to create our learning space! We’re off to a really positive and productive art year!”


Kimberly Sheridan

Faculty, MA in Art & Design Education

Elizabeth Patton

Faculty, MA in Art & Design Education

Aaron Knochel

Faculty, MA in Art & Design Education

Christina Hanawalt

Faculty, MA in Art & Design Education

Kelly Gross

Faculty, MA in Art & Design Education

William Estrada

Visiting Artist, MA in Art & Design Education


Lorien Leyden, 2019 MA in Art & Design Education

Lorien Leyden's thesis work has continued past her graduation in August of 2019.

David Bazis, 2018 MA in Art & Design Education

Bazis teaches Technology and Design at U-32 High School in East Montpelier, Vermont. He says, “As an artist and teacher, VCFA pushed me to work…

Professional Development

Enroll in summer workshops in Art & Design Education at VCFA!


Is this an online program?

No. Unlike online programs, low-residency relies on relationships that are formed during dynamic residencies and continued when students and faculty return to their homes.

What is low-residency?

Low-residency means that you come to campus twice during the 13-month program, returning home between residencies to work independently with the support of your faculty mentor. The program begins with a two-week summer residency in which students attend lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and discussions, joining a community of dedicated art educators in rigorous inquiry. Students and faculty share meals and find many other opportunities for informal exchange and community building outside of formal workshop events. Students return to campus the following summer for a week-long graduation residency in which they present research projects and participate in workshops focused on professional advancement and advocacy.

What happens during the semester?

After the residency, students return to their home communities where they devote an average of 20 hours per week to individual research supported by one-to-one faculty mentorship and seminars that meet via video conference. Student research can take three forms: traditional five-chapter thesis, arts-based research, or action research.

How can I find out more about how this program would work for me?

The first step is to contact Jennifer Skinder, Program Director, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 802-828-8553. In addition to talking with you about your specific interests and goals and answering your questions about the program, Jennifer can put you in touch with students, faculty, or alums and help you plan a visit to campus. We would love to hear from you!