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MA, Art Education and Community Practice

Core Program Modules

These are some of the questions that guide our hands-on investigations through 3 modules, leading to a capstone project:

  • What is socially engaged art in the 21st century?
  • What is popular education? And, how is socially engaged art a form of popular education?
  • How do we understand the public sphere and its relationship to democracy?
  • What are the aesthetics, politics, and ethics of socially engaged art?
  • How do we know when socially engaged art is effective, toward what ends?

Students take one required foundational course in each program module and then choose electives from across the university to customize their degree focus and experiences.

Module 1: Contemporary Artistic Practice 

This module addresses the expanding field of socially engaged art in the United States and Internationally.  Students engage in examining the history and current practices of socially engaged art and its ideas in relation to the public sphere and democracy. Students will have the opportunities to learn first-hand from socially engaged artists working in public spaces and also in various communities locally and globally. 

Module 2: Educational Theory

Providing a firm grounding in popular education and social justice education that is inspired by Paulo Freire, the program envisions the activist artist-educator as one who is able to apply pedagogical practices to diverse artistic endeavors. Students will consider radical educational theory in public, community-based, informal and virtual/media-based contexts, as well as from domestic and international perspectives.

Module 3: Social Activism

Overlaying the artistic and educational modules is a focus on social activism and community engagement. Coursework will explore the history, politics, and ethics of working in local, global, and virtual contexts. Within this module students will learn about methods, tactics, and strategies of engagement from social movements and community organizing to create artistic interventions in public and community spaces.


Students also choose elective courses from across the university to customize their degree focus and experiences.

Terminal Integrative (Capstone) Project

Working under the supervision of the Program Director and a faculty mentor, students will design and implement a community-based project informed by their individual art practice, their core and elective coursework, and the cultural or organizational context in which they will be working. In collaboration with NYC-based cultural and educational organizations, students will be encouraged to use different methodologies that combine intuition, social, conceptual, and cultural ways of knowing and being in order to develop and implement an art project that allows for social transformation.

Students working in class

Degree Requirements

Required Courses

ARTED.GE 2070 Critical Pedagogy, Artists and the Public Sphere (Educational Theory module)

ARTCR.GE 2451 Art and Ideas: What is Social Practice Art? (Contemporary Artistic Practice module)

ARTCR.GE 2461 Art as a Practice of Freedom (Social Activism module)

ARTED.GE 2102 Artistic Activism as Radical Research (Capstone experience, part 1)

ARTED.GE 2121 Final Project in Art Education (Capstone experience, part 2)


Students can take classes across the university based on individual interests. The following list is a sample of previously available classes but are subject to change each semester and year.

ARVA-GE 2112 Urban Development and The Visual Arts
ASPP-GT 2070 Language as Action
ASPP-GT 2020 Anatomy of Difference
ASPP-GT 2034 Female Cultural Rebel in Modern Times
ASPP-GT 2076 Feminist Practices in the Americas
ASPP-GT 2006 Special Topics: Case Studies on Curatorial Activism
ASPP-GT 2023 Art and/as Research: Ways of Knowing
ASPP-GT 2028 Creative Response: Performance Matters, Between Imagination and Experience
ASPP-GT 2048 Imagination and Change: Arts, Culture, and Public Policy
ASPP – GT 2051 Contemporary Activist Art and the Public Sphere: Women, Art and Activism in the 21st Century
MCC-GE 2025 Race and Media
MCC-GE 2308 The Racial Web
MCC-GE 2145 Methods in Interpreting Popular Culture
MCC-GE 2407 Visual Cultures of the Modern and Global City Class
MSMS-GA  3330-004 Topics in Museum Studies: Museums and Political Conflict  
MSMS-GA 3330-005 Topics in Museum Studies: Museums and Community
MSMS-GA 3330-008 Topics in Museum Studies: Heritage, Memory and Negotiating Temporalities
PADM-GP 2106 Community Organizing
PADM-GP 2129 Race, Identity, and Inclusion
PADM-GP 2186 Leadership and Social Transformation
PADM-GP 2132 Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation by Design
PADM-GP 4440 Education and Social Policy
SOED-GE 2371 Social Inequality & Education

Total credits: 30

Student work in gallery.

Program Values and Terms

The Art+Education program is grounded in a set of core values and ideas about why and how we teach, make art, and participate in social change. 

Read Program Values and Terms