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Installation shot of "Irreality" curated by MACP Fellow Valerie Amend in CP Projects Space.
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No other curatorial program in the world brings more extraordinary resources; more creative enterprises; more curators, artists and experts as faculty and visitors; and more opportunities for hands-on work than ours.
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Steven Henry Madoff

The Master of Arts degree in Curatorial Practice is a two-year program that focuses on professional training with a thorough grounding in the relevant study of art and exhibition history, research and theory, and with an emphasis on hands-on work with experts in the field, professional networking and the foremost goal of placing graduates of the program in curatorial jobs. The program takes full advantage of the vast number of arts institutions and professionals on the doorstep of the School of Visual Arts in Chelsea and throughout New York City, which provides countless opportunities for study, mentoring and professional development.

Our faculty members work as curators, directors or in other professional capacities at major New York institutions. Our weekly guest lecturers are curators, artists, conservators, writers, architects, critics and theorists who come to the program from around the world to talk about their exhibitions, programs, projects and events.

There has never been a moment so potent in the explosive growth of venues for curatorial work across the globe, while the political urgencies we now see around the world are a call to curators everywhere to turn their attention toward the intersection of social and cultural concerns.

Our program in Curatorial Practice (MACP) is predicated on the fact that he global enterprise of the art world—including museums, Kunsthallen, commercial and nonprofit galleries, private collections, alternative spaces, biennials, art fairs, online art sites, and a vast number of other publicly and privately supported art platforms—has increased the number of curatorial ventures for programming on local, national and international stages that seek to effect change.

To emphasize the deeply entwined nature of education and professional engagement, MACP considers itself a hub for practitioners in the global field, not an academic cloister. What this means in real terms are exhibitions, performances, panel discussions, workshops and ample time in the city for one-on-one encounters with artists and professionals in the field on a continual basis for our students. They have the opportunity to create, curate and collaborate with leading professionals and institutions from New York, with further opportunities in projects and internships, including research, exhibitions and publications that span the globe. These events and collaborations, along with all of the New York art scene, give the students daily access to artists and professionals who become the basis of their own networks for the future. Nothing can beat the proximity of these encounters in the everyday life of New York’s teeming, international art scene.

Why We Stand Out:
  • Rigorous curatorial training in the heart of Manhattan with leading curators and experts from New York’s major arts institutions

  • Historical and theoretical study of the expanded curatorial field

  • International network of institutions and organizations for career development

Student Work

More About the Department

The MA in Curatorial Practice offers a preliminary boot camp as part of its first semester, introducing fundamentals of research methodologies, art and exhibition history and theory texts in the field, and conceptual thinking, followed in the full four semesters of the program with rigorous practical and intellectual training. The course work is designed to offer macro and micro views of the field, with the study of different curatorial practices and histories, constant practical exercises in curatorial craft and engagement with working curators and other experts across disciplines and from around the world.

The curriculum is founded on a series of case study seminars; writing workshops; practicums in every aspect of exhibition-making and other forms of curatorial presentation; and programmatic engagements with curators, artists and experts who will meet with the students as a group and on an individual basis. Students will also take a semester of art practice in their first year to have a hands-on experience of what it is to engage in the production of art. Students may draw from the resources of SVA’s other undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as its workshops, labs and libraries.

The final projects take many forms and are often fully interdisciplinary, as befits the expanded field of curatorial work today. These projects are exhibited in public spaces in New York City and in virtual space, replete with catalogs and documentary online presence.

During the summer between the first and second years, students enter into an internship/mentorship program, while they begin work on their curatorial plan for a final curatorial project. Internships take place at major institutions around the world, as well as at national and New York institutions, with mentors who are internationally renowned.

Degree candidates must successfully complete 50 credits, including all required courses, while maintaining a high level of academic and practical performance, as judged by faculty and mentors. Applicants with a prior background in curatorial work are especially encouraged, as are art historians and artists whose enterprises are relevant to advanced work in the curatorial field. Our students and faculty come from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the United States, and it is intrinsic to the program that we continue to develop our global network of connections that serves our graduates in all of their future curatorial work, while affirming our belief in the free movement of knowledge without regard to borders.