MFA Program Launches Alumni Across the Country, Around the Globe


East-West Fellows in Alexandria, Egypt. Photo courtesy of Liz Trapp (CCAD 2014).

From the world-renowned East–West Fellowship in Egypt to film screenings at Microscope Gallery in New York City, alumni of CCAD's Master of Fine Arts program are finding their places in the world of art and design.

Making Waves Abroad

Now in its fourth year, the MFA program graduated 14 students in May, two of whom were boarding a plane to Egypt while their classmates were walking across the Palace Theatre stage to receive their diplomas.

Liz Trapp and Chase Bowman were chosen to join a select group of 20 Americans and Egyptians as part of the East–West Fellowship, an international initiative promoting intercultural dialogue and collaboration among young professionals from all disciplines.

The fellows visited Cairo, Giza, Luxor, and Aswan in Egypt before returning to the United States to tour Washington D.C., Atlanta, and New York City. While traveling, the group met with dignitaries, executives, writers, and artists, including Sedki Sobhi, Egyptian Minister of Defense, Danny Shea, senior editor of the Huffington Post; and Karim Wissa, Alternate Executive Director for Egypt at the World Bank.

Trapp, a painter and frequent arts writer for the Columbus Dispatch, said Egypt's "textured history" made a lasting impression.

Andrew McCauley Andrew McCauley (CCAD 2013).

"I am starting to really shift my lens toward [Egypt and the Middle East] and the intricate cultures and politics that weave it together," she said. "In a way, I think I was waiting my whole life to go there and meet the amazing people I befriended."

Also an adjunct professor at CCAD, Trapp plans to bring her experiences into the classroom.

"The fellowship gave me a new focus on creating cross-cultural dialogue, understanding, and communication, and for me, teaching is a great way to do that," she said. "I'll keep teaching as long as I'm able."

Topics of culture, value, and justice converged at the International Interdisciplinary Conference on Culture, Value, and Justice in Vaasa, Finland, where Adjunct Instructor Andrew McCauley (CCAD 2013) presented a paper titled Garden of Symbosis with Fine Arts Professor John Kortlander.

The conference brought scholars from 14 different countries and universities together to create new research openings in the interdisciplinary field of comparative cultural studies.

McCauley’s work revolves around the effects that diseases like multiple sclerosis have on the body and mind. His paintings combine two-dimensional media, including acrylic paint, watercolor paint, graphite, and ink, with fabric and paper that are mounted on materials like wood and muslin.

Liz Roberts.

Liz Roberts (CCAD 2014). Photo by Michael Goroff.

Learning to Collaborate Close to Home

Liz Roberts's work took her to New York City, where her short films joined a group show of celluloid films at Microscope Gallery.

While in the MFA program at CCAD, the 2014 alumna focused on Cinematic Arts, sculpture, and installation and produced a number of collaborative works with fellow students Linda Diec and Lexie Stoia.

"I've learned from these collaborative experiences that it's important to continue to have fun in your medium," Roberts said. "When it is a true collaboration, the end result is something that feels much more free and enjoyable for the viewer."

The three have screened their collaborative works at the Ohio State Fair and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Roberts' work has been screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, and New York Expo of Short Film and Video.

Continue to follow our MFA alumni and current students on the CCAD News Blog.