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  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring John Houck, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Jesse Benson (b. 1978) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Benson's complex practice is driven by the perversion of roles and representation that characterize his generational moment. In obsessively "skillful" objects like the Bureau Paintings, Catalog Page Paintings, Future Sculptures, and Repaintings, Benson constantly questions the authenticity of the document, the function of style, and the value of both art and artist. Benson is equally committed to a curatorial/organizational practice that openly overlaps and inspires his object production.

  • The Architecture/Landscape/Interiors Department at OTIS College of Art and Design is pleased to announce a lecture by Nick SeierupPrincipal | Design Director of Perkins+Will, Los Angeles, on Thursday, December 3, 2015.


  • Marisa Silver is the author most recently of the New York Times bestselling novel Mary Coin. Her other books include the novels No Direction Home and The God of War (a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize), as well as two story collections, Babe in Paradise and Alone with You. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and been included in many anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Silver lives in Los Angeles.

  • Jesse Lerner is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles.  His short films Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling), T.S.H. (2004) and Magnavoz (2006) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999) The American Egypt (2001), Atomic Sublime (2010) and The Absent Stone (2013, with Sandra Rozental) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan.

  • Otis faculty member Dana Berman Duff will present a program of short 16mm and digital films in her "Catalogue" series.

  • Performing the Grid is an exhibition that brings together an intergenerational group of artists and cultural producers that utilize the grid as a performative strategy to examine, challenge and position philosophical, political, social, domestic, corporeal, and mythical perspectives. Rosalind Kraus famously wrote that the grid “functions to declare the modernity of modern art” in her 1979 essay, Grids.


Graduate Writing

An emerging author today will work in many forms over the course of his or her career—Otis prepares its Graduate Writing students for a full range of possibilities.

Our students are free to write in any genre they choose without needing to declare a concentration, and our Workshops reflect this openness: Poets and fiction writers and essayists all gather around the same seminar table discussing each other’s work with two Faculty members who together offer a range of experience.

This team-taught interdisciplinary approach fosters experimentation, cross-pollination, and unexpected discoveries. Poets might encounter narrative forms they can then employ (or controvert) in verse; fiction writers may reconsider how they’re using language and think in new ways on the level of the sentence; and in some cases, new hybrid forms may emerge.

Develop your unique voice and figure out how to lead a sustainable writing life.
Along side the Workshops, one-on-one mentoring is written into the curriculum in the form of Tutorials: Each student is paired with a Faculty member who her or himself is working in that student’s area of greatest interest.

The Tutorial becomes what each student and Faculty member decide to make of it, which may include: directed reading related to the student’s current projects; manuscript preparation; practical counseling according to student needs (querying agents, finding the right publisher, entering chapbook contests, etc.).

Perhaps most importantly, the Tutorial can become the place where a student figures out how he or she will exit Otis with the momentum and skills to sustain a meaningful writing life.

Complete the program with a project that will become your first book.
Our MFA degree culminates with a creative thesis in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or literary translation. The goal is for each student head off with a manuscript that is well on its way to becoming a first book.

Collaborate with Faculty to design your seminars.
Unique to Otis are innovative Writing Colloquiums, reading seminars designed by Faculty in collaboration with graduate students.

Students are invited to suggest topics of special interest to them, from technical issues (like point-of-view or unreliable narration, etc.) to particular authors they want to study in-depth (Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, etc.) to currents in contemporary fiction and poetry (ethics in literature, political fiction, jazz and poetry, etc.). The faculty then takes these suggestions, adds them to their own on-going concerns, and puts together courses for the following semester (which like the Workshops are team-taught).

The end result is a curriculum that is dynamic and keyed in to what fascinates the collective Graduate Writing community.

Meet writers, editors, and translators from around the world.
Students will get to work consistently with dedicated Faculty, but it’s important that they also encounter a diversity of voices, methods, and alternate ways of inhabiting the literary world. Our biweekly Visiting Writers Series brings in writers, translators, and editors from around the country and abroad to meet and talk with students, sharing their work and expertise.

Work at a small press.
Housed in our writing program is our own small press, Otis Books, which is staffed by students and guided by Faculty. Each year we publish four to six titles, at least one of which is a work in translation. Student editors put out calls for new manuscripts, make selections, and then see the work through the editorial process and production. Alumni have gone on to start their own presses and work in independent publishing.

Build up your teaching resumé.
Our students regularly TA for courses offered in the Otis undergraduate department of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This becomes a great way to gain experience in the classroom and to make one’s CV attractive in a competitive academic market.

Study full- or part-time.
Though the program is full-residency, students have the option of enrolling on a full-time or part-time basis. Our small size and selective nature ensure an exemplary student/faculty ratio and allow us to guarantee all full-time students two years of partial fellowship support to assist with the overall tuition, as well as employment through the teaching and publishing practicums.

Thrive in a creative environment.
Studying writing in an art school means that as a writer you are taken seriously as an artist.

Inspiration is everywhere, and the other graduate and undergraduate programs at Otis—including those in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, Digital Media, Illustration, and Book Arts—offer the possibility for interdisciplinary projects.

Find community in Los Angeles.
Our program is enriched by the eclectic literary resources of Los Angeles, its book festivals, reading series, galleries and museums, small presses, legendary writers’ haunts, and independent bookstores.

We live in a complex sprawling city—but by being a part of the writing program at Otis, you have the chance to find your literary community and make connections that will last a lifetime.

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See our Otis Books page for information about our upcoming titles.