Open Enrollment

My MFA Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

Hi! My name is Jeffrey, I’m 26 years old, and I live in San Francisco, California.  I know it’s kind of early to be writing to you in the middle of August, but by the time the holidays come around, I’m wrapping gifts and watching new movies and going to parties that there’s no time to sit down and breathe! Plus, a lot of this letter requires your absolute immediate attention ASAP and it just cannot wait until December! It’s already winter here in San Francisco so you don’t have to worry about changing out of your red suit – in fact, I suggest you bring an extra layer because it is cold at night. So now that I have your attention, I want to start out by saying thank you very much for overturning Prop 8 last week — the celebration in the Castro was a lot of fun and instead of snow there was pink confetti! I know I shouldn’t be asking for any more things after that, but I’m about to start my last year of grad school at San Francisco Art Institute and I would really appreciate it if you could help me make it the bestest year ever.

Jeffrey Augustine Songco, "Holiday 2007 Invitation" (2007). Courtesy the artist.

I should start out by asking you to help out my fellow classmates — you know, things that would benefit the student body at large. As one of the co-chairs of the Legion of Graduate Students (LOGS), it’s my responsibility to make sure that the administration hears the students’ voices. LOGS is currently working with a group of passionate students who have created a proposal of vital changes that can enrich our academic experience in this short two-year stay. This proposal includes (among other things):

  • a small library annex at the Graduate Center that contains copies of grad material held at the main campus,
  • updated and properly operating audio and video equipment,
  • more hours for one-on-one tutorial classes,
  • advisors from each department who can track individual development throughout the two-year program,
  • assistance with professional networking with the art worlds of San Francisco and beyond,
  • external interest and involvement with the Graduate Center’s Swell Gallery,
  • a highly anticipated and attended Graduate Open Studios and Thesis Exhibition,
  • a screening room for movies, films, live music, and performances,
  • a recreational room for physical activity and socializing, and
  • a new technology lab for the further development of a program that is touted as conceptual, contemporary, traditional, and theoretical.

Jeffrey Augustine Songco, "The Shepherds." Courtesy the artist.

I’m not sure what requests have priority for each and every student — maybe you do — but there is one absolute wish: we need a shuttle to take us back and forth between the undergrad and grad buildings that are on opposite sides of the city. Critiques would be much more entertaining if we could vent our frustrations in the classroom rather than on the hour train/bus commute between classes. You could even stuff our grad program’s stocking with three Zipcar membership cards and LOGS will figure out the carpooling situation before I can properly say “Simon de Pury.”

Okay, the next gift is for both the undergrad students and me. I’m TA-ing for a required freshman class of a hundred every Friday from 9 to 4 and one of my friends said that during the entire semester, the freshmen are never happier or less angry than that first day of class. I would love it if you could make the attendance percentage 100 but I’ll settle for anything more than 60. And please make them check their e-mails.

Jeffrey Augustine Songco, "Lil' Mary." Courtesy the artist.

My next few gifts would really take some magic but if you started the ball rolling, I know it could really change the world and that’s what you’re here for, right? I was hoping you could get me representation from Baer Ridgway Exhibitions here in San Francisco, Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles, or even Elizabeth Dee in New York City — OMG that would be awesome! Or if you could reroute the 2012 Whitney Biennial or The Generational curators out to San Francisco for a weekend, I could be in my studio waiting with milk and cookies for them, and you, but I promise to go to sleep right after they leave so I don’t see you — I know how you are about seeing us. Do you think they would want me to be sleeping, too, during the studio visit, as art?

Jeffrey Augustine Songco, "III Y's Men." Courtesy the artist.

In ten months, I’ll be a Master of Fine Art! I’m so amped for my critical study classes, tutorials, and critiques this year that I know those will go just fine. It’s all that stuff above that makes me anxious so anything you could do to help me out would be amazing. I’ve been a really good boy this summer — I brushed my teeth every day, I read almost every blog post by my favorite bloggers, and I looked at a Trisha Donnelly piece for over twenty-three seconds! I plan on being a very very good boy during my last MFA year, and I could be a very very very good boy if you sent me those gifts.

Thanks Santa!

Jeffrey Augustine Songco, "Angel." Courtesy the artist.

PS: I have a dermatologist appointment at the end of September but my school is switching health insurance providers in the next few weeks. If you could make sure that the new plan stays a PPO that would be as awesome as when you gave me that Nintendo when I was five. Thanks again!

  1. Pingback: Life After MFA…What Next? | Art21 Blog

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