Art Teacher Goes Back to School for MFA 

Northwood’s art teacher Ms. Van Slyke is going attending graduate school at the Savannah college for Art and Design to get her Master in Fine Arts (MFA) in painting. She is pursuing this ambitious goal while she is still teaching her art classes at Northwood. 

Staff writer Conrad Katzander ‘22, and artist himself, spoke to Van Slyke about her experience.


Katzander: Why did you decide to go back to art school? 

Van Slyke: I’ve been a professional artist for many, many years, but I always wanted a deeper understanding of why I do the art that I do. I also believe that no matter what your age, you should never stop learning and growing as an artist.


How has grad school changed your art?  

My art has changed a lot because I am now working much larger and working with one cohesive body of work.


Do you like being a student and a teacher? 

Yes, because the best way to learn something is to teach it as well.


What types of things are you learning at school? 

Every semester I take a painting class. I’ve also taken graduate drawing, art history, art criticism, and MFA self-promotion. Next year I will start working towards my thesis. I have also had two internships.


Ms. Ingrid Van Slyke working on a painting. (Photo provided)

What things have you learned in your school that you have been applying to the classes that you teach?  

In painting specifically, it is that as painters you need to have a plan before you start your painting. Having drawings and sketches as well as color studies and then developing it on the canvas is very useful.

As I student, I have learned how valuable it is when teachers make expectations clear for their students. I’ve learned from seeing how other art teachers teach differently.


How far along are you with your MFA and how do you take your classes? 

Its online schooling. I’m four years in and I have one more year to go. I take one course at a time during the schoolyear and two classes in the summer.


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