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Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

University announces new MFA program

Photo by Michelangelo Pellis
Outside the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

In a press release on March 20, the university introduced a new Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Interdisciplinary Arts. This two-and-a-half-year program aims to give artists the skills they need to turn their artistry into a marketable business.  


Kiesha Lalama, managing and artistic director of the Pittsburgh Playhouse, developed this program through her own experience in an interdisciplinary arts program at Goddard College.  


“My MFA is in interdisciplinary arts,” Lalama said. “I learned a lot about myself and my artistic authenticity in my undergraduate experience, but what was missing was the key component of entrepreneurship and how to monetize and stabilize myself as an artist.”  


Lalama is a graduate of Point Park’s dance program, and before becoming managing and artistic director of the Playhouse, she was also a professor of dance.  


“As an artist, an administrator, a professor and a single mother who had to provide for two kids by myself, the question became ‘how do I make a living?’” Lalama said. “It’s the same conversation artists have with themselves all of the time. The money is always the struggle.”  


Outside the George Rowland White Performance Center in Lawrence Hall. (Photo by Michelangelo Pellis)


According to the press release, the MFA in interdisciplinary arts includes an in-person “learning laboratory study with hands-on professional development in Point Park’s state-of-the-art facilities. The opportunity to engage in qualitative study while living and working from home. Two and a half years of rigorous study, including a six-day, on-campus residency, one in the winter and one in the summer.” 


The MFA in interdisciplinary arts will give students in the program the ability to hone skills from the school of communication, school of business, or school of education by pairing them up with a mentor every semester.  


Lalama said that this program will allow artists to become “entrepreneurially literate.” Without a manager or agent, an artist needs to be knowledgeable of skills such as public relations (PR) and business.  


Lalama said that the program will see a variety of students. There will be recent graduates as well as students who have gone into the workforce and are returning to further their studies.  


Lalama said that an appealing aspect of this program is that there is a “self-designed” concept where students can personalize the skills and training they will be getting.  

In the press release, Stephen Tanzilli, dean of the Rowland School of Business, said that the university’s history of “nurturing exceptional artists and creative thinkers” has always been a part of the academic experience as well.  

“Regardless of their field of interest or study, we know how to help students connect the professional, creative and academic dots to realize their visions,” Tanzilli said.  

Delaney Metikosh, a senior SAEM major, said that this program will bring about a new way of learning that the university hasn’t seen before.  

“As someone who has been involved in the creative side of business during my entire undergraduate degree, this new MFA program is very appealing to me,” Metikosh said. “In the world of PR, art and business, I have been exposed to the unique techniques that are essential to combining creative endeavors with business applications. I can see this new program being truly beneficial to professionals wanting to nurture ideas in an academic setting with a creative focus.” 

Trista Mullenix, a freshman dance major, said that the skills this program can provide are very important.  

“You have to be able to market yourself. If you don’t have an agent or can’t afford an agent you have to be able to do it yourself,” Mullenix said. “It’s really important to learn these skills and having a mentor would definitely help clarify things.”  

Sophie Glass, a freshman dance major, said that this program would be complementary to all of the performers at this school.  

“We get all of our technique in classes, but we don’t get as many opportunities for applying it to the business and marketing side of things,” Glass said. “This program sounds very beneficial, especially with the way the industry is today.”  

Megan Lundstrom, a freshman dance major, said that she would be interested in taking advantage of the new MFA in interdisciplinary arts.  

“I think the dance program [at Point Park] is very performance-heavy,” Lundstrom said. “Being able to apply those skills after school is dependent on an artist’s ability to market and manage themself.”  

Lalama said that the new program is a perfect culmination of all of Point Park’s schools, which is something that the university has been striving for recently.  

The program will start being offered in December of this year.

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