A Conversation about CCAD’s Student Critique Group

Zane Miller is a 2nd year candidate in the MFA program at CCAD. In hopes to raise awareness of his student critique group, we wanted to hear from Zane about the purpose of these gatherings. 

What is critique group?

Critique Group is a weekly gathering of students who get together and critique a single creator attending CCAD.  Usually we meet on Wednesdays at 10PM or when the creator prefers and chat until we run out of things to talk about or until we answer all of the creator’s questions.

Who is involved?

I’ll just start by saying who is not involved.  No faculty are permitted to participate in Critique Group.  After that, anyone is welcome to join the event including friends of the creators who have graduated or go to other institutions.  So far this year we have had a great mixture of MFA and Undergraduates ranging from freshman to second year MFAs.  Oh, and we have also allowed Sarah Mattes, visiting artist in the graduate program, to participate in critiques as well.

Why were you interested in becoming involved?

I started going to a few of the group’s gatherings last year when Micheal Geiger (BFA 2016) was running things.  Tyler Davis (Junior) was the first one I went to with Ben Yakavone (MFA 2016) and I really enjoyed the open feeling of the sessions and the community that came along with it.  It seemed like those involved were willing to say whatever they needed to without the fear of a faculty member possibly hijacking the comment or correcting it is some way.  The pressure was off.  Eventually Micheal approached me about participating and I saw it as a way to create more of a connection between the MFA and Undergraduate cohorts.  So I said yes.

What are some of the differences between this group  vs. in-class critique?

Everything is up to the creator.  The critique can be as formal or informal as they would like.  It can take place in studio or in a gallery setting or wherever.  These sorts of gatherings allow artist to try out things that they might not want to share with faculty.  Sort of a test the waters kind of thing or a test run for a future critique.  Another major difference is the combination of Undergraduate and MFA students allowing for new perspectives and dialogue to form.  On top of all that, this is a truly interdisciplinary group.  Ideally I would like students from all disciplines participating and providing perspectives whether they are between photographers and painters or illustrators and fashion designers or any combination.  So far critiques have involved a pretty consistent interdisciplinary group of students.

What do you find to be the most successful aspect of this group?

So far everyone who has been critiqued has left the event reflecting on how helpful it was for their work even if they might have stepped into things a little apprehensively.

 

If you’re interested in attending or having your work critiqued, contact Zane at ccad.critique.group.2016@gmail.com

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