January 12, 2022

MA Curatorial Practice

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Candice Hopkins, curatorial roundtable. Courtsey of SVA MA Curatorial Practice.

The MA Curatorial Practice (MACP) program in New York City focuses on practical training through courses taught by a faculty of leading curators from major museums and institutions, both in New York and across the world, teaching what they do. In this way, the program offers a rich and thorough grounding in curating through doing. Every aspect of what professional work in the field entails is covered, thinking through all the components of curatorial production. From concept to execution, philosophical and theoretical foundations to social discourse, art historical research to readings in exhibition history, practical techniques to broader engagement with communities... the two years of the program provide highly detailed learning so that graduates gain substantial knowledge and experience in order to get jobs in the field.

Located within walking distance of more than 300 galleries in Chelsea and close by some of the greatest museums in the world, with multitudes of artists and cultures populating the city, MACP provides an extraordinary chance to be deeply immersed in the art world and its vast range of experiences. As well, during the program’s two years, students meet with more than fifty curators from around the world in weekly sessions that explore their curatorial work, their concepts, and the practical issues they face and solve in doing their work. These firsthand encounters contribute to our students understanding of their own growing curatorial practices, and they have the opportunity to make several exhibitions in our own gallery space and elsewhere in New York—all projects supported by funding from the program.

Our workshops cover everything from exhibition design to lighting design, professional presentation, grant writing, collaborative curatorial work, time and project management, and writing. Because writing is so crucial to curatorial work, there are, in fact, several writing workshops that focus on critical analysis, cultivating the writer’s voice, and catalog essay writing. Along with this range of courses, MACP brings dedicated classes to art and social theory, presenting ideas and contexts that illuminate and situate curatorial projects, while philosophical considerations of phenomenology offered to our students give them a deeper sense of the interaction of objects and bodies in space, so fundamental to curatorial work. The courses share a common interest in addressing societal and planetary issues of urgency, with social activism seen as crucial to curatorial practice today.

Between the two years of our master’s degree program, we take our students to a major international exhibition, such as the Venice Biennale, and this fieldwork is followed by a two-month internship that we carefully select for each student at a significant art institution somewhere in the world, with internships from China to Germany, Colombia to France, Italy, Singapore, Mexico, the U.S., and other locations. These internships are a bridge into the professional world, with students’ mentors playing a vital and ongoing role in their educations, and sometimes leading directly to curatorial jobs.

Our students have gone on to work in large and small institutions, have started their own curatorial partnerships and collectives with their fellow graduates, have entered the commercial gallery world, have founded galleries, and have begun independent curatorial practices.

The School of Visual Arts is one of the largest art schools in the US, with state-of-the-art facilities, an enormous range of artists, libraries, and, of course, access to a huge array of research institutions, cultural institutions of every kind, endless events (including our own panel discussions and constant flow of exhibitions), and the sheer abundance of the city itself all around us. We are now accepting applications for fall 2022. Our students have come from all over the world, and we seek and support diversity. Small supporting scholarships are available. To learn more about the MA Curatorial Practice program at the School of Visual Arts and to apply, click here.

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