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Learning is Messy Business: Discovery Within Practice 

Research is formalized curiosity; it is poking and prying with a purpose.-- Zora Neale Hurston

The MFAIA degree criteria have a distinct focus on practice. They ask us to articulate the nature of our practice, to experiment within the context of an art practice, and to consider the ways those things we know and believe align with how we act in the world (praxis). But what is practice?

In his graduate portfolio Reuben Radding writes, ‘I am an artist who thrives and depends on daily practice, and I believe very much in the definition of practice that I learned from author and writing teacher Natalie Goldberg, who said that a practice is something you do for its own sake under all circumstances. It doesn’t matter if that practice is writing, or playing the piano, or sitting Zen meditation. You have a cold? You practice. You just found out your best friend is getting divorced? You do your practice. You feel like you’d really like to just eat red seedless grapes and watch The Three Stooges on TV? You return to your practice. Not because we’re trying to be good people or because we’re trying to make great art, but because it gives our life an important grounding, a way to wake up to the present moment and be alive.…The practice, for me, is the work.’

In an era that preaches speed and efficiency, the rewards of practice sometimes can feel unpredictable and slow to arrive. Practice doesn’t follow a straight path, nor does it fit neatly into shifts, arbitrary increments of times, or (even) semesters. It accumulates – sometimes in the work, sometimes in piles and collections, very often in our bodily memory. And over time the habits of inquiry, and As Zora Neale Hurston writes, the formalized curiosity of being present to our passions can yield enormous benefit and profound breakthroughs.

This residency we’ll share stories of practice, strategies for practicing, and encourage each other to follow Reuben’s injunction to allow practice to give our lives an important grounding, a way to wake up to the present moment and be alive.

A NOTE ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY: To document residency activities, we may take photographs of events. If you do not wish to have your photograph taken, please inform the photographer. If you are photographing people, please check with the group or individuals to see if anyone objects to being photographed.


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Wednesday, July 24
 

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Thursday, July 25
 

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Tuesday, July 30
 

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Wednesday, July 31
 

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Thursday, August 1
 

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Friday, August 2
 

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