Spotlight on Education: Boston University

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The Artisan Certificate program in Scene Painting at BU sets out to mentor the development of a visual critical sensibility. They do this through studying the craft of scenic painting, drawing, and history of period styles, architecture, and ornament. Participants will gain fluency with different mediums and tools, in order to elaborate on and execute conceptual ideas.  The program is geared toward preparing participants to take on leadership roles in the profession. These skills are developed through supervising and mentoring production and crew assignments, as well as being responsible for budgeting, scheduling and creating samples. Internships with leading regional theaters and Professional Theatre Initiative (PTI) members across the country are encouraged.

Interview with Diane Fargo

To gain insight into their program, we spoke with Diane Fargo, the head of the program.

Do you have a teaching philosophy that you follow?

Diane: I like to say “my goal is not to teach you how to woodgrain but to teach you how to see.” Students typically leave the program with a more refined and critical visual sensibility with a strong ability to breakdown tasks into doable steps. I also like to engage them in problem solving with the goal of coming up with creative and artistic solutions as a fully engaged collaborator in the process.


What is the overall goal of the program?

Diane: Our Artisans Certificate programs are designed for students who have completed a BA/BFA and are proficient in their craft, but seek to enhance their artistic and technical experience in order to gain employment in leadership roles in the profession. The emphasis on training is geared to those who do not wish to pursue an MFA, but find that they are in need of additional refinement of skill, experience, and collaboration in a professional conservatory setting.

 What is unique about your program compared to the others that are out there?

This program is:

– A non-academic program which is geared towards professional training and results

-95% of graduates are working professionals, a majority of whom are in the Scenic Artist Union, or working at a highly regarded regional theater.

-We combine 50% studio time and 50% of production work as our learning formula. Certificate students are in leadership positions. Through production work they will deal with budgets, supervise crews, collaborate with designers and other disciplines toward a very professional student production of which we do many, including two operas with the school of music!

 -We are also excited about our recent move into a brand new state of the art theater and production facility.

Who are the Faculty?

Diane: I am the only Scene Painting faculty but the students are involved with other faculty and classes within the dept.

Where can I find more information about your program?

Diane: The Facebook page is a real-time representation of what we are up to..and what I may be up to at different organizations.

Check out the program at from BU’s official page.



Additional Details

Tuition Costs: Certificate per credit cost is this year is approximately $795, which is half of the full-time per credit cost. One small working stipend awarded to one student per year. Program is eligible for the Stafford Loan program.

Program Length: 2 yrs/28 credits. Each certificate class is 1-2 credits with a total of 6-8 credits per semester.

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