MA in Visual Arts Administration

Established in 1971, the MA program in Visual Arts Administration was the first in the nation to focus specifically on management careers in the visual arts, in both traditional and alternative contexts. Taking into account the cultural and economic impact of the visual arts, nationally and internationally, as well as the challenges facing the arts today, the program prepares students to become leaders in a broad range of arts organizations.

The Visual Arts Administration MA program addresses the whole art ecology, including the cultural environment in which art and arts organizations operate; the role of the artist in society; how artwork is documented, presented and interpreted; the structure and management of organizations that display artwork – both non-profit and for-profit; and the role of art theorists, critics, curators, and collectors.

The program curriculum also considers how education in arts organizations expands knowledge and builds audiences, the increasing role of art in urban development and public spaces, and new approaches and tools for encouraging access and participation. A strong emphasis is placed on acquiring the theoretical and practical tools for fundraising, financial management, marketing and knowledge of new media and technology in the visual arts. While the program is primarily oriented toward the non-profit segment of the field, it also offers a strong for-profit concentration.

Emphasis is placed on collaboration across the visual arts administration field. The program takes advantage of its position in New York City to utilize the variety of arts organizations and professionals available through case studies, focus groups, site visits and examples of theory applied to practice. Using the program's extensive internship component and alumni networks allows students access to a wide range of individuals and organizations in the field and increases the depth of their understanding of the complexities of this challenging area.

Since its beginnings, the program has taken an extensive and integrated international outlook. The curriculum fosters a global perspective within course readings and discussions, and through several study abroad options. In London, for example, students analyze the exhibition and display of art in material culture through a dynamic curriculum that blends classroom sessions and site visits. In the Netherlands and Berlin, Performing Arts Administration and Visual Arts Administration students compare and contrast the management of cultural institutions in the U.S. and Europe, with an emphasis on cultural policy, cultural diplomacy, funding mechanisms, globalism and mobility, and cultural identity and diversity.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of our program, our students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the creative process, how art and artists function in society
  • Analyze the economic, political and social environment in which artists and arts organizations operate, including legal, ethical and policy issues
  • Identify and evaluate how artwork is interpreted, presented, documented and archived
  • Critique and compare the structure, operations and management of organizations that present or produce artwork on various scales
  • Outline strategies for marketing, audience development, outreach and community development in the arts
  • Acquire business skills in accounting, finance, organizational theory and management as well as arts-related media and technology
  • Develop an expansive and inclusive world view of the field that values different global perspectives, identities, concerns and goals

More Information

Information Sessions for the Visual Arts Administration program are scheduled throughout the Fall 2019 semester on the following dates:

September 26, 2019: 6pm
October 24, 2019: 6pm
November 21, 2019: 6pm
December 12, 2019: 6pm

An Online Information Session held earlier this year can be viewed here.

Contact Julia Olson at with any questions about the MA in Visual Arts Administration program and to RSVP to an information session.