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“Need for Speed,” by Mike Shultis, 2016

Shultis Accepted into Yale MFA Program

“Need for Speed,” by Mike Shultis, 2016

A former St. Louis Community College art student has been accepted into the Yale University Master of Fine Arts program in Painting.

Mike Shultis, a former student at STLCC-Florissant Valley, recently earned that distinction. Shultis was chosen from among 800 applicants for this program. The applicant field further is narrowed to 80 chosen for interviews, and then only about 20 students are accepted.

Yale is considered the premier graduate school for painting. Graduates often have their works selected for gallery exhibits in New York City.

Shultis is the third STLCC-Florissant Valley student accepted into the Yale MFA program. Aaron Fowler and Dominic Chambers are the other students.

Shultis earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Pennsylvania Academy for the Fine Arts, the oldest art school in the United States. Shultis moved to New York City, where he set up studio. He has exhibited his work in Manhattan, and has received awards and recognition for his work.

Shultis had an exhibition, titled “All American,” at the Diane Rosenstein Gallery in Los Angeles in summer 2016.

“In this body of work, I specifically focused on male aggression/violence, sexism, sexuality in an internet porn era, addiction to stimulants, and racism,” Shultis told The Creators Project. “Most of the pieces in ‘All American’ included myself in the work and are direct references to a particular story in my life or a clear relationship I have with a chosen subject matter.”

Regarding his deliberate decision to focus on white male culture, Shultis believes he has a duty to participate in identity politics, even if it manifests as a criticism of his own demographic group.

“I find that most of the problems in our current cultural moment can be attributed to the white American male,” he said. “Since I am a white American male, I feel a sense of responsibility to not only explore masculinity and whiteness, but also reflect the inherent problems within those groups in our culture. I think it’s for the exact reasons artists shy away from masculinity that I feel inclined to make work about those themes and shine a light on something we know exists but choose to ignore.”