Senior Studio

Senior Studio is a year-long course that helps you integrate everything you have learned at CMU to create a final project for professional exhibition. The course is comprised largely of independent studio time; one-on-one meetings, mentorship, and critique with faculty; and small group meetings. Each semester, Senior Studio is led by a team of three to four faculty members from across artistic disciplines.

During the fall semester, you will begin to plan your exhibit in the Senior Show. You will have complete freedom to make whatever you like with whatever art materials and concepts you choose. In the past, students have: developed a longer animation or game prototype started in another class; created a new series of drawings, paintings, prints, or sculptures; or executed a performance work or installation. Still other students have chosen to take time to research a topic in depth before making artwork. 

Whatever your passion, you will have the time and faculty support to create an ambitious project that is the culmination of your studies. The fall semester also incorporates guest speakers and workshops meant to complement the School of Art’s Professional Development courses, and encourage you to think about your career as a working artist.

At the close of the semester, students in Senior Studio plan our annual Open Studios where juniors and seniors open their studios to their classmates and to the general public to tour. Taking place on the last day of classes, Open Studios is a celebration at the close of the semester and also features food, video screenings, a student-created games arcade, performances, an art sale, and more.

The spring semester is the time to refine your final project and get it ready for exhibition. The term starts with your Senior Review, comprised of two faculty who will offer feedback and suggestions for your project. Following this review, your Senior Studio faculty and peers will continue to help you throughout the semester to get ready for the exhibition, which opens on the last day of classes of the spring term.

Senior Exhibition & Catalog

The annual Senior Exhibition fills all 8,000 square feet of CMU’s Miller Institute for Contemporary Art, ensuring that all students have ample space to showcase their final projects. You will gain valuable experience working with a team of museum professionals, including an exhibition curator and professional installers, and to see your project showcased in a museum. 

The Miller ICA has exhibited work by some of the most influential contemporary artists including: Nicole Eisenman, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Shirin Neshat, Trevor Paglen, Sarah Sze, Kara Walker, and The Yes Men, among many others.

Accompanying the exhibition, students design a professionally-printed catalog as a way to preserve this crucial milestone in their artistic development.