Patrisse Cullors Leads New MFA At Prescott College
Prospective students will be able to complete the program online with an optional residency in LA at the Crenshaw Dairy Mart

Prescott, AZ, Nov 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Prescott, Arizona - Today, Arizona’s Prescott College announced the unveiling of their new Social and Environmental Arts Practice MFA program helmed by Patrisse Cullors, artist, activist, educator/public speaker, Black Lives Matter Global Network co-founder, founder and chairperson of Reform L.A. Jails, as the Faculty Director. The program, strategically designed by Cullors and Prescott, is the first of its kind in the nation to focus a curriculum on the intersection of art, social justice and community organizing that extends beyond the page — creating a pathway to positively respond to social and environmental issues in ways that inspire and mobilize community-based solutions. 


Students enrolled in the 48-credit online MFA degree have the option to complete a residency in Los Angeles, California at The Crenshaw Dairy Mart, a studio where Cullors and many of the faculty that teach in the program work. Cullors was intentional in every aspect of the program design, with classes lending themselves to evaluating nature, culture, society, and the environment through the arts. Core classes to complete as part of the curriculum include “Art as Social & Environmental Practice”, which introduces students to the fundamental theories and concepts of art as social and environmental practice; “The Rise of Performance Art in the Fine Arts World”, which will look at the ways social practice has evolved from 1960 to present; and “Studio Practice”, which is course work that can be fulfilled through mentorships and/or online courses as approved in the student’s degree roadmap.


"Prescott College asked me to do the MFA program, and it came at the right time. I see art and teaching as part of my future as an organizer and a leader. Taking two of the most powerful tools we have for expression — community organizing and art...this is how we shatter the current political climate," said Cullors. “Art is the gateway to our imagination. It forces us to bend the norms. I use art as a tool and as a compass towards greater freedom and liberation. When art is centered through politics we are able to transform the material conditions for those most impacted by harm and violence. This program is going to lift up artists who are ready to be shapeshifters we so desperately need.”


Five out of the seven faculty members training the next generation of social practices to artists around the globe through the Prescott College program graduated at the University of Southern California with a Master of Fine Arts alongside Cullors.


Born in San Diego, California, Noé Olivas creates his relationship between labor as it fits into the conceptions of femininity and masculinity through printing making, sculpture, and performance. 


“I strongly believe in the words of bell hooks from her book Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope: “Education as the practice of freedom affirms healthy self-esteem in students as it promotes their capacity to be aware and live consciously. It teaches them to reflect and act in ways that further self-actualization, rather than conformity to the status quo.” As an artist and educator/healer, I look forward to putting hooks words into our daily practice collectively at Prescott MFA program,” said Noe Olivias.


Star Montana is a photo-based artist who was born and raised in the predominantly Mexican American populated Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles,  which serves as the main inspiration of her work. 


“Toni Morrison said 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.’ My goal is to bring my knowledge and voice to my students at Prescott to encourage them in their art practice,” said Star Montana.


Jake Freilich is an educator and artist Program Director and Instructor for Arts in Action in Los Angeles, California. 


“I believe the best artists are teachers and the best teachers are artists. The formation of pedagogy should be no different from an artwork or exhibition; all call for thoughtfulness conducive to dialogue.  The Prescott MFA program offers a uniquely rhizomatic platform for important dialogue that I’m excited to be a part of,” said Jake Freilich.


Born in Los Angeles, CA, Alexandre Dorriz is a research-based artist and current body of research is in breeding silkworms to model localized economies, investigate memory seriations in fiber and interpret silk protein as a time-based, photographic medium in an ongoing studio installation, entitled Economies of Small, or the Location of Capital (2018), broadcasting live at


"Our pedagogy will be designed as a posturing, as a question, as a conversation; allowing ourselves to ask difficult questions, to build upon them, and to blueprint new systems, new processes, new languages along the way – with courses of action found. We will imagine a space where vetting, investigation, and criticality comes from a love for antiquated systems, and their enablers, to do better, and be better," said Alexandre Dorriz.


"We're honored that Patrisse agreed to do the program and we love that it meets people where they are,”  said Bill Prado, Prescott College Dean of Graduate Studies. “If they're working or have families, the way it's structured creates an opportunity to get this unique and relevant MFA, working with one of the most influential women of our time.”


The MFA Social and Environmental Arts Practice is currently enrolling students for Spring 2020 classes which begin on January 14, 2020. Prospective students can learn about the program by visiting and can apply here

About Patrisse Cullors
Artist, organizer, educator, and popular public speaker, Patrisse Cullors, is a Los Angeles native and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network,  Founder of grassroots Los Angeles based organization Dignity and Power Now and Founder and Chair of Reform L.A. Jails.  


In 2013, Patrisse co-founded the global movement with the viral Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter which has since grown to an international organization with dozens of chapters around the world fighting anti-Black racism. In January 2016 Patrisse Cullors published her memoir, "When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir." Her memoir became an instant New York Times Bestseller.   


Patrisse has been honored with various awards including: The Sydney Peace Prize Award (2017), Black Woman of the Year Award (2015) from The National Congress of Black Women, Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century Award (2016) from the Los Angeles Times, Community Change Agent Award (2016) from BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, Inc., Women of the Year Award for the Justice Seekers Award (2016) from Glamour, and ESSENCE' first-ever Woke Award. 

Patrisse recently graduated from USC's MFA School of Roski and Design.

About Prescott College
Founded in 1966, Prescott College is approved by the Higher Learning Commission and offers four-year undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, an Ph.D. programs utilizing an experiential, self-directed model that attracts students motivated to make a difference in the world. Prescott College sets the standard for academic excellence through experiential, collaborative education that transforms diverse learners into leaders who make a difference while making a living. Committed to social justice and environmental sustainability, we serve local and global communities through innovative and intellectually adventurous liberal arts and professional programs.