I’m seriously considering the Minneapolis College of Art & Design’s furniture program. Any words of wisdom? How’s the program / instructors / job placement? Any thoughts would be greatly welcomed.
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I am currently enrolled at MCAD. Are you considering the BFA program or the MFA? I’ll assume you’re probably looking at the BFA program.
The furniture department has approx. 30-35 students. In general the school is managed by three department heads-design, media and fine arts. Furniture falls under the fine arts department along with painting and sculpture. The cirriculum in furniture leans heavily toward the studio-craft/artist side. Within that though there are classes that deal with product design issues. Many of the classes are populated with students from other diciplines-particularly sculpture.
The head of the furniture department’s agenda is to push the students materials and fabrication skills within broadly defined themes as a means to provide conceptual input. The furniture head and the sculpture head are great material and process resources and aggressive advocates for the relatively small departments compared to the rest of the school(the graphics department has the largest number of students, as is the case with most schools).
The entire school runs on a Mac-based network. Form Z is the primary CAD software. The one exception is a rapid-prototyper that runs off a PC which is the only CAD capable tool in the 3D shop. The rest of the shop is well equipped with all the usual woodworking tools. The metalworking side of the shop has several light-duty and heavy-duty MIG welders, TIG welder, plasma cutter, tubing benders and a foundry able to cast bronze and aluminum. The shop is able to cast parts developed in the rapid prototyper but is rarely gets utilized for that.
Overall I would label the program as craft focused and not product design focused. I’m not using either of those terms as a judgement. It is possible to develop work within the program with a heavy eye toward product design. There are other excellent faculty in those areas. So don’t get too caught up on what label you want to put on you business cards just yet. Initially I was skeptical of the fine arts focus of the program but have found great inspiration from some of my painting and sculpture classmates.
Hope that answers some questions. I’d be happy to answer more questions if you have any.
What other schools are you looking into?
wow! thank you so much for your detailed answer! i couldn’t have hoped fo a better response. i’m 90% i will be @ mcad fall '05 for my BA. i’m taking a few classes at the U of M right now. as far as other schools go, my favorite is the savannah college of art & design. their furniture program looks rad and i love the online student gallery. cool stuff! as for your input about mcad, i do like that it’s a more craft based program. i love that you can see your design from beginning to end. I like the hands on aspect of it. anyway, thanks again. maybe i’ll see you there next year or will you be on your way by then? cheers.