Master of Arts in Visual Arts Administration

Course Descriptions

Note: Additional course work for Arts Administration majors is taken at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business or the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Introduction to Galleries and Museums of New York
ARVA-GE 2002 45 hours:  3 points
Surveys a broad spectrum of visual art resources through guided lecture-tour visits to current exhibitions at leading museums, galleries, and alternative art spaces located throughout New York City.  On-site meetings with art administrators affiliated with various organizations introduce a wide range of career and management issues pertaining to the field and add to an understanding of the development and continued growth of New York’s exciting art world.

Marketing the Visual Arts
ARVA-GE 2005 30 hours: 3 points
Basic marketing and media relations principles and techniques as they apply to successful museums and galleries.  Students learn how organizations identify current and potential audiences, attract visitors, create ongoing relationships with visitors and members, develop effective visual identities and measure success. The pros and cons of new trends – including those related to the Web – are discussed.

Business and the Visual Arts
ARVA-GE 2118  45 hours:  3 points
Provides a comprehensive understanding of the diverse ways the visual arts and business intersect in the United States and abroad. Traditional corporate art programs are examined, as well as new models pertaining to today's style of management and more technology-oriented businesses as well as the real estate, hospitality and healthcare industries. Examination of how art in the work place matches the culture and philosophy of a business or corporation and how they are successfully used as a tool in branding, public relations, client development, community outreach, and human resources. Attention is paid to the marketing benefits accrued to a corporation when it engages in a visual arts effort, be it through collecting, museums, exhibitions, art education programs, artist/exhibition sponsorship, communications or technology. On-site visits and guest lecturers from professionals in the field.

The Function and Structure of Museums
ARVA-GE 2015  30 hours: 3 points
The nature, function, and structure of museums, from Napoleonic times to the present, and their three chief concerns: the collection, presentation, and interpretation of objects of material culture.  By the comparison of museums to other societal institutions, the structure of today’s museum is brought into bold relief.

Art Collecting
ARVA-GE 2016  30 hours: 3 points
How to collect art for both private and public collections.  Factors of aesthetics, taste, and economics are discussed as well as the historic development of collections since the Renaissance.  Special attention is given to corporate collections and collecting for investment. Guest lectures.

Exhibition Design
ARVA-GE 2019  30 hours: 3 points
Concepts, procedures, materials, and tools necessary for producing and managing exhibition projects in museums, cultural centers and galleries. Space planning, traffic flow, object placement, use of graphic elements, interpretive techniques, and participatory and interactive strategies are discussed. Students learn the skills of sketching, drafting, and model making by designing an exhibition layout, graphics, and sample label.

Education in Art Museums
ARVA-GE 2021  30 hours: 3 points
An exploration of the history and development of art education and its role and function in the museum.  Strategies for teaching and addressing different populations in various environments are studied.  Various programs and educational materials are explored and analyzed.  Classroom lectures are supplemented by site visits.

Exhibition and Display of Material Culture
ARVA-GE 2027  30 hours:  3 points
A survey that examines contemporary issues in the exhibition and display of art and material culture.  The theory that underpins practice is considered within thematic groups: art world ecosystems; typologies and frameworks for exhibition making; curatorial roles; interpretation; authenticity, and identity; establishing value; and interventionist initiatives.  Examples are drawn from an international selection of museums, galleries, periodic exhibitions, and heritage sites.  The discussion framework includes the physical and conceptual contexts, motivations, and educational goals that shape interpretation and presentation.

The Law and the Visual Arts
ARVA-GE 2028  30 hours: 3 points
The legal setting for the artist and the visual arts organization in the state of New York and the United States is explored.  Major legal issues in the definition of art-as-property and the rights of the artist are evaluated.  Contemporary controversies are placed in the larger context of attempts by the judicial system to redefine the balance between the rights of the individual artist and the public responsibilities of the visual arts institution in an increasingly urbanized and technological society.

The Environment of Visual Art Administration
ARVA-GE 2030 30 hours: 3 points
Introduction to the elements and participants affecting visual arts organizations in the United States.  In addition to examining the position of the artist in society, the course analyzes the cultural environment in which art and arts organizations operate and the structure and management of organizations that present artwork, - in both non-profit and commercial venues.  Students study the particular intersections between for profit and non-profit areas in the visual arts as well as the strategies and techniques needed to manage visual arts organizations effectively.  The course addresses the whole art system and how various elements/organizations/individuals interact and influence one another.

Arts Advocacy: Concept and Practice
ARVA-GE 2035 30 hours: 3 points
Arts organizations rely on the support and sponsorship of public and private agencies and individuals.  This course focuses on current issues and approaches to building public understanding and legislative support for the arts, and examines the context and growth of arts advocacy in the U.S.  Students will develop hands-on skills to initiate and sustain effective relationships with policy makers and other arts stakeholders.  Topics include cultural policy, the arts economy, political structures and processes, coalition building, cultural diplomacy, as well as internet and media advocacy.

Development for the Visual Arts
ARVA-GE 2032  30 hours: 3 points
Introduction to a wide range of development techniques for securing contributed income, including foundation, government and corporate grants and sponsorships; gifts from individuals through memberships, major gifts, planned giving and special events; and capital and endowment campaigns.  Critical issues include how to identify potential donors, the solicitation process and support materials needed to “make the ask,” and the donor’s perspective.

The Artist’s Career
ARVA-GE 2060  30 hours: 3 points
Understanding the complex dynamics of what makes an artist’s career is essential to successful relations among artists, curators, critics, gallerists, and arts administrators.  The course explores the environment of the art world and the artist’s place within it and includes such topics as the artist’s role in society, the artist’s function in the economy, rights and responsibilities, management tools such as portfolio  preparation and presentation, and marketing and grantsmanship.

Visual Arts Markets
ARVA-GE 2076  30 hours: 3 points
Development of a business in the fine arts including core vision, program and presentation, promotion, marketing, sales, contracts, and financial planning.  Examination of what differentiates an arts business from other kinds of businesses.  Students gain exposure to a variety of professionals in the commercial arena of the visual arts including gallerists, dealers, and consultants.  The course concludes with the formulation and presentation of a comprehensive business plan for a startup arts business.

Digital Technologies and the Art Organization: From Strategy to Practice
ARVA-GE 2109  30 hours: 3 points
Examines the intersection of internet-related technology with visual arts administration on an individual and institutional level. Students gain familiarity and competence with Web site evaluation, planning and creation, artists online projects, collection management and educational use in order to inform their future personal and institutional decision making and communication with technical staff.

Urban Development and the Visual Arts
ARVA-GE 2112  30 hours: 3 points
Inquiry into the role of the arts in city growth and development.  Examines the role of public art, arts programming, and city planning for aesthetic, cultural, and historic reasons, and amenities for artists in promoting community well-being. Required site visits.

Contemporary Art and Community Partnerships
ARVA-GE 2120    30 hours: 3 points + Praxis for 1 point
Course investigates art museum education. Topics include social justice, object-based learning, and the broader cultural context surrounding non-school art education. Through critical reading/discussion students form an approach to “serious play” and situate themselves into practitioner debates about museums as a site for re-inventing object-based learning.  Other topics include community-based art theory, art education, museum studies as well as praxis-based activities.

Strategic Planning and Governance for the Visual Arts
ARVA-GE 2133  30 hours: 3 points
An exploration of the role of boards of trustees and the interaction of boards and staff in the management of nonprofit visual arts institutions.  Topics include the legal, ethical and practical responsibilities of the governing board; effective board leadership; recruiting, training, motivating, and retaining trustees; development of policy; strategic planning; and risk management.

Cultural Branding in Arts Organizations
ARVA-GE 2134  30 hours: 3points
Examines how branding for arts organizations communicates a distinctive role, relevance and identity to convey a clear institutional message. Rising media costs, ever increasing options for leisure-time activities, and the shift from philanthropic to brand-focused corporate support combine to create an imperative for clarity and impact in arts marketing activities. Theoretical business frameworks, case studies and guest speakers, effective strategies to engage target audiences and build a sustainable identity are analyzed.  (Prerequisite:  P11.2119 or B01.2310)

Appraisal and Valuation of Art
ARVA-GE 2171  30 hours: 3 points
An overview of the many varied issues involved in the commerce of art, including the pricing and marketing of a wide number of art objects from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  Different types of professions and their specific needs for determining the value of art are examined. The impacts of emerging markets and technologies on the business of art are covered.

Collections and Exhibition Management
ARVA-GE 2198  30 hours: 3 points
The responsibilities of the registrar or collections manager in a museum.  Issues explored include accessioning procedures, cataloging systems and information management, collections storage and handling, development of collections policies, tracking and packing, insurance and risk management, and legal and ethical foundations for gifts and loan agreements.

Corporate Sponsorship in the Arts
ARVA-GE 2212 15 hours: 1.5 points
Course focuses on strategies involved in developing corporate sponsorships in the arts. Various sponsorship case studies between corporations and non-profit arts organizations are analyzed as marketing tools to build the sponsor's business, raise brand awareness, as well as align with and increase institutional support. Principles of strategic marketing and practical tools are presented through readings, assignments and discussions tied to effective writing to a potential sponsor, benefits and other tactical tips to secure sponsorship today.

Research in Visual Arts Administration (Fall)
ARVA-GE 2299  20 hours: 2 points
As a culmination of their studies, students are required to formulate and complete a substantial, well-researched thesis, with a minimum of 40 pages of text. This document should focus on a relevant issue/problem in the visual arts administration field. The course consists of a critical analysis of topics, scope of research problems, sources and methodologies, conducted in interactive group discussions and individual meetings.

Final Project in Visual Administration (Spring)
ARVA-GE 2301  10 hours:  1 point
The course is taken in sequence with E91.2299. The course reviews structural components of the paper, research plans, timetables and drafts throughout the term, culminating in a completed thesis.

Internship in Visual Arts Administration
ARVA-GE 2302 45 hours per point: 1-6 points. Hours to be arranged.
Individual internships in New York City with major artists, notable museums, distinguished galleries, art publishers, and art organizations under the guidance of a sponsor at the host institution. Students also work closely with the internship coordinator to asses their progress and define learning goals. Internships should be arranged during the term prior to the actual internship, be approved by the internship coordinator and academic advisor in advance, and students must register by the drop/add deadline.

Cultural Tourism in the Arts
MPAPA-GE 2225 15 hours:  1.5 points
This course examines the interactive relationship between culture and tourism. By taking a case approach the class analyzes the business practices of the arts as a tourism enterprise. The cases will highlight marketing principles drawn from readings, discussions, and guest lectures. Lectures, discussions and guest speakers will accompany text and journal readings. Case studies will provide concrete examples to accompany theoretical concepts.

360 Launch: High Impact Media Relations & Marketing for New Visual Art Ventures
ARVA-GE 2919 15 hours: 1.5 points
This course addresses the messaging, strategy, and tactics that underpin a successful, fully integrated, 360-degree media relations and marketing campaign. We will focus on one case study, the launch of a New York City-based visual art initiative.  Each week, we will review core strategic principles and practical approaches for developing a fully integrated messaging across all channels, and apply students to tasks in groups via regular break-out sessions. Prerequisite: Marketing at Stern, Wagner or equivalent work experience

Art Market Analysis and Investment
ARVA-GE 2915 15 hours: 1.5 points
An introduction to understanding the investment potential of art and the art market. The course starts with a brief history of art as an asset class, then moves to exploring the various ways to construct viable art investment strategies as well as to track performance and return on investment. The importance of trend and opportunity identification is examined.

Curatorial Practice
ARVA GE 2911 30 hours: 3 points
Explores the creative and practical aspects of curating contemporary art exhibitions. Via practicum students will devise an exhibition proposal for a project to be presented either at NYU or at a collaborating museum in New York City. Students will be introduced to curators and will also explore a variety of exhibitions. Other assignments include developing an exhibition budget, devising a design/installation plan and determining communication strategies.

Facets of the Art Dealer
ARVA-GE 2912 15 hours: 1.5 points
This course provides an overview of the multifaceted experience of being an art dealer. Topics will focus on the pros and cons of being a solo dealer, owning one’s own gallery or being part of a gallery team. Students will discuss issues such as working with artists, establishing a name for an artist, placing works in prominent collections, developing relationships with collectors, working with auction houses, marketing and publicity, creating supporting materials (catalogues/flyers/internet blogs, etc.) and working with art fairs and biennials. The course will also explore how galleries best work with museums and other non-profit organizations.