Visiting Professionals

To shed light on the burgeoning career opportunities for visual and design artists, School of Art students are offered numerous opportunities to interact with visiting professionals from the visual arts and design industries.

Through artist talks, demonstrations, workshops, scholarly research forums, and networking events these programs add breadth and context to existing Art and Visual Technology courses and can lead to internships and mentorship opportunities, all while providing valuable insights into students’ career goals.

Visual Voices

Visual Voices Colloquium is a professional lecture series presented each semester, offering a window into the professional world of art and design.

Speakers are chosen to represent leading and emerging talented practitioners, as well as artists whose work lies beyond the subject areas of the program offerings. 

The purpose of the course and the program is to broaden students’ exposure and vocabulary to professional work being created today. It also provides an opportunity for Art and Design students and members of the public to interact with speakers via a virtual Q&A following their lecture, giving them the chance to exchange ideas and pose questions to the guest speakers. 

Watch Videos from the 2024 Visual Voices Artists

Previous speakers have included:

  • Sherrill Roland’s interdisciplinary practice deals with concepts of innocence, identity, and community; reimagining their social and political implications in the context of the American criminal justice system.
  • Aimée Beaubienan artist living and working in Chicago.
  • Jen White-Johnson, an Afro-Latina disabled and neurodivergent art activist, designer and educator whose visual work explores the intersection of content and caregiving with an emphasis on redesigning ableist visual culture.
  • Giovanni Aloiauthor, educator, and curator specializing in the representation of nature and the environment in art.
  • Saki Mafundikwa, founder and director of the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA) a new media training college in Harare, ZImbabwe
  • Jaewook Lee, an artist, writer, amateur scientist, semi-philosopher, and sometime curator. Lee is the founder and director of Mindful Joint, an annual symposium that focuses on non-hierarchical knowledge sharing in contemporary art. 
  • Koyoltzintli Miranda-Rivadeneira is an Ecuadorian American artist and curandera from Queens, New York who investigates Indigenous ways of relating to the land, through photography, video, ceramics, and sound.
  • Black Kirby is a shared pseudonym that is Stacey Robinson and John Jennings (Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside). Black Kirby functions as a rhetorical tool by sampling and remixing comic legend Jack Kirby’s bold forms and energetic ideas combined with themes centered around Afrofuturism, social justice, representation, magical realism, and using the culture of Hip Hop as a methodology for creating visual communication.

Visual Voices lectures are now available to watch online. Mason Arts Amplified has a new look and platform to make watching and browsing arts content even easier. This online platform is a digital stage and learning space featuring curated arts experiences including livestreamed concerts, releases of previously recorded content, behind-the-scenes talks with artists, and more. It requires a free registration.

Artist Protection Fund 

Abdulrahman Naanseh speaking to students during his artist in residence at Mason's School of Art
Abi Naanseh's exhibit moved to the Gillespie Gallery in the Art and Design Building on Mason’s Fairfax Campus, in late August 2022. Photo by Cristian Torres/Strategic Communications

An initiative of Institute of International Education, the Artist Protection Fund (IIE-APF) fills a critical unmet need by protecting threatened artists and placing them at welcoming host institutions in safe countries where they can continue their work and plan for their futures. IIE-APF places these artists in safe havens for a full year and provides fellowship funding, mentoring, and inclusion in a comprehensive network of artistic and social support.  

Syrian artist Abdulrahman Naanseh (b.1991) was the Artist Protection Fund Fellow (IIE-APF) and 2022 Artist-in-Residence at Mason’s School of Art. Naanseh’s calligraphy is a personal response to the tangled narratives of religion and politics that characterize life in his native Syria, which Naanseh sees as essential to understanding the Middle East or the Arab region. 


Watch Abdulrahman Naanseh talk about his time at George Mason as an Artist Protection Fund candidate and as an artist-in-residence.

Dynamic Publishing Minor

Each semester, as part of the new Dynamic Publishing Minor, professional artists are invited to come and work with the students to publish their printed works.

The School of Art features a Letterpress Studio, providing students with access to this timeless printing technique. The studio houses traditional letterpress equipment and type, allowing students to learn the art of setting and printing with movable type. This hands-on experience with letterpress fosters an appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry of typography, while also enabling students to create unique and tactile printed materials.

Navigation Press

Navigation Press provides a collaborative space between visiting artists and student printmakers to produce new interdisciplinary prints, books, and multiples. Pictured here are Professor Christopher Kardambikis and
Navigation Press provides a collaborative space between visiting artists and student printmakers to produce new interdisciplinary prints, books, and multiples. Professor Christopher Kardambikis and the Navigation Press crew pose with artist Sadie Barnette and Hello Kitty, 2017.

Navigation Press is a master printmaking residency within the Mason School of Art. Each year, a visiting artist of national renown spends a week in the print studio with students and a master printmaker to complete a limited-edition print. During their time on campus, the visiting artist also gives a campus lecture, participates in class workshops, and meets with students to give critiques. While many participating artists are master printmakers themselves, Navigation Press invites artists from a variety of artistic backgrounds and media.

The artistic process is often perceived as a solitary act, with an artist independently researching, developing, and executing their ideas. However, the studio or atelier model is a longstanding tradition in the history of printmaking. Students work alongside contemporary artists, gain hands-on experience in the production of editions and learn about the contemporary art world outside of the University setting. Meanwhile, the master printmaker supports the visiting artists in translating their artwork and ideas into prints, books, or other forms of multiples through a variety of processes including screen printing, lithography, digital printing, and etching. 

Navigation Press was founded in 2006 by Helen Frederick and Harold Linton. In 2016, Christopher Kardambikis became the director of Navigation Press, working to build upon a formidable legacy.

Contributions made to the Friends of Art and Visual Technology fund directly support Navigation Press. Contributions to Navigation Press can be made online or mailed to:

Development Office
College of Visual & Performing Arts
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MS4C1
Fairfax, VA 22030

Please make the check out to GMUF and note Navigation Press in the memo line. 

Navigation Press is currently restructuring to better serve our students while collaborating with local partners.