Developed by CalArts Faculty Emeritus Charles Gaines, the Gaines MFA Fellowship provides full support of tuition expenses for MFA Art students who self-identify as Black Americans of the African diaspora or domestic students who self-identify as Mexican or of Central American descent. Two fellowships will be awarded for qualifying students each academic year.

In addition to the Gaines MFA Fellowship program, the School of Art will launch the Rosalind Harris Visiting Critic Series affiliated with the Charles Gaines Faculty Chair. This spring, the Gaines Chair program has appointed the following inaugural Spring 2023 Visiting Critics: artist Alicia Piller, artist/writer/curator Devin Kenny, and art historian and curator Nana Adusei-Poku. Each Visiting Critic will hold a week-long residency that includes public talks, pedagogical workshops, and studio visits with the CalArts community.

The institute has a legacy — largely due to Professor Gaines’s own efforts — of helping to develop Black artists. During Gaines’s 31-year career at CalArts, he has mentored many Black artists, including Mark Bradford, Rodney McMillian, Lauren Halsey, Edgar Arceneaux, and Henry Taylor, among others. Gaines’s generosity and commitment to critical pedagogy is exemplified in both the fellowship and chair programs named in his honor. These initiatives will provide long term funding, promote access, and safeguard experimentation for future students of color.

The School of Art at CalArts is committed to artistic innovation and critical reflection, which has been key to our enviable success in training artists who go on to make important contributions to their respective fields. Programs in Art, Photography and Media, Art and Technology, and Graphic Design each prepare graduates to thoughtfully challenge the prevailing conventions of artistic expression, develop new forms, and forums of cultural experimentation.

To learn more about applying to this MFA fellowship, please visit

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