Earn your MA in Art, Education, and Community Practice
Our community of socially engaged artists/designers, educators, and activists works together to create critical art interventions that catalyze social change. This intimate and interdisciplinary program connects art and social justice, grounded in a pedagogy of hope and possibility.Request Info
Official Degree Title
The MA Art, Education, and Community Practice Degree balances theory and practice through classroom projects enacted in public spaces and in partnership with local organizations.
In courses such as Art and Ideas: What is Social Practice Art? and Critical Pedagogy, Artists, and the Public Sphere, you will explore the history and political context of socially engaged art and popular education, as well as creative strategies for activism and organizing.
Throughout the program, you will work with community organizations in an effort to enact social transformation. Your capstone project will provide an opportunity to design, implement, and document an artistic intervention in diverse sites around the city including schools, community organizations, museums, and the streets.
Visit the Community Practice blog.
Our program is intimate and flexible, encouraging you to take courses within our department and with faculty from across the different schools at New York University. You will take one required foundational course in each of our program modules – Contemporary Artistic Practice, Educational Theory, and Social Activism – and can choose additional electives according to personal and professional interests.
The Contemporary Artistic Practice module addresses the expanding field of socially engaged art in the US and Internationally. You will examine the history and practices of artistic activism and its relationship to the public sphere and democracy.
The Education Theory module provides a firm grounding in social justice education inspired by Paulo Freire. The module envisions the activist artist-educator as one who can apply pedagogical practices to artistic endeavors.
The Social Activism module applies artistic and educational practices to social activism and community engagement. Course work explores the history, politics, and ethics of working in local, global, and virtual contexts.
Throughout the program we leverage our unique location in the Lower East Side and New York City, home to artists and activists, by inviting activist artists to work with students and explore how art can be used as a tool to open dialogue about a community’s history, culture, and social needs.
View student projects on the Program Blog
Our graduates go on to work as artist-educators and administrators in museums, community-based organizations, cultural institutions, and not-for-profit organizations as well as K–12 schools and colleges. Students have also gone on to get advanced degrees – PhDs or EdDs in universities in the US and overseas. Some enter the program working for organizations, and our degree allows them to move up to a higher professional position in the organization, such as moving from being an educator to managing the program.
“The Art+Education and Community Practice program has meaningfully merged my understanding of art, education, and activism in a way that is relevant and actionable in my life. After being involved in the program I feel more empowered to use art to open up questions and imagine new possibilities. I was given a space to critically delve into important issues concerning what it means to make art as an activist alongside a group of similar-minded individuals who all had a genuine passion for these topics and who were consciously invested in growth, dialogue, and introspection. I experienced the value and complexity of what it means to learn and work collectively in a creative process to realize common ideas, a growth experience that will benefit me in all areas of my life. The educators with whom I worked with in the program were immensely supportive of my and my peers’ interests and pursuits, and it was clear that they genuinely cared about our well-being and lives.”
— Hannah White, 2019
Art+Education Program Goals
- Examine the ways that art making and the teaching of art are grounded in power structures situated within social, political, and cultural institutions and history.
- Understand that art and education are forms of knowledge production that allow us to make meaning about the world based on our experiences of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability; this knowledge can help us represent the world, as well as transform it.
- Design methods for teaching art and enacting artistic interventions that support critical thinking, creative inquiry, and social change inspired by contemporary approaches to art making, analyzing works of historical and current art, and social activism.
- Demonstrate the ability to be reflective practitioners and effective researchers who understand that theory informs practice and practice must be theorized.
- Empower persuasive cultural advocates and community leaders able to articulate the importance of art in schools, institutions, and society at large.