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Call for applications 2022: Cranbrook Academy of Art

Application deadline: Februrary 1, 2023

A vibrant community of designers, architects, and artists collaborate at Cranbrook Academy of Art to define the direction of visual and material culture. Cranbrook is a place for students who are self-directed and motivated to work outside the boundaries of conventional academic programs. It is ranked as one of the finest graduate-only programs in the nation for art, architecture, and design. We have been referred to as the last remaining utopian art school in the nation by The New York Times, and a glance at our alumni list reveals that we continue to turn out leaders at a rate that much exceeds our size.

Few creative communities in the world can claim no connection to Cranbrook, and our two-year MFA program equips its alumni with connections that will last a lifetime as well as places them for further work in the fields of art, architecture, and design.

The Academy of Art is located on a 300-acre site just outside of Detroit as part of the broader Cranbrook Educational Community, giving students access to the city’s cultural activities. Cranbrook is a neighborhood of educators, artists, architects, and designers who live and work together. It was established by George G. Booth and developed by Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. The renowned campus, which is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, continues to motivate people today with its extraordinary beauty and sense of purpose.

Cranbrook is fundamentally a truly daring experiment built on the tenet that great things may occur when people are given the time and freedom to pursue their passions in a welcoming community. Lectures, discussions, workshops, student-organized symposiums, critiques with visiting curators, meals with visiting philosophers, and casual chats in the department kitchens make up the program itself. The Academy offers a fully unscripted approach to graduate education that concentrates the questions and interests of artists who choose to come here as they work to make sense of a constantly changing world. It is free of conventional classrooms and does not have a set curriculum.

Up to 150 graduate students from eleven different disciplines, including architecture, 2D design, 3D design, 4D design, ceramics, fiber, metalsmithing, painting, photography, print media, and sculpture, make up the Academy. The Artist-in-Residence and Head of each Department (faculty) are the only individuals in charge of their respective program areas and are given the freedom to choose the pedagogy and course of action for their purposely flexible departments. The framework of the Academy promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and extensive student engagement, from assisting in the selection of guest artists and critics to influencing the critical conversation within each department. Seminars offered at the Academy-wide on critical studies and professional practices, as well as an international roster of invited artists, designers, and thinkers, enhance the educational experience. With its comprehensive resources, including private studios, shared fabrication and digital labs, a student-run exhibition space, publication opportunities, and access to the esteemed Cranbrook Art Museum, Cranbrook is the perfect place to start your professional career.

The majority of Academy students—nearly 80%—receive contributions and scholarships in the form of financial aid to help cover the cost of their education. At Cranbrook, students have access to scholarships, grants, loans, and federal work study programs. To further increase the prospects for our students to launch their careers, we also have a number of agreements with residency programs and design firms. As part of its recently established Gilbert Fellows program, Cranbrook is excited to announce a recent initiative that offers up to ten full-tuition fellowships for students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups from diverse backgrounds. This initiative aims to broaden and create new pathways for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access to graduate education.