Contemporary culture is a dynamic context that incorporates the arts, popular culture, politics, economics, technology, and critical theory. In a rapidly changing and globalizing society, arts organizations are called to respond to new audiences, ethical challenges, and economic difficulties. The Master of Arts (MA) in Arts Administration and Policy program provides an academic structure within which students can master specific sets of skills while building a critical perspective toward issues of contemporary arts administration. By combining theory with practice, the program offers students the critical, quantitative, and administrative skills needed to assume positions of leadership within the next generation of cultural organizations.

The thesis project is the culmination of the Arts Administration and Policy program and is an opportunity for students to accomplish substantial original research into a topic that focuses their professional interests and expertise. Thesis instruction is designed to provide the student with the skills to generate research questions, critically evaluate research studies, construct research design, and generate viable thesis proposals. This is accomplished through lecture, discussion, and activities. Students then develop a research proposal of their own design. The completed thesis demonstrates the student's ability to design, justify, execute, evaluate, and present the results of original research or of a substantial project.

The diverse range of topics being addressed by Arts Administration and Policy students is reflected in what follows and indicates the strength of the program, its students, and faculty.

Each year, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago celebrates the culmination and closure of students' studies at the masters level. In studio areas, the celebration takes place in the form of the thesis exhibitions, while the academic areas complement this with the thesis abstracts publication. This thesis abstract collection gathers and showcases thesis research undertaken in six programs: Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy; Master of Arts in Art Education; Master of Arts in Modern and Contemporary Art History; Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling; and Master of Arts in Teaching.

2016 Thesis Abstracts

Ekaterina Balueva
Opium for No One or, Matryoshka Project

Ryan Blocker & Raquel Iglesias
Racing Culture Exploring Race, Inclusion and Equity in Arts Institutions

Ellen Brinich
Art Museum Interpretation: Using Interpretive Tools, Strategies, and Resources to Democratize the Art Museum Experience

Tihela Feit
Considering Data for the Arts

Ligia Herrera
Urban Development, Street Art and Neighborhood Branding in Wynwood

Lee Ling Kee
Youth Curatorial Programs: Meaning-making in a Participatory Climate

Yingduo Liu
Do-It-Yourself: Ethos and Gentrification of DIY Music

Kimia Maleki
State of Art Archiving in Iran, Now & Then

Matthew Mehlan
(Unknowingly Not) Islands: Independent Artists, Record Labels, and the Colonized Mind

Emily Owens
Ideation: channeling arts thinking through embodied hybrid practices

Gail Shiel
Three Opera Companies: The Impact of Systemic Thinking & Funding

Xinqi Tao
A Parallel World: Hip Hop Dance in China

2015 Thesis Abstracts

Nathan Boese
The Royal NonSuch Presents: A Year in Producing Chicago Theatre

Kristen Breitenbach
"Not Unique, Powerful, Competitive": Advocacy and Obstacles in Feminist Arts Administration

Gabrielle Burrage
Mergers and Alliances as Adaptive Strategies in the Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Sector

Jenny Crichlow
Auditing is Relevant: Non-Profits and Their Web Presence

Giana Gambino
Examining the Contemporary Performance Art Festival: An Analog Conference Between Festival Administrators

Benjamin J. Garza
Declarative International Policy and Contemporary Customary Representational Aestheticism

Alexia Jacques-Casanova
Creative Responsibility: The Place of Civically-engaged Artists in Mexico City

Daniel Y. Lin
Fashionable Performance & Performative Fashion: Creating Social Nerve, Cultural Influence, whilst Reconstructing Fashioned Convention

Anne A. McNair
Modeling the Education of Arts Entrepreneurs on Incubators—A Proposal

Jessica Gaynelle Moss
A Work in Progress: Looking Closely at Change

George Price
"The World is Burning, Let's Masturbate!": Transgressive Histories and Queer Legacies

Samantha Reynolds
Adaptive Capacity: Necessary Components & Strategies for Contemporary Non-Profit Arts & Cultural Organizations

Beatrice Schmider
Liminal Spaces: Developing Platforms of Discourse for Artists, Scientists, and the Public

Fangying (Elaine) Tan
Chances Within Challenges: The Role of Non-State-Owned Art Museums in China

Hong Nhung Walsh
A Study of Vietnamese Art Organizations through a Collaborative Project with the Queer Arts! Festival in Hanoi, Vietnam (Dec 14–29, 2013)

Jaleesa Renee Wells
Creative Social Enterprise in Scotland: An exploration of how Glasgow's creative social enterprises contribute to the social economy

Liwei (Jane) Xie
Responding to The Market: An Analysis of Value-Generating Mechanisms in The Emerging Contemporary Chinese Art Market

Bingyan (Laura) Xue
The New Collectivism: Socially Engaged Art Practice in Contemporary China

2014 Thesis Abstracts

Jennifer Groot
Defining Quality: Strategic Assessment Methods for Arts Partnerships in Education

Xiaohe Liu Heen
Collective Intelligence in Spontaneous Urban Park Interventions

Jessica Howell
Life for Dead Places & Spaces: Contemporary Folk Culture

Preema John
Balancing Dichotomies: Visioning an arts administration paradigm for India

Rachel Kaplan
Correctional Art and Architecture

Stephanie Lentz and Tocarra Mallard
Rethinking Radio: Storytelling as Civic Activism

Jue Ma
Transferability of East Asian Arts Festivals in Rural Areas: Community Revitalization Through Creative Placemaking in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan

Bonnie O'Donoghue
A Study of the Contemporary Art Market's Global Expansion in Hong Kong

Gretchen Annika Reyes
Beyond the Scavenger Hunt: Remixing Interpretive Tools as Advocacy for Adolescent Museum Visitors

Jasmyn Grace Smith
Following the Crowd: Understanding Donors Through Virtual Fundraising

Brett Swinney
The Division Street Project

2013 Thesis Abstracts

Patricia Morris Alava
The YOURS Project action plan : empowering music for social change in Chicago

Alex Aubry
Re-branding the Ebony Fashion Fair Archive

Jeanelle Sora Chang
Designing a Non-Profit Fundraising Game

Natalie Clark
Hryvnias, Pysanky, and Glue for the Cracks: Independent Ukraine's search for identity and stability through civil society

Alana Julia Corbett
Gastronomy as creative experience : avant-garde cuisine in the expanded field

Anne Marie Alyce Johnson
Contested heritage : the U'mista Cultural Society, the Potlatch Collection, and the battle for postcolonial indigenous culture

Lawren Joyce
The Swedish context : art in a state of dismantling

Mina Para Matlon
Reflections on Plural, our joint thesis project

Renee Mikon
The renaissance city : arts and culture in post-industrial Detroit

Mallory Qualls
In real life (IRL) : a study of the internet and its relationship to individuals, artists, and arts organizations

Sharmyn Cruz Rivera
Curating togetherness : navigating histories, methodologies, and theories of exhibiting sound art

Jennifer Shanks
Midnight in the garden of good : tactical urbanism as a version of dissent

Samantha Stevick
Topic-specific American roadside museums : an operational and cultural analysis

Laura Paola Trejo
Casa Familiar: Mi Pueblo Through the Lens of Socially Engaged Art

Kaitlyn Maureen Wittig
Exposing the field : arts consulting at the Gilda's Club Chicago as a contribution to arts and health

2012 Thesis Abstracts

Lyla Catellier and jazz in the city

Francisco Daniel Rosas
The veil, the vault and the avenue : the Broad Museum and the urban planning of Grand Avenue

Mehri Khalil
Islamic art in the museum : a re-introduction and a re-presentation

Penny Duff
Store-House for emergent knowledge : proposal for a vernacular media space in New Orleans, Louisiana

Dana Nicole Bassett
Participatory strategies : a case study of the end

2011 Thesis Abstracts

Ana Clara Pupo e Silva
Looking at the Miami model : how the private collection space fits within the visual arts community

Sarabeth Avila Abud
Global cities in third world countries : Mexico City's two new museums

Rachel Buckmaster
Welcoming residential wisdom : the value of community engagement to campus-based arts programs

Andreina Castillo
Civic dimensions of experimental curatorial practices : the be[com]ing Dutch project at the Van Abbemuseum

Catherine Fahey
Artist live/work space development in creative districts : a critical analysis of process politics

Katlyn E. Hemmingsen
Popular appeal in museum blockbuster exhibitions

Mary Lou R. Ibadlit
Philanthropy and social media : integrating new approaches into the contemporary art museum

Pia Evette Johnson
Re-imagining collaboration : making it a successful practice for non-profit arts and culture organizations in Chicago

Philip Nadasdy
Organized instability : building complexity in contemporary art museums

Irene Pagliaccia
Trends in European art museums : can Italy rebalance the public/private funding models equation?

Lauren Rosenberg
Art in vacant storefronts : a new arena for creative research and development

2010 Thesis Abstracts

Joanna Cacciola
Lakeview East and Humboldt Park: Local Communities, Alternative Economies

Ashleigh Hite
Firm Foundations: Arts Administration in Post-Katrina New Orleans' Visual Arts Community

Fang-Tze Hsu
I cuwaai ku lalan : formulating a critical interpretation of Taiwanese indigenous art

Jung Won Kim
Speaking in a community's language : exploring the process of culturally specific workshops

Alison Kleiman
Damen & Dickens: The Establishment of a Contemporary Printmaking Hub

Jessica Lewis
Museum Marketing to Digitally Connected Audiences

Corrina A Lesser
Re-visioning a narrative : contemporary book culture & strategic planning with the National Book Critics Circle

David A. Rowe
Gill Park Mural: In Need Of A Cultural Plan

Zehui Tang
"Artists and Residents": Working On Site in Private Homes in Chicago

Talia Elizabeth Ullmann
Curating Curiosity: the Ricorso of the Wunderkammer and the Contemporary Museum

He Wang
An analysis of the profitability of China's animation sector : towards the creation of an animation business plan

Irene Jacqueline WayneGuite
A successful union : developing fashion exhibitions by uniting research and spectacle

2009 Thesis Abstracts

Jennifer Jansen
Green deliverables : five practical recommendations with ROI potential for Chicago museums

Kelly Chen, Kelly
Art world ecosystems and the creation of value

Claudia LúciaArzeno
Shaping culture : Puerto Rican national policy and public art

Katherine Kurcz
Creating an infrastructure for exchange among artists and scientists

Monica LaBelle
Controversy and contemporary art : guiding messages about today's art in public institutions through news media

Lucie Matêjková
Past to present : creative and alternative programming in historic house museums

Anne M. Romens
Cultural planning in Chicago; best practices and empirical processes

Allison Claire Green
Remaking American : an exploration of culturally specific museums, communities and American citizenship

2008 Thesis Abstracts

Melissa K. Csoke
Analysis of the Chicago arts district

Ji Eun Lee
Art and space in South Korea : the case of the public art project 'Art in City' of South Korea

Yeowoon Lee
Art in space : context matters

Joshua Sovell
Constant activity : current changes to the film industry and their effects on film festivals

Katrina Enros
Culturing ourselves : cultural policy, censorship, and the Canadian identity

Allison Benson White
Dissecting discourse : frameworks for the exhibition of contemporary Pakistani art

Linlin Chen
Does price matter? : a critical assessment of prices in the contemporary Chinese art market

Jenny Angell
Envisioning history : developing interpretation strategies for blind & visually impaired visitors at historic site museums

Kristen Apa
Hecho a Mano : the production and commodification of craft in Latin America

Eileen Jeng
The impermanent permanent collection : examining ephemeral works of contemporary art in their institutional framework

Kathleen Dumbleton
The music of Black Americans and the infrastructure of social change : "brushing history against the grain"

Myung Hee Yoo
The notion of 'Chinese-ness' : contemporary Chinese art exhibitions in the US and UK

Benjamin J. Schaafsma
Other options : artists re-interpreting, altering and creating infrastructure that affects their everyday lives

Eun Young Ju
(Re)presenting Asian cultural identity in the United States : a case study of the cultural programs, the Asia Society and Museum (New York) and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Rebecca Lynn Zimmerman
The sponsorship of museums : an investigation of the relationship between museums and corporations

Hyun Sik Kim
Strategies for the Korean film industry : focus on the stimulation of export to the U.S. market

Hantao Shi
The values and policy system : an investigation of the Chinese official art institution

2007 Thesis Abstracts

Yong-su Lee
Art museums - their history, present situation and vision : the case of the Republic of Korea : through historical survey, the case studies of private art museums and the "Mo-am Collection"

Chiara Bernasconi
The role of the art in Nuit Blanche events and the 'success' of a new global format

Elizabeth L. Blackburn
The city and symbolic space : the arts as a symbolic tool for downtown revitalization

Melissa Matuscak
Redefining production : contemporary art museums in post-industrial spaces, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art

Andrea Paasch
Contemporary art practices in Mexico after the establishment of neoliberal reforms

Sheetal Prajapati
Museum and school collaborations : moving towards new models

Bevin Ross
Mission impossible : the dilemma of U.S. International Latino Theater Festivals

Kerry Schneider
Arts administration : creating context

Amanda Tillstrom
History as interpretation, history as fact : presenting history in traditional and non-traditional museums

Caroline West
Community : negotiating democracy and identity through art making

Heidi Wirth
The role of the city in engagement : a study of artistic practices and arts administration

2006 Thesis Abstracts

Emma Balazs
Developing a collaborative curatorial practice : contextualizing the exhibitions 'I Saw You'  'All That Is Solid Melts Into Air'

Diana Canzone
The Application of Emotional Branding in Art

Karen Chen
The West East : creating borders and identities of Chinese contemporary artists in Diaspora

Ina Choi

Dace Demir
Production of legitimate cultural identity : changes in cultural policy and development of contemporary art in Latvia since 1991

Charles Corey Gross
The ideal sexspace : representations of leather culture in the art of Etienne

Colleen Hogan
The evolution of relational art in Chicago : a study of Jim Duignan's collaborative practice and the function of the Stockyard Institute

Richard Erwin III
Corporate art collections : their history and effects on the art market through acquisitions, mergers, and sales

Megan McMullen
Are we really listening : podcasting and its role in popular culture

Jessica Musselwhite
Sampling : modes of deconstructing and reconstructing music, the musician, the listener, and the role of ownership in a post- modern world

Rosemarie Noone
An investigation of fundraising initiatives in the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Maria Rosa Stea
Projecting citizenship : (re)generating cultural citizens at the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival

Chris Taylor
Advocate for the arts : flaws, ethics, and the advocacy pyramid

Katie Tuttle
Women in arts administration: Professionalization and leadership

Brennan Wadlington
Cloudy collaborations and problems of authorship : an exploration of the dynamic between artists and their assistants

See also: 2004–05 Thesis Abstracts