Tyler's 2021 MFA Thesis Exhibitions

The stunning work by Tyler graduate students in the annual MFA Thesis Exhibitions finds common ground in themes like displacement, memory and yearning for connection after an unprecedented year full of personal and academic challenges.

JUNE 3RD, 2020. CECIL B. MOORE AVE AND BROAD ST, 2020, by Isaac Scott. Digital photograph.


The Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University is pleased to announce its annual MFA Thesis Exhibitions—a longstanding tradition that culminates two years of intensive artistic and critical development for the school’s Master of Fine Arts candidates.

The 2021 MFA Thesis Exhibitions will showcase the work of more than 30 graduate students celebrating the breadth of Tyler’s MFA degree programs in solo and collaborative shows spanning both the spring and fall semesters (March 31–May 1, 2021 and October 20–December 18, 2021). For more information on participating students, please click here.

Two values critical to the Tyler MFA experience are adaptability and resilience—qualities that have been tested throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Tyler students met this challenge head-on as they confronted the unknown and found ways to sustain their studio practices and education. It is no surprise that the deeply moving work of this cohort finds common ground among themes of displacement, memory and yearning for connection.

“In addition to relevant contemporary themes that speak to us all at this time,” said Tyler Associate Dean Chad Curtis, “we’ve witnessed a great deal of overlap across mediums and disciplines. In spite of the challenges, it has been especially exciting to see the strength of our community this year—the MFAs have been offering each other ‘skill shares’ within their own fields of expertise. It’s strengthened the quality of their work while forging connections between the students.”

La Cama, 2020, by Naomi Lemus. Box spring, clothing, cinder blocks and video work.


The exhibitions will be installed on the ground floor of Tyler School of Art and Architecture on Temple University's Main Campus in Philadelphia, at N. 12th and E. Norris Streets. New exhibitions featuring the work of one to five students will be shown every Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

When they graduate, Tyler’s MFA Class of 2021 will join a community of distinguished alumni that includes Barbara Chase-Riboud (BFA ‘57); Hannah Wilke (BFA ‘62); Albert Paley (MFA ‘69); Moe Brooker, (BFA ’70, MFA ‘72); Dennis Adams (MFA ‘71); Laurie Simmons (BFA ‘71); Allan Edmunds (BFA ’71, MFA ‘75); Martha Jackson Jarvis (BFA ‘75); Polly Apfelbaum (BFA ‘78); Jean Foos (MFA ‘78); Edgard Heap of Birds (MFA ‘79); Harriete Estel Berman (MFA ’80); Lisa Yuskavage (BFA ‘84); Lisa Sigal (BFA ‘85); Angela Dufresne (MFA ‘89); John Hatfield (MFA ‘89); Carl Fudge (MFA ‘90); Anoka Faruqee (MFA ‘97); Trenton Doyle Hancock (MFA ‘00); Will Villalongo (MFA ‘01); Jennifer Packer (BFA ‘07); Doreen Garner (BFA ‘09); Erin Riley (MFA ‘09); Amber Cowan (MFA ‘11); Erica Prince (MFA ’12); Jeffrey Meris (BFA ‘15); Kara Springer (MFA ‘17); and Ayana Evans (MFA ‘00); among many others.

Tyler’s 2021 MFA Thesis Exhibitions participants:

March 31–April 3

  • Allison Anderson
  • Ossie Jon-Nwakalo
  • Cooper O’Brien
  • Mollie Schaidt

April 7–10

  • Max Adrian
  • Nick Carter
  • Naomi Lemus
  • Victoria Ravelo

April 14–17

  • Vatina Cangelosi
  • Madeleine Conover
  • Nicolo Gentile
  • Rachel Hsu

April 21–24

  • Anna Graves
  • Gilberto López-Elías
  • Kaitlin Santoro
  • Sixuan Zhu 

April 21: Virtual Graphic & Interactive Design Exhibition: 21.svg

  • Justine Kelley
  • Wenqing Liu
  • Marisa Watanabe
  • Kathleen Brissette

April 28–May 1

  • James Betts
  • Wensi Huang
  • Sarah Montagnoli
  • Ellen Sisti
  • Yuye Zhang



October 20–23

  • Isaac Scott

October 27–30

  • Marilla Cubberly

November 3–6

  • Charlotte G. Chin Greene

November 10–13

  • Brian McNamara

November 17–20

  • Matt Witmer

December 1–4

  • Liz Ashley Martin

December 8–11

  • Melanie Bernier

December 15–18

  • Leah Frances