2020 MVS Master Class


WHEN: Monday evening, January 13 –  Sunday afternoon, January 19, 2019

WHERE: Tucson, Arizona at the Homewood Suites by Hilton at St. Philips Plaza (room reservation details below)

WHO: Open to mentoring clients of MVS and Master Class alumnus.* APPLY HERE

TUITION: $1250 (Includes Legacies of LIGHT registration, details below)

The Annual MVS Master Class is intended for photographers who have begun to present their work to targeted audiences, with career strategy at the core of our discussions. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of today’s fine print markets ranging from private, public and corporate collections, as well as related professional practices, including strategizing exhibition and publication projects; securing support for your long-term personal projects, creating strong presentation proposals and social media strategies are among the topics that will be discussed in this immersive, advanced-level workshop. 

A personal library of exceptional small press publications, promotional tools and marketing examples, exhibition proposals & catalogues, and other materials that add to understanding of a professional practice today will be available to participants for review in our classroom.

The start of the week (Monday eve – Thursday eve) will be comprised of classroom lectures by myself and our special guests. As of this writing, the 2020 Guest Lecture roster includes:

  • Darius Himes, International Head of the Photographs department, Christie’s
  • Joan Liftin, Photographer, Photobook Editor & Educator
  • Jack Sal, Visual Artist
  • Barbara Tannenbaum, Chair of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs and Curator of Photography at The Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Phillip Zimmermann, Artist Book Maker & Publisher, Spaceheater Editions

Following Thursday evening’s conclusion of our classroom component, we focus on events outside of our hotel.

  • On Friday we will visit the extraordinary research library held within Laura Volkerding Study Center at the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography’s during “Open Stacks Friday” hours.
  • Friday afternoon – Sunday afternoon we will attend the “Legacies of LIGHT 3-Day Event” at the Center for Creative Photography.
  • We will also view the exhibition “Expecting to Fly” featuring the work of Kate Breakey, Susan Burnstine, and Keith Carter.
  • Note: the final schedule for Friday’s launch of the CCP event may warrant slight adjustments to our Friday scheduling.

Discounted tickets for the “Legacies of LIGHT” symposium, which commences following the Master Class, are included in the tuition costs for the first ten registrants; after that registration count has been reached a credit of $150 towards the ticket price will be provided if seats remain available for the symposium.

I promise an engaging dialogue about our industry and critical professional practices that will help you focus your energies and unleash your creativity during a stimulating visit to the Sonoran Desert. I look forward to working together in Tucson early in the new year!

Mary Virginia Swanson

* Attendance to this workshop is open only to current mentoring clients of MVS (must have had a mentoring meeting within the last three (3) years) and alumnus of the MVS Master Class. Acceptance to the annual MVS Master Class is by application only. Class size is limited. APPLY HERE.

Testimonials from MVS Master Class Alumni

Taking Mary Virginia Swanson’s Master workshop allowed me the time and space to look critically at my studio practice from an objective viewpoint. I learned this is critical to be able to do, and was greatly encouraged and facilitated through the robust programming, opportunities, and cohort who were supportive and giving.

Brett K.

Mary Virginia is a wealth of information, all of which she is excited to share. It’s clear that her aim is to help each and every student because she cares about them and she knows the importance of what she is teaching. Taking this class opened my eyes and helped me to understand how things are done. Plus it’s fun.

Sharon H.

View previous Master Class activities on Instagram via #MVSMasterClass2019, #MVSMasterClass2018 and #MVSMasterClass2017 on Instagram.


We have negotiated a discounted room rate for Workshop Participants at the Homewood Suites by Hilton of $164 + tax per night; this rate is available until December 26, 2019.  You can book a room via Homewood Suites’ website by following this LINK for the discounted rate or by calling Homewood Suites at 520-577-0007 and referring to MVS Marketing.

All rooms are suites and smoke free and include: daily hot breakfast; dinner, beer and wine each weeknight (Monday – Thursday); full kitchens in every suite with full-size refrigerator and stove top; and high speed internet as well as a fold-out couch in each suite’s living room. We encourage participants to stay with the rest of the participants at this hotel not just for the proximity to our classroom but also for the opportunity for extended dialogue it affords with classmates, course assistants and guests.  If you are interested in sharing a room with a fellow participant to cut down on your expenses, please let us know and we will do our best to pair roommates.

Note: Spouses / traveling partners have greatly enjoyed this dog-friendly hotel, finding the proximity to walking paths, restaurants, Trader Joe’s as well as the Hotel’s shuttle service (5 mile proximity) makes for diverse options on how to spend their time while we are in class.  The hotel will also pick up groceries for guests upon request.

Visiting Tucson, Arizona

Come early / Stay late! I hope you will come early/stay late and experience the culture and amazing landscape of Southern Arizona, too; this link provides a great introduction to our area visittucson.org.  The Sonoran Desert is not to be missed! Early risers will have a chance to hike and photograph in the area, and we will save time for an afternoon free to see the local beauty, historic neighborhoods or other area(s) as you wish.  Highlights in Tucson or in the near vicinity include Sabino CanyonSonoran Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, San Xavier Mission and the Pima Air & Space Museum.  A slightly longer trip (day trip) would bring you to Biosphere 2, Kitt Peak National Observatory and Karchner Caverns State Park.


If you have any questions about the workshop please email Kelsey Vance at assistant@mvswanson.com with MVS Master Class in the subject line.

Cancellation Policy

  • If you must cancel before Thursday, December 19, 2019, a full refund of funds paid, less $75 for administrative fees, will be issued.
  • If you must cancel after Thursday, December 19, 2019, a refund, less $75, will be provided only if your space can be filled. 
  • You are responsible for cancelling your hotel and travel arrangements.

ALL IMAGES © 2018 Kathleen Dreier (unless otherwise noted), all rights reserved.


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