Search within:

Painting + Drawing — Master of Fine Arts

What you’ll learn

The Painting + Drawing Area is committed to cutting-edge professional art training within the context of a liberal arts university. Painters are responsible for some of the most provocative and enduring expressions of contemporary visual culture. The painting program is based upon the belief that painting is a language that simultaneously upholds tradition and constantly seeks experimentation to expand and redefine its boundaries. In an atmosphere that is both supportive and challenging, students are asked to question their intentions, investigate and expand their ideas of painting, and to develop a coherent body of work that is the beginning of a dialog with the world.

Graduate students are encouraged to experiment with a wide range of technical and theoretical interests, from figuration to abstraction, and on to digital media, installations and performance. All graduate students have private studio spaces in the Ridges facility.

Explore topics like:

  • The figure, ethnicity, identity
  • Bio-narrative, image and alchemy,
  • Interactive installation, technology, coding
  • Alternative processes such as 3-D printing, laser cutting, vinyl cutting
  • The role of design in Painting + Drawing practices, materiality and sustainability
  • Modalities, social practice, entrepreneurship
  • Pedagogy and professional practices in Painting + Drawing  

Career opportunities

Our students regularly go on to receive Fulbright Awards, national artist-in-residencies, gallery representation, university teaching positions and other types of professional positions in the field as post-graduates. Several well known artists have come from our school including Jim Dine and Jenny Holzer. Recent activity of our painting alumni includes Beth Campbell’s solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Frank Oriti’s inclusion in an exhibit at the prestigious National Portrait Gallery in London, UK.

Areas of focus include:

  • Professional gallery representation; professional studio
  • University teaching positions
  • Artist-in-residencies
  • Fullbright awardees
  • Arts administration/museum and/or non-profit positions
  • Creative director, merchandiser, illustrator, web designer
  • Gallery manager, owner, curator
  • Art writer, librarian or consultant
  • Studio assistant

Applying to the program

For application into the M.F.A. in Painting + Drawing, both a Graduate College (online application) as well as School of Art + Design, Painting + Drawing area application must be received.   

Please adhere to the following check-list in preparing both of these areas of application. Applications must be postmarked by February 1.

M.F.A. in Painting + Drawing

  • Online Application--through OU Graduate College online application portal at
  • Application Fee--$50 for US Citizens, $55 for International (credit card or electronic check only)
  • Letter of Intent/Statement of Purpose
  • Artist Statement
  • Resume/CV
  • Three Letters of Reference

Send to:

Graduate College
Research & Tech Building
Room 220
Athens, OH 45701:

  • 1 Official Sets of Transcripts
  • Through the online application service at
  • 20 examples of artistic work with Information about each artwork
  • $10 SlideRoom application fee

Note: NO MATERIALS other than your official transcripts should be sent through standard mail. Portfolios on CD or DVD will not be considered.

Painting + Drawing faculty

All faculty in the painting area are working artists who exhibit actively and serve as visiting artists and lecturers at colleges and galleries across the country. Ohio University and the Painting Department are committed to the creation of a diverse community of artist scholars. If you’d like more information about the Painting + Drawing program, please reach out to Professor and interim Painting + Drawing Area Chair,

David LaPalombara, Area Chair
Professor of Painting & Drawing
(740) 566-6465