Art, Education, & Community Practice

Art, Education, and Community Practice

Welcome to our new, socially oriented Art + Education program at NYU.

Fall 2014 was the first year of this innovative master's program that explores the intersections between contemporary artistic practice, educational theory, and social activism.

We are looking for students who are interested in envisioning new ways that artists, educators, designers, community organizers, and social activists can work together, and within community-based settings to propose critical interventions that inspire dialogue and catalyze social change through the arts.


  • What is artistic activism?
  • How is artistic activism similar to and different from social practice or socially engaged art?
  • What are the aesthetics and ethics of artistic activism?
  • How do we know when artistic activism is most effective, toward what ends?


  • Greenwich Village and New York City, the cultural capital of the world, including world renown museums such as The New Museum, MoMA, and the Whitney Museum, along with nearby galleries in the Lower East Side and Chelsea
  • A comprehensive curriculum in contemporary visual art, educational theory, and social activism that combines theory with practice
  • A flexible program of study that can be tailored to your interests


  • Work with practicing artists and educators in community-based and neighborhood settings around New York City
  • An internationally renowned and dedicated faculty from across New York University schools and programs
  • A richly diverse and multicultural community committed to social justice

Connect to Communities
Grounded in the work of critical educational theorists including Paolo Freire and bell hooks, this program supports artists and other publicly situated activists to connect visual strategies with the needs of a community. Students learn from artists who do socially engaged work, examining how art and design can open dialogue about a community’s history, culture, and social needs.

Drawing on community organizing strategies and artistic activism, students are directly involved in putting ideas generated with the community into practice. This hands-on approach leads to a capstone project, which provides an opportunity to design and implement a community-based art project that allows for social transformation. In this program students assume major roles in changing the social, cultural, political, and economic landscape through their artistic practice.

This interdisciplinary program prepares students to work within community-based settings, museums, NGOs, or broader public and civic contexts to initiate social change through the arts.

This program does not lead to certification for teaching.

One-Year Program with Small Classes
Classes are small and personal attention is given to each student throughout the duration of program, from initial advisement through completion of the master's final project. 

The program can be completed in as little as 3 semesters or 12 months, as a full-time student. The program can also be completed as a part-time student in two years.


The Art, Education, and Community Practice program serves individuals interested in socially engaged art who want to work outside of or in collaboration with traditional venues (museum, gallery arena, and classrooms). Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds including studio art and design, community-based organizations, social activism, and a variety of education contexts. Graduates may also serve as artists and organizers working as educators, curators, and artists in museums, community-based organizations, and NGOs.

For Examples of Student Work

Visit our Art, Education, and Community Practice blog.

More Information

Information sessions for the Art + Education MA programs will be offered throughout the Fall semester.

Information Session details & schedule.

Or, contact Julia Olson, Graduate Professions Adviser, at