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People @ Goddard

Mike Keller

Shortly after graduation, I was telling an acquaintance about the low-residency Goddard program. “Oh, a distance program,” she remarked, with some disdain. I continued on, saying that in the Goddard program, I spent more face-to-face time with faculty than in a traditional classroom-based program and experienced deeper and more meaningful dialogue than I had with faculty in the classroom. And in the end, my learning in the MFA-IA Program turned out to be the most valuable learning experience in my life. Living in Tucson in 2004, I applied to the program in response to a lack of fulfillment in my art practice. In this practice, I created visual art and exhibited it in juried exhibitions in the U.S. While my resume was getting longer, my heart was getting smaller. I’ll never forget the day that I received a letter of acceptance from the Program Director. Elated, I then proceeded to calculate the total cost of enrollment in five semesters. Fortunately, I had the wisdom to step through the fear of the financial burden and to go off to my first residency. Later, I realized that my fear was not so much about the cost, but about the fear of opening up to new perspectives, about the fear of letting go of my established way of making art. With each succeeding semester, I opened my eyes more and more to myself and the world around me. Now I see how my close relationships with faculty and fellow students made this possible. Today I continue to practice art in Tucson—now with an open heart. It’s a practice that invites others to participate in the creation of art. Increasing self-understanding in me and in others leads to greater openness and lessens the gap between self and other. I no longer care how long my resume is. I do care that my art practice is of service to others. Please call or email me and I would be delighted to tell you more about Goddard and answer your questions.