The MFA Painting program is a contemporary painting program that encourages an intensive studio practice, experimentation, risk taking & an understanding of current & historic art practices & cultural dialogues.

Who We Are


Students work to find connections between painting and the larger questions and issues prevalent in the world today. Critical creative research and interdisciplinarity are encouraged alongside deep understanding of the painting medium. Our program is housed within a top public research university, which allows our students access to the widest variety of scholars in disciplines across campus. In addition, graduate students in the Painting area directly engage with the local and regional art community. Students are exposed to museums, galleries, and artist studios in Denver and the surrounding region.

Our students find themselves in a tightly knit community of faculty & peers within the department.

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Working closely with this community allows for feedback and creative engagement that foster the highest level of creative growth. Most students in the MFA program in painting are given first-hand experience teaching at the University level. This provides them with the skills needed to apply for teaching positions in academia.

As a terminal degree in the field, our graduates leave with a sense of direction for their practice and all the skills necessary to thrive in professional art fields.




Throughout students’ tenure in the MFA program in Painting, they participate in a core set of studio courses bolstered by intensive seminar work, reading, and formal writing exploring art history, contemporary art, and art theory. The creative space of the “studio” is not limited to the four walls of a student’s assigned space, as painting faculty welcome out-of-studio practices alongside traditional methodologies. Electives in and out of the department help students develop their voice as artists and researchers. Independent research formalized through written text and verbal delivery prepare graduate students for thesis work.

Before beginning thesis work, all students in the graduate program in Painting will go through a qualifying review process in which they present their current work to the department's faculty. Students prepare a written thesis to accompany the MFA thesis body of artwork which they present to their graduate committee in their MFA thesis defense. Thesis work is exhibited in the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art in an exhibition curated by Director Lynn Boland.

Our Facilities


Graduate students in the Painting area have generously sized, semi-private studio spaces. In addition to the studios, graduate students have access to much of the department's state-of-the-art facilities, including several exhibition galleries, a Digital Fabrication Lab, a well-equipped woodshop, & two computer labs. K102A Office, a gallery founded by painting professor Aitor Lajarin-Encina, is also housed in the painting area.


Additional resources can be found in the Nancy Richardson Design Center, the Morgan Library, the College of Liberal Arts, and other campus-wide entities

Our Faculty

Interested in our MFA program?

Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Graduate Advisor for the concentration of their interest for more information or to schedule a tour about our MFA Program.